and chicago keeps
itself violent

It certainly does.  

  • Chicago could subsume its considerable and non-violent approach to violence as a public health problem to a public safety could significant and constructive step away from the use of police force and towards the power of non-violent, two-way communication to enable at-risk young people and communities to build violence-free futures.

  • Violence Reduction overshadows Public Health. That said, Chicago's public health efforts fall under the rubric of a violence reduction strategy that has little appeal or credibility with the public. City leaders communicate its outcomes in statistics that at best make Chicago seem to be a little less violent this year than last year.

Chicago is a digital-age city in SO many ways. But not in the field of public safety. Five decades into the digital age, and in the face ever-escalating citywide violence, the city's head remains stuck in the sand of industrial-age violence reduction notions of public safety.

 

True, Chicago partiality realized the futility of address its youth-centered violence as a traditional public safety (police) problem in the 1990's when it began to treat violence, in addition, as a public health problem centered on a set violence interruption efforts, emanating from the University of Chicago's Crime Lab and the City itself.

 

Today, City Hall speaks of  to discover the transformative public safety potential of its digital-age media. 

Instead, it is making counterproductive uses of the very media that could make it safe for all residents.

 

In the 1990's, Chicago tacitly acknowledged the futility of violence reduction when it began to addressing violence as a public health (medical and sociological) problem.  Yet violence remains Chicago's public safety strategy despite City Hall's emphasis on Public Health approach to violence.


HOW CHICAGO KEEPS ITSELF VIOLENT

Worse yet, its failures, and the bickering, blaming and buckpassing of Chicago's leaders have been the constant theme, day in and day out, in the news media the report Chicago to itself in our media-driven society. And these media - the components of Chicago's digital-age public communications system - will keep Chicago violent until they evolve from their industrial-age obsession with violence and the city's inability to address it to a digital-age commitment to helping Chicagoans of all ages and backgrounds, City Hall included, make Chicago SAFE.

=================================  

And today they keep Chicago violent. For violence reduction remains the explicit core principle Chicago's public safety thinking. (This despite the city's considerable and constructive attempts since the 1990's to address violence as a Public Health problem. )

Today Chicago is inured to violence. Wartime levels of violence are widely seen as hard facts of Windy City life, like brutal Chicago winters. Chicagoans yearn for a safe city, but there is no serious talk of making Chicago safe. Chicago's head is stuck in the sand of industrial-age violence reduction when comes to digital-age public safety and the use its digital-age resources to make itself safe. 

other consequences of violence reduction?
it results in chicago DEPLOYING
ITS FIVE digital-age public SAFETY RESOURCES

INEFFECTIVELY 
or even conterproductively

absolutely. Below are brief accounts of the ineffectiveness and, at times, dysfunctionality of each of Chicago's public safety resources.  Worth noting is the extent to which the accounts of Numbers 1 and 3 (Police and  Public Officials) echo the routinely negative news reports of the media that comprise Number 4 (Public Communication System). 

2. PUBLIC HEALTH: MEDICAL and sociological professionals
One constantly hears of experimental new pilot public health programs operating at small or local levels. Seldom, if ever, do Chicagoans hear of programs that are well-known to them and that operate citywide.  Public health professionals invariably complain about severe underfunding of even their successful programs. These programs commonly meet just a small part of the actual need for them. All too often, people in most need of a given program never hear about it. Media's ability to make Chicagoans aware of programs intended for them is vastly underused.

3. PUBLIC officials (city hall and city leaders)

For decades Chicago's leaders have been so busy squabbling among themselves about violence reduction that they have be unable or unwilling to work with each other and with the people of Chiago to make Chicago safe.  

ChiLeaders.jpg

In addition, their use of Chicago's news media to discredit and run each other down contributes both to government dysfunctionality and the widespread mistrust and cynicism that Chicagoans feel towards politics and city government itself. A third source of citizen mistrust is in the millions of dollars that candidates for office must raise and spend on election-time political advertising (attack ads). Mostly televised, campaign managers see these ads as indispensable to any successful campaign for office. In this closed, top-down system, election outcomes are influenced or determined less by City Hall's interactions with the public - with the input and ideas that Chicago needs in order to make itself SAFE - than by dollars raised from the so-called political donor class. 

4. Private foundations and funded community groups, chicago city planners, religious organizations and colleges and universities

Is public violence best addressed incrementally or systemically? The many organizations grouped here share the limiting mindset that violence is best addressed incrementally. Never in its totality - systemically or holistically - even though Chicago's violence is by all accounts a systemic problem that impacts virtually every aspect of city life. 

FOUNDATIONSunivs_edited.jpg

Even when declaring that violence is a matter to be addressed systemically - as a citywide phenomenon requiring citywide input and engagement - these groups exclude from consideration the commercial media that entirely dominate Chicago's public communications system. In so doing, they exclude the only resource that can enable Chicagoans and their leaders to address violence as a digital-age community that is capable of thinking and acting to make itself SAFE.. 

5. the public. all 2.7 million chicagoans

The people of Chicago are Chicago's core safe asset. But only when working with Chicago's police and city leaders. Historically, however, Chicago leaders and the city's media have left almost completely untapped their yearning for safety and the boundless energies - the experiences, insights, skills, wisdom and sense of belonging to Sweet Home Chicago - that Chicagoans could bring to the task of making their city SAFE. These positive energies lie dormant today, decades of city leaders and city city media that have never enabled Chicagoans (City Hall included) to listen to and learn from each other.  Today, as a result, most Chicagoans live in fear of the breakdown of law and order that they see in Chicago today. The enormous, transformative potential of the people of Chicago to make their home city safe lies dormant, oppressed by the feeling that violence in Chicago is as natural and unavoidable as brutal Chicago winters.

6. Public communications: the electronic media that comprise Chicago's digital-age public communications system 

As we've suggested above, the miracle of modern communications technologies has equal power to connect or disconnect citizens and leaders, equal power to help make Chicago safe or to exacerbate its violence with sensationalized  coverage of violence that leads to fear and overly violent responses to violence  itself.  Today Chicagoans, their leaders and their police are largely disconnected in the media that comprise Chicago's public communication system. At the heart this system, as we say elsewhere, re the six local TV stations to which most Chicagoans turn for their daily local news, sports and weather.

tv stattions BEST_edited.png

We see these six stations as critical to the problem and the solution of Chicago's violence.  At a time when they could profitably be using their resources to empower Chicagoans and their leaders to make Chicago safe, they are using their resources primarily to show Chicago how unsafe it is:

Ch 5 wmaq holiday violence.jpg
1   
HOW CHICAGO MADE ITSELF VIOLENT

NEVER USED THEM
EFFECTIVELY?

CORRECT.

FACT IS, DIGITAL-AGE CHICAGO HAS NEVER SOUGHT TO ADDRESS PUBLIC VIOLENCE IN ITS TOTALITY. IT'S NEVER USED ITS DIGITAL- AGE PUBLIC COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (ITS MEDIA) TO SECURE THE  PUBLIC INPUT, INVOLVEMENT and trust NEEDED TO MAKE chicago SAFE. INSTEAD, IT'S RELIED ON INDUSTRIAL-AGE RESOURCES (MAINLY ITS POLICE FORCE) MERELY to REDUCE VIOLENCE.

AND IT'S FAILED
DISASTROUSLY
TO DO EVEN THAT!

BOTTOM LINE,
DIGITAL-AGE chicago 
HAS
BEEN ADDRESSING VIOLENCE IN
AN INDUSTRIAL-AGE WAY.

AS A RESULT, IT is
now USING 
all SIX of
its ANTi-VIOLENCE RESOURCES
INEFFECTIVELY (and at times
COUNTERPRODUCTIVELY).


THINK ABOUT IT:

1.  PUBLIC SAFETY (POLICE)
hugely OUTNUMBERED AND
OVERBURDENED. now underSTAFFED,
WITH MOUNTING JOB DISSATISFACTION.
are USING DIGITAL-AGE TECHNOLOGIES
(E.G. SHOTSPOTTER) TO surveil chicago
WHEN THEY COULD BE USING THEM (E.G.
CHICAGO'S MEDIA) TO EARN public
TRUST AND COOPERATION.

2. PUBLIC HEALTH (MEDICAL)
HUGELY OVERBURDENED. WAY UNDERFUNDED.
UNDERUTILIZING MEDIA'S POWER TO CONNECT CHICAGOANS WITH THEIR PUBLIC HEALTH 
AND ANTI-VIOLENCE RESOURCES.

ChiLeaders.jpg

3. PUBLIC OFFICIALS
(CITY HALL 
AND CITY LEADERS)













BUSY SQUAbBLING AMONG THEMSELVES ABOUT
VIOLENCE REDUCTION WHEN THEY COULD
BE WORKING WITH CHICAGOANS
TO MAKE CHICAGO SAFE. 

foundations.jpg

4.private foundations
and funded COMMUNITY GROUPS






BANDAID SOLUTIONS.
interested only in parts of
the problem, never 
THE WHOLE. 
(LIKEWISE CHICAGO'S CITY PLANNERS
AND GREAT UNIVERSITIES.)

 

5. THE PUBLIC
all 2.7 million CHICAGOANS
THEIR PUBLIC SAFETY ENERGIES AND
EXPERTISE LARGELY OVERLOOKED. also, 
DEMORALIZED BY MIND-NUMBING, NON-STOP
MEDIA COVERAGE OF VIOLENCE AND CITY HALL
SQUABBLING, BY 
POLICE VIOLENCE
AND BY VIOLENCE ITSELF
 
(YET CHICAGOANS ARE CHICAGO'S
CORE SAFETY RESOURCE WHEN working
with POLICE AND CITY HALL.)

6. PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS (MEDIA)
~~ CHICAGO'S PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM ~~
~~ ITS MOST POWERFUL DIGITAL-AGE RESOURCE ~~

especially the six local tv stations to
which most chicagoans turn for theIR
LOCAL news, sports and weather.





COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED AS KEY PARTS OF
CHICAGO'S DIGITAL-AGE INFRASTRUCTURE.
AND, AS PARTS OF both THE PROBLEM
AND THE SOLUTION TO public VIOLENCE.

PRESENTLY USING THEIR
RESOURCES MAINLY TO SHOW
CHICAGO HOW UNSAFE IT IS . . .













. . . WHEN THEY COULD, IN ADDITION,
BE USING THEIR RESOURCES TO

HELP CHICAGO make itself SAFE.
(HIGHLY profitably so, as we will see.)

tv stattions BEST_edited.png
Ch 5 wmaq holiday violence.jpg