I was reading a Chicago Tribune article entitled “Gang Violence Erupts in Lincoln Park” and I thought of this quote read by the immortalized Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989). My title was mostly inspired by the line from a dogwalker at the end of the piece who reconsiders walking her dog in the park at night: “Why dance with the devil?”
The epidemic of gang violence is now becoming fashionable to discuss by news outlets as it outpaces the benchmarks for shootings and killings set in previous years. Last year saw a glut of shootings and the much acclaimed debut of The Interrupters (2011) which profiled interventionists from Cease Fire who attempt to diffuse potential shootings (watch it here). Last year also saw the “appearance” of what the media incorrectly named “flash mobs” (later revised in some news outlets to “flash thugs”) who performed mass robberies/beatings and then dispersed.
I see the connection here because “flash thugs” have long been a problem on the south side of Chicago. I would link to news articles to prove this, but the south side receives hardly any coverage for this type of crime, so I couldn’t find anything (apart from a few quotes from longtime U.S. Representative Bobby Rush).
The “flash thugs” phenomenon only gained notoriety for most people (including myself) after merchants and pedestrians/commuters were targeted in/near Streeterville, the Loyola Water Tower campus, and the Mag Mile area.
It seems like gang violence, apart from statistical comparisons, is destined to the same obfuscation unless it spreads to wealthy, white, North side communities (apart from the perennially ignored Uptown and the ghost town that was Cabrini, now referred to by some as the “Park Side of Old Town” [what a laugh]).
What prompted the above title is the reaction by Gotham City officials in most of the Batman series films. The super criminals recognize that to garner attention to their demands, they must become brazen and target persons and areas of high profile. Perhaps we are starting to see life gruesomely imitate art, in that our own government and police will be spurred to stem systemic violence this year as it invades the downtown transit system, the North side, and continues to worsen on the South side as a result of high temperatures and high unemployment. Then again, perhaps not.