Chicago began to make itself violent in the 1960's when it insisted on using its industrial-age public safety resources - violence reduction tactics and law enforcement resources - to address a fundamentally digital-age public safety problem.

This was the digital-age breakdown of generational communication - the so-called generation gap - alienated generations in nations around the world on both sides of the iron curtain. that that with eruption in the 1960's of heavily-armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs.

First: digital-age public safety problems require digital-age public safety solutions.  

Second: using industrial-age public safety solutions to solve digital-age public problems is disastrously counterproductive.

From the early years of the digital age in the 1960's to the present day, Chicago has made and kept itself a world class city thanks to its ability to adhere to the first axiom in the fields of business and entertainment.

In the field of public safety, however, Chicago's largely unwitting adherence to second axiom has brought it to where it is today: 

That's what has happened in Chicago and cities nationwide. In theory at least, Chicago could have used the transformative power of the local media that comprise its digital-age public communication system to connect citizens of all ages, races and backgrounds around a citywide drive to realize the universally desired goal of making Chicago SAFE for all residents. 

But well into the digital age, nothing like this has ever happened, despite the fact that Mayor Lightfoot has spoken not only of "mobilizing the entire city" to address violence effectively but also of wanting to make "Chicago the safest big city in America."

Instead, Chicago has industrial-age tactics of police-enforced violence reduction to address a digital-age problem of youth violence that began in the 1960's with the rise of heavily armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs and continues today with many forms of social media-enabled youth violence that is metasticizing throughout Chicago: youth carjackings, smash-and-grab rings, and the "trends" and flash-mobs that in recent weeks have turn iconic Chicago sites like the The Bean at Millenium Park into battlegrounds.    

It began in the 1960's with the rise of heavily armed, drug-dealiing, youth-victimizing street gangs. in the decades to come

The violence Chicago's youth-victimizing gangs in the 1960's to Chicago's present day digital-age violence of social-media and cell-phone connected flash mobs, and social-media connected flash mobs, and "trends" has always been one of youth violence. that young people, not adults, are the primary perpetrators of Chicago's digital-age violence.  

Well into the digital age, Chicago has yet to realize that Industrial-age responses to public violence are bound to fail and to backfire as well, leaving the city more violent than ever.

 

And when Chicago continues to make counterproductive uses of the digital-age media - especially network TV news - that comprise its digital-age public communications system, Chicago ends up where it is today: a city where violence has metastacized citywide 

Take, for instance, Chicago's violence problem. From the getgo it has been overwhelmingly a youth violence problem. It began in the 1960's - the early years of the digital age - with the rise of heavily-armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs whose 100,000-plus members (as of a 2010 Chicago Police Department count) have been school-age children recruited in their early teens by adult leaders. 

   

Instead of responding to gangs as an inner-city instance of a breakdown of public communication among Chicagoans of all ages, races and economic backgrounds brought on by digital age media, Chicago chose to rely on its industrial-age public safety resources - its police, courts and prisons - in its consistently failed attempts in coming decades never to solve but merely to reduce its digital-age violence.

A secondary and more recent form of violence reduction, initiated in the 1990's, has been to address gang/youth/gun violence using publlic health (medical and sociological) resources. City Hall now treats violence as primarily a public health problem. Yet whenever violence flares up, the city must rely on its hugely overburdened police force.

Chicago has yet to realize that its digital-age youth violence isn't primarily a public safety (police) or even a public health problem. It is fundamentally a problem of public communication - a citywide breakdown of communication among Chicagoans of all ages, races and backgrounds, City Hall included - brought on by the transformative power of digital media and resolvable only by civic-purposed uses of the digital media that that comprise Chicago's digital-age public communications system. 

Foremost among these media are the six TV networks to which most Chicago have turned for their local news, sports and weather ever since the early years of the digital age in the 1960's.

Like all American cities, Chicago made itself violent using its industrial-age public safety resources in consistently failed attempts since the 1960's to solve a massive public safety problem: a markedly digital-age gang problem that will never be solved without intelligent uses of digital-age public safety resources..

The problem? It It has In the early, 1960's, years of the digital age Chicago, began deploying its law enforcement resources - police, courts and prisons - in its violence-reduction attempts to address a public safety problem so large and inclusive as to require a complete reinvention of what makes for public safety in a digital age.

The problem? It first appeared in the 1960's in the form of heavily armed, drug dealing, youth victimizing street gangs. Initially addressed as gang violence, it would in coming years be addressed youth violence and then gun violence. In mid-1990's, Chicago began in addition addressing not only as a public safety (police) problem but as a public health (medical and sociological) problem.      

Like all American cities, Chicago made itself violent using its industrial-age public safety resources in failed attempts to solve a digitql-age public safety problem. One whose solution requires intelligent uses of digital-age public safety resources..

In the early, 1960's, years of the digital age Chicago, began deploying its law enforcement resources - police, courts and prisons - in its violence-reduction attempts to address a public safety problem so large and inclusive as to require a complete reinvention of what makes for public safety in a digital age.

The problem? It first appeared in the 1960's in the form of heavily armed, drug dealing, youth victimizing street gangs. Initially addressed as gang violence, it would in coming years be addressed youth violence and then gun violence. In mid-1990's, Chicago began in addition addressing not only as a public safety (police) problem but as a public health (medical and sociological) problem.      

Chicago, like other cities, has yet to discover that the all-inclusiveness of this digital-age public safety problem, cannot effectively addressed without intelligent uses of the very digital age communications technologies that have exacerbated and worsened the problem since its inception in the 1960's. 

To explain. The immediate or presenting problem, as it was seen in the 1960's from the perspective of law enforcement, city leaders and general public as well, was heavily armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs.

Using the lures of money and a sense of belonging to a meaningful group as incentives, adult gang leaders recruited huge numbers of poor, non-white, school-age children - well over 100,000 in the 2010 estimate of the Chicago Police Department - to meet massive demand for illicit drugs.

 

and the rediscovery of the tribal rhythms and bonds helped fueled the breakdown of trust and communication between young people and adults that led to the generation gap of the 1960's.  

 

resulted in the generation gap that estranged young and old in nations around the world on both sides of the iron curtain.    

 

 

The problem was (and is) so vast, and so all-inclusive, as to require communities of all sizes to reinvent the very idea of public safety. Today, well into the digital age, Chicago and other cities remain in the early stages of this receonceptualization. 

 

 

underground drug that sustains many Chicago neighborhoods today.

It occurred inner-city instance of the inner city instance of the digital-age phenomenon of the generation gap that It was (and remains) a singularly digital-age problem completely unworkable and frequently counterproductive industrial-age resources to address its digital-age violence.

Well into the digital age, it neglects to put to constructi    ve use the digital communiications that decades ago could have enabled Chicagoans and their leaders to think and act in concert, as a digital age city, to MAKE CHICAGO SAFE for all residents.

In Chicago, adult gang leaders lured tens of thousands of mostly impoverished, at-risk, non-white school children in their early teens from their broken families to join gangs whose membership in 2010 was estimated by Chicago police at "well over 100,000, with another 25,000 in the suburbs."

The criminalization of huge numbers of young people in Chicago that began in the 1960's should be seen as an inner-city instance of the seismic, digital media-fueled generation gap. In a matter of years this media-driven gap fueled the alienation - the loss of trust - between young people and adults worldwide, on both sides of the iron curtain.

In coming years, Chicago's gangs would completely overwhelm traditional law enforcement resources - police, courts, prisons - and turn huge portions of Chicago into war zones, sustained by underground drug economies, that we see today.  

Yet violence reduction still remains Chicago's only anti-violence strategy. 

Consider just the impact of violence reduction on those who are paid to enforce it. Today, well into the digital age, public trust in Chicago's hopelessly overburdened law enforcement resources is at an all-time low. And the city's much publicized and very considerable adoption of public health measures to address violence has done nothing to lighten the burden on law enforcement.  

The hard fact is that both public health (medical) and public safety (law enforcement) approaches to violence vehicles of Chicago's outmoded, uninspiring, industrial-age strategy of violence reduction. The very idea of violence reduction in a digital age epitomizes the notion of the "little plan" that Daniel Burnham had in mind when he urged Chicago to

 

 

 

 

 

1960's also saw the rise of the national network television and emergence in Chicago of local TV stations. In retrospect, it is possible to see that Chicago could have used this stunning innovation in mass communications to address its youth-victimizing gangs not only as a public safety (police) problem or a public health (medical and sociological) problem but as a public communications (media) problem as well.

In retrospect, Chicago could have used this transformative digital-age resource to address and resolve the generation gap - the digital-age alienation young people and adults - that fragmented nations on both sides of the iron curtain during the 1960's. Chicago could have use citywide TV to enable all Chicagoans - young people, adults and city leaders alike - to address Chicago's gang problem as a digital-age city committed to the safety of all residents could have made Chicago SAFE. But this didn't happened. Instead, local TV news casts fed Chicagoans a diet of sensationalized, soundbite coverage of violence and of bickering, blaming and buckpassing in City Hall's failed efforts to address it effectively

and the local TV newscasts to which most Chicagoans turned (and still turn) daily for their local news, sports and weather. .

Chicago can make itself safe by using digital-age resources - the electronic media that comprise its digital-age public communications system - to .

So have all American cities. And these tactics have made all American cities more violent than they were six decades ago. 

 that of the counterproductive public communications that have contributed to making Chicago violence.

 

America has to consider that In a digital age, public safety no longer depends primarily on the use of police and a public health resources. Due to the ubiquity and transformative power of personal computers and mobile phones, public safety now depends primarily on the general public and their commitment to making their city safe for all residents.

 

It depends, in other words, on constructive uses of the print and electronic media  that comprise a city's digital-age public communication system. 

a a probits digital-age violence with its industrial-age resources. using Like all American cities, Chicago has made itself violent in several ways when decades ago it could have made itself safe, or at least made itself the "safest big city in America", as Mayor Lightfoot took to saying in late 2019, before the rise COVID and the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Chfrom the surprising history and evolutionary fact that with respect to public safety and public discourse, the City of Chicago - its citizens, its leaders and its city planners - has yet to think or act emergence decades ago from the industrial age and its entrance into the digital age.    

  • Violence reduction has failed.

  • Well into the digital age, Chicago continues to rely on its (disastrously failed) industrial-age violence reduction approach to violence as opposed using the digital-age goal of making Chicago safe for all residents. 

  • Since the 1960's - since the rise of Chicago's heavily-armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs and the sensationalized, soundbite coverage of violence in the city's local media - Chicago has used industrial-age resources - police, courts and prisons, primarily - to address what is essentially a digital-age public safety problem that cannot possible be solved (or even reduced) without the use of the electronic media that comprise Chicago's digital-age public communications system. 

That's because both violence and public safety in a digital age become deeper less a matter of criminality and more a matter of informed citizenship resulting from a sense of belonging to and being a useful member of a large   community.

 

it could have used the electronic media that comprise its digital-age public communication system to resolve what has become a fundamentally digital-age problem of poor (and often violence-exacerbating) public communication. 

For in a digital age, cities cannot force their way out of violence. They can't even reduce it. They can only dispel it - make it go away - by enabling themselves to think and act as responsible members of a large, digitally-connected community.

For in a digital age, public safety is not so much a police or even a public health problem as a public communications problem of poor citywide communication whose resolution calls for Chicagoans (leaders and young people included) to think and act as a members of a large, digital-age community committed to citywide safety for all members.

For all these years, Chicago's head has been stuck in an industrial-age sand when it could have thinking seriously about using its digital-age violence resources not just to reduce its violence but make itself SAFE for all residents.

How has Chicago, a great city of 2.7 million citizens and leaders, made itself violent by buying into the myth - a mind-numbing illusion - that violence is as much a part of city life as brutal Chicago winters.  Unlike brutal Chicago winters, violence is man-made. When pulls its head out of the sand and accepts that it made itself violent, the city will be poised to make itself SAFE.

Perhaps the "safest big city in America", as Mayor Lightfoot was saying in late 2019, just before COVID and the murder of George Floyd Chicago.

Yet for all these years Chicago has been using its industrial-age resources - its police, courts and prisons, primarily, along with its public health resources in recent years - to address an inherently digital-age problem whose solution requires the use of digital-age resources.

These resources? They've been staring us in the face along. From our TV and device screens. They are they media that comprise Chicago's digital-age public-communication system, especially the six network TV stations to which most Chicagoans turn for the their local news, sports and weather. 

But for decades Chicago's media - notably their non-stop, sensationalized, soundbite coverage of violence - have if anything exacerbated the city's violence when all along these they could have been connecting 2.7 million citizens and leaders not just to reduce the city's violence but to make Chicago SAFE. 

Perhaps even the safest big city in America, as Mayor Lightfoot was saying in 2019 before COVID and the murder of George Floyd.

There's no denying that violence reduction has failed disastrously in Chicago. Today, the city more violent than ever. City leaders seem helpless to improve the situation; TV news shows them bickering and blaming each other endlessly for a problem that has spun out of control. In addition to an eruption of carjackings and CTA violence, TV news is highlighting, new digital-age kinds of violence - flash mobs and social media-generated violence - arising from the ubiquity of digital age communications devices.

 

In Chicago's long history of violence, its important to distinguish between how Chicago has been victimized by violence done by a relatively number of its residents and how Chicago, as city of 2.7 million residents, has made itself violent. 

Most Chicagoans are inured to violence. They accept it as a hard, natural fact of Chicago life, like brutal Chicago winters. Well into the digital age, Chicago is making itself violent in ways that reinforce its industrial-age sense of itself as a city of incorrigible political corruption and gang violence.

This self-defeating mindset - Chicago's inability (or refusal) ever to come to terms with its violence now insures Chicagoans to the wartime, citywide levels of violence that holds Chicago in its grip today. 

Having made itself violent, Chicago keeps itself violent by putting up with violence as a hard, unalterable, even natural fact of Chicago life, like brutal Chicago winters. 

 

This delusional mindset keep Chicago from thinking hard about ways possibility of making itself SAFE for all residents. Instead, it embraces the delusional mindset that it is the victim, not the perpetrator, of its own violence.  

This mind-numbing and delusional mindset, a legacy of Chicago's industrial age violence, is what keeps digital-age Chicago from even thinking about using the miracle of modern communication technologies to make itself SAFE for all residents.

 

Well into the digital age, Chicago is as result keeping itself violence by using industrial-age tactics address its uniquely digital age violence. Chicago's violence will poliferate and take on new, uniquely digital-age forms until the city pulls its head our of the sand and uses digital-age technologies to address what is now a digital-age phenomenon.

 

 

Despite city government's relatively enlightened focus on violence as a primarily a public health problem, a quick look at the city's budget confirms Chicago continues to rest on the shoulders of the police, legal and prison systems that digital-age Chicago inherits from its industrial age.  

was During the industrial age, Chicago's notion of public safety rested on the understanding that its violence was the work minority its population - physicially violent criminals -  were Responsibility for public safety accordingly rested on Chicago's police force and the legal system of courts and prisons that supports police work in the streets. In this view of public safety, non-violent crimes

that was industrial-age view of violence, Yes indeed. Age necessarily so. In a digital age, such a partnership is the only way Chicago (or any modern city) can reduce its violence, let alone make itself. 




This partnership possible. And it's entirely feasible thanks to two more or less self-evident factors that are powerful enough to enable Chicago to mobilize itself to make itself safe. But these factors won't become visible until the city, as a city of thinking citizens and leaders, pulls its head out of the sand of its mind-numbingly defeatist acceptance of violence as a hard and permanent fact of Chicago life, like brutal Chicago winters. 

The first self-evident factor:  is the plain and simple one the vast majority of Chicagoans want safety. Neither Chicagoans nor  their leaders want violence. Deep down, Chicagoans want safety. We yearn for a city where you can go anywhere without fearing for your life. For a city that's safe to visit, work, play, worship and raise a family.

But how to develop and manage this yearning for safety  ways that actually realize it?

Easy. The answer is staring in the face from our TV and device screens. It's all about expressly constructive uses of digital age communications. Instead of using them solely as Chicago is doing now - mainly, to report on City Hall's consistently and  disastrously failed efforts over the past six decades to merely reduce violence - use these technologies in addition to inform, inspire and mobilize Chicagoans their their leaders to make their city SAFE.

Indisputably, these technologies have ample power to create and maintain an ongoing citywide drive to make Chicago SAFE.