Monday, July 9, 2018

The first 100 questions about Rev. Pfleger's Dan Ryan protest

     Rev. Michael Pfleger's anti-gun violence march shutting down the Dan Ryan was the big Chicago story over the weekend. It raised a lot of questions. Here are the first 100:

1. Who were the protests for?
2. Does anybody not know about the problem at this point?
3. If so, will they learn about it from this?
4. Or were the protests supposed to jar those already aware into action?
5. What should those people do?
6. Aren't those inconvenienced by closing the Dan Ryan the ones whose attention the protest is trying to snag?
7. Are they now more sympathetic?
8. Or less?
9. Did the mayor really suggest the march might deter shooters?
10. What dream world is he living in?
11. Is this crisis even a matter of caring?
12. Can we care the problem away?
13. Don't officials care more about the Dan Ryan being shut down than Chicagoans being killed?
14. How screwed up is that?
15. Did you answer "totally?"
16. How does awareness help, anyway?
17. Aren't residents of violence-plagued neighborhoods plenty aware?
18. What should they do?
19. Start jobs programs?
20. Is the march mainly for their benefit?
21. Ever notice how personal responsibility is rarely mentioned?
22. Is that blaming the victims?
23. Why do protests insist affected communities don't control their own lives?
24. Do they?
25. Aren't protests appealing to some higher power to fix everything?
26. Isn't that what priests do every Sunday?
27. Is question No. 21 a sign of white privilege?
28. Should this column have been written by a black pundit?
29. Would it offer different questions?
30. What are those?
31. Would those questions have more validity?
32. Why?
33. Or why not?

To continue reading, click here.


  1. 1. Pflrger is blaming everyone but the gangs who are the ones doing the shooting. Chicago now has at least 256 gangs, mostly due to tearing down all the CHA high rises, which scattered the gang members all over the city & broke up the once rigid hierarchy where there were two dominant "super" gangs & all the underlings took orders & the gang bosses didn't want too much trouble with the cops. Add to that the basic incompetence of the Chicago Police, the people they hire now are less educated than 10 years ago, due to the insistence of the idiot minority aldermen, who demanded a reduction from a four year degree from a college or university, down to a two year degree, because they claimed that too many of their people couldn't make it through four years of college.
    We have 50 aldermen, at least 45 of whom are total morons!

    2. I see you must have been on Devon & Lakewood where there are two storefronts with all those question marks covering the windows, for at least three years now.

    1. A beautiful theory, but apt to be murdered by a gang of brutal facts. Homicide rates were actually much higher in the 1960's, peaking in 1974 -- before the projects came down, the gangs supposedly broken up and dispersed, and the cops even more incompetent.

      probably didn't get the same play in the press. And no Father Pfleger.


  2. the purpose of this protest was to give powerless people in Chicagos violence plagued neighborhoods hope that their circumstances can be changed through political action.thousands of people shutting down the expressway in a peaceful protest against gun violence is a victory for the people affected by that violence.

    unwrapping this issue is difficult with the best of intentions which I believe father Pleger has. the snide sniping of some of your " questions" likely will not.

    this was not an anti police action.
    one of its goals is to get the shooters to find other solutions to resolve their conflicts
    another is to get people in the community to come forward with information about crimes so the authorities can increase the chances of apprehending the perpetrators . this can only be done by building trust with the community and police department hence Eddie Johnson's presence .

    your entire column smacks of white privilige but nothing new there, except maybe in so far as this issue you've ramped it up in the face of the tremendous suffering of others. is that really necessary or am I mistaken and would you really like to help?
    because if you would now that your an empty nester there are a number of mentorship programs that could use your support.

    1. Another idea is to try and view today’s post in the proper perspective. I always thought a journalist’s main responsibility was to put forth these types of questions. For thoughtful and continuing discussion.

  3. Here are the answers!

    A personal anecdote as to what the protests do: they have energized me and my family to do more politically and cause-wise, both with our time and dollars on issues that matter to us. We happily have examples where our actions have helped accomplished stuff, and when we _do_ feel like what we are doing doesn't matter, the protests/marches/rallies pick us up again, as we see so many folks coming together for something that might matter a bit more than, say, sports or street fests.

  4. Over the 4th I drove to Montgomery Alabama to see the new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. They are commonly known as the Lynching museum and memorial. These institutions in Montgomery are an astonishing accomplishment. The memorial is a work of monumental creativity and impact. After a visit to the museum you will never look at America the same way again.

    I thought I was well schooled in the madness of slavery. I learned I was not. After my visit it is painfully easy to connect the gangs and gun violence of Chicago and the rest of America to the institution of slavery.

    Your questions stimulate thought but the true source of heartache on Chicago streets is the aftermath of slavery. The horrors and violence and destructions of families and the pure demented evil of slavery and it's inherent violence and indignities will poison this country for many generations to come. Not acknowledging that crime in the streets of Chicago has powerful connective tissue to slavery is like not acknowledging the connective tissue between the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and it's creation of developmental anomalies in ensuing generations.

    If you can't get to Montgomery for the visceral horror and enlightenment of the exhibits try the website:


    Wonderful, thoughtful article as always.

    1. Maybe I'm wrong, but in looking at the Lynching Museum's website, they don't even mention the lynching of Leo Frank.
      More black anti-Semitism?

    2. Thousands of people in America were murdered because of the color of their skin, and that is the reason for the memorial in Montgomery. It's sister museum tells the horrifying story of slavery in the United States.

      Mr. Frank's terrible murder is outside of the scope of the museum and memorial.

      It might be worth your while to go to Montgomery, look at the 800 hanging steel boxes, and see for yourself the specific nature of the story being told.

    3. That museum is about lynching & Leo Frank was lynched!
      So it's not outside the scope of the museum!

  5. Did not read all the questions but I know two answers, Jobs in the neighborhoods and police presence on the beat. I have a question of my own. Why don't the athletes making big endorsement from Nike etc. demand manufacturing in the neighborhoods?

  6. As far as I am concerned, Pfleger's protest was nothing more than a tantrum not unlike the kind of mass-tantrum that put Donald Trump in the White House. It was stupid and designed to produce chaos with little thought to what, if anything, would be accomplished. While I agree with much of what Pfleger preaches, I find him to be a megalomaniac who loves attention a little to much (or a lot too much). If these protestors want change, why aren't they marching against the gangs? Why aren't they outing gang members and leading police to where the weapons are hidden and where the criminals hide out? It ain't the police causing the bulk of the violence in Englewood and West Englewood; it is the gangs. Yes, the gangs intimidate, but if the community came out in the numbers they did on the Dan Ryan, they could easily overwhelm the gangs... and the police would have their backs. Time for people to grow up and fight the real enemy as Sinead O'Connor once famously said. And stop throwing tantrums.

  7. Here's my question:

    Will the people who try to derail every discussion of police shooting unarmed black men in the back with "you should be protesting the black-on-black violence in Chicago!" finally shut up now?

    (Probably not.)

    1. Answered your own question. I would add, what does one have to do with the other?

  8. I looked at the march with interest and some skepticism. Was it a sincere attempt at unity against gun violence in Chicago, or just a great publicity stunt? When Pfleger, Jesse Jackson and Rahm are involved, one never knows.

  9. A whole lot of excellent queries, but probably far fewer answers than questions.

    I've participated in marches for a long, long time...decades...and most of the time, marches accomplish little more than to make the participants feel better, not as powerless, and less alone and isolated. If you happen to live in a neighborhood with a lot of Trumpians, for example, marching lets you know there are others out there who feel the way you do, and that can be a powerful antidote to apathy or despair.

    Have to say, though, I've never been involved in the blocking of a roadway. The results of that kind of action seem negligible at best, and accomplish little more than pissing motorists off. It's a temporary high. Eventually, by one means or another, the road is reopened. Life goes on. And so does death.


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