HOW CHICAGO KEEPS ITSELF VIOLENT
Six decades of violence reduction have failed in Chicago. Disastrously.
other consequences of violence reduction?
it results in chicago DEPLOYING
ITS FIVE digital-age public SAFETY RESOURCES
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.
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.
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.
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: