Chicago is now notorious for the murder rate it suffers, vastly out of proportion to its population when compared to New York or Los Angeles. That horrendous carnage largely is confined to a couple of locations where rival gangs are battling over control of turf for drug deals. But what of the rest of the city?
There are signs that the fragile bonds that keep people functioning in society without routine resort to violence are fraying in Chicago. There is an invisible line looming ahead, the one where people no longer assume that they can rely on the police and courts to assure them of personal safety in their daily lives, and so must resort to defensive measures, or else suffer as victims.
Consider the lives of Chicagoans who live or hang out in Boystown, the city's center of gay life. CWBChicago.com (Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown) reports on what has become a wave of attacks ("brawls") there.
Once the sidewalk cafe fence goes down, it's every man for himself in the latest Boystown street brawl video to hit YouTube.With Sidetrack bar's signage boasting "Love Wins" in the background, the 10-person melee unfolds directly under one of Halsted Street's rainbow pillars.
And, like another recent Boystown brawl, this new video was taken in 3300 block of North Halsted, just steps from Roscoe Street.
A brawl in front of a sign reading, "LOVE WINS"!
As CWB sadly notes, this used to be a place of safety, with an all-night diner and lively street life.
Boystown now has shuttered establishments and street fights with baton-wielding security officers.
A local source explains what has been going on that has changed the nature of life in Boystown:
Mayhem takes the CTA up from the South Side neighborhoods to wreak havoc. Some of them are indeed gay, but not all. Many have come up to avail themselves of social-services. There are are shelters for those who don't live on the North Side. They were facilities designed for gay youth, but they are now being exploited by gangbangers from the South and West sides. Some may have confusion about their sexual identity but others stay because it is a convenient.Then, come back to wreck havoc. It is a safe area to do so as it is not the gang territory
It appears that the social order is starting to implode, with police unable to stay on top of the violence, the city and state facing looming insolvency, and the mutual trust necessary for personal safety and essential for prosperity slowly dissolving, and people fear or anticipate the kind of random street violence plaguing Boystown.
Needless to say, Chicago is the product of Democrats, the city that gave us the politician named Barack Obama. How's that workin' out for ya?