August 15, 2020

BLM Chicago: Jeopardizing a Righteous Cause

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

Movements and organizations aside, “black lives matter” is an unassailable principle. The often-repeated retort that all lives matter is also unassailable, but also, of course, both irrelevant and patronizing. We all know that to many people all lives matter, but black lives seem to matter somewhat less.

Last weekend Chicago police exchanged fire and wounded a black man. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation, but riots and looting quickly broke out on Chicago’s fashionable Michigan Avenue. Approximately 100 looters were arrested, and several police officers were injured. Spokespersons for the Chicago Chapter of Black Lives Matter quickly dismissed the massive looting that took place as mere “reparations,” the cost of which they say will all be covered by insurance. Just who do these people think will ultimately pay for the damages the looters caused in the Windy City last Sunday? The BLM spokespersons say the corporations (presumably the retailers) will pay the cost. No big deal.

Well, not by a long shot. The BLM folks are wrong taking comfort in their assumption that Chicago’s (now former) Magnificent Mile only hosts high-end shoppers and visitors (which happens not to be the case at all). Far fewer Chicagoland people will be venturing into the area anytime soon to shop or visit. The sales tax revenue, along with the lost revenue tourism and conventions and meetings brought to the city’s coffers, will also take a huge hit, probably for years to come. Who does BLM think that lost tax revenue will hurt the most? Gucci? Gucci has 519 other stores besides the one the rioters trashed last Sunday.

Chicago tax revenues, property values, and overall economic activity will sag mightily thanks to the wanton lawlessness at the hands of the looters. Retail and hospitality jobs and all the ancillary support jobs that provide services to the citizens of, and visitors to, Chicago are all going to take a massive hit. We do not yet know exactly what precipitated the exchange of fire between the gunman and the police, and neither does anyone else at this time. We know only that the gunman has been charged with attempted murder.

Chicago is (was) the second most visited city in America. That may well change in the months and years ahead, and to whatever extent that hurts the people of Chicago, it will hurt the neediest the most.

The collateral damage to the community will far exceed the value of what the looters pocketed, helping themselves to the merchandise of Chicago retailers. Some Chicagoland citizens may simply say goodbye to Chicago. Ironically, the one group that has the least mobility and the least latitude to make such a decision are the people who lack the resources to move on.

Household incomes and property values are apt to diminish in the city, given the assault of the looters.  The city’s tax base will, of course, shrink accordingly. The citizens of Chicago are sure to find themselves in greater need for government services, but with fewer resources to provide those services. The economic harm this riot and looting has caused is not apt to go away quickly. Following the riots and looting that took place in the ’60s and ’70s, The National Bureau of Economic Research found a decline in median black family income of approximately ten percent in cities that experienced riots compared to those that did not. The Bureau also determined an adverse effect on adult male employment rates, following the disorders in the 1970s. This decline in employment primarily affected men under the age of 30.

Last Monday, the Chicago chapter of Black Lives Matter issued a statement on the looting and unrest in the city. It also held a solidarity rally in support of the looters who the police managed to arrest. The BLM statement read, “In a predictable and unfortunate move, Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not take this time to criticize her officers for shooting yet another Black man. Lightfoot instead spent her time attacking looters.” Then, ominously, “the mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the Chicago Police Department is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in.”

The rally organizer said looters should take anything they want to take as reparations. “I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci, or a Macy’s, or a Nike, because that makes sure that that person eats, that makes sure that that person has clothes, that makes sure that that person can make some kind of money because this city obviously doesn’t care about them,” he said.

There are no winners emerging from the rioting last Sunday night, certainly not the looters or those from whom they looted. The Trump re-election campaign could not have asked for a greater gift. It fits right in with the campaign’s rhetoric, which is already warning suburban voters that their suburbs will be gone if the Biden ticket is elected.

As the 1930 Gershwin hit asked, Who Could Ask for Anything More?

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

Invite friends, family, and colleagues to receive “Of Thee I Sing 1776” online commentaries. Simply copy, paste, and email them this link—  –and they can begin receiving these weekly essays every Sunday morning.

32 responses to “BLM Chicago: Jeopardizing a Righteous Cause”

  1. Joe Noren says:

    I would not call it a win, however the suburbs surrounding Chicago will be building huge apartment complexes to attract
    the many that will exit Chicago. Highland Park,Illinois is building
    large apartment complexes and many leases have been signed prior to completion. Macy’s in Northbrook shopping center is being torn down and replaced by apartments. The northern suburbs are expecting a migration from Chicago and I would expect other troubled cities to experience the same exodus.

  2. Gail Sehler says:

    Unfortunately, BLM also has to deal with those that use that name and cause as an opportunity and excuse to act out.
    It was reported last night that Macy is considering whether or not to maintain there presence on Michigan Ave. As an employer, everyone suffers.

  3. susan duman says:

    It’s as if we have an ongoing Civil War in Chicago. This morning’s Tribune reported that one of the looters said he just needed to find a place to loot. Then he made sure it was photographed on social media.
    The mayor clearly does not have command of the police.
    On a personal level, I have no intention of fleeing to the suburbs.
    Our beautiful Magnificent Mile is boarded up.
    I don’t see Election Day as the answer. This resentment is deep.
    Such an irony that our current health crisis has no boundaries of color and class.

  4. Ted Goldman says:

    Detroit, Newark, Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Portland , San Francisco. Los Angeles,
    Atlanta, Seattle, ad infinitum.

    Let me count the ways to say “all DEMOCRATIC run
    cities for many decades.

    Elect leftist Marxist Democrats at your own peril.

    The silent majority cannot express their views lest they be canceled, physically assaulted, or worse.

    Voting will be their voice. Trump will be re-elected because of this democratic madness.

  5. Response to Ted Goldman:
    Exactly which of the Democratic candidates are Marxists?

  6. James Fisher says:

    Great analysis Hal. Ted states what is obvious to any rational outside observer – but what are the voters of these cities thinking? Are they so zealous in their democratic party affiliation that they are willing to appear insane by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

    I would really like to understand the human dynamics of this very widespread American condition.

  7. I am sad for what has happened in my mismanaged democratic controlled city of Chicago it’s a crime to riot, it is a crime to loot, it is a crime to steal, it is a crime to burn property but there is a crime that is tearing at my soul and it is being caused by the majority of these criminals for what they are doing and that is turning me into something that I am beginning to hate myself for

  8. Ray Galante says:

    Arise! More Trump supporters! BLM doing irreversible harm; where is respected Black leadership?

  9. Stuart Goldfine says:

    BLM is helping support the Trump voter.
    Their goal should be helping eradicate crime, patrolling the violent areas, feeding the needy with all the money that has poured in their coffers, educating the children and families, and building trade schools. Instead, rioting and looting seems to be their main goals.

  10. Peggy Jacobs says:

    Again, you shatter my dreams with reality. I had no idea that BLM would support looters. I believed in their cause and felt that looters were outsiders taking advantage of peaceful protests
    with legitimate concerns. It is truly heartbreaking to see such damage to a city I called home.

  11. Ted Goldman says:

    Hal. To answer your question about Democratic
    Karen Bass, Bernie Sanders, AOC,
    Mayors Lightfoot of Chicago and De Blasio of New York.
    In addition the failure of Democratic leadership to condemn the continued looting, violence, and mayhem in Portland and Minneapolis mirror actions of Jacobin revolutionaries
    In addition leadership of BLM proudly proclaiming their Communist sympathies and stating their philosophy in their publicly available documents.

    Not to split hairs but far left violent revolutionaries
    acting over many months with the tacit endorsement of Democratic Governors and Mayors is Marxist, in fact if not in name.

  12. Response to Ted Goldman: Exactly which Governors and Mayors have tacitly (or otherwise) “endorsed” violent revolutionaries?

  13. Stephen Prover says:

    Ted Goldman: What “silent majority?’ Do you mean the Trump supporters that invaded the Illinois legislature with loaded assault weaponry…
    Explain the math to me… How does approximately 35%…probably less… comprise a “majority”…. Slandering those with whom you disagree with ad hominem attacks calling them Marxist or Communist suggest you harbor a fundamental poor understanding of the terms… You, like Trump, can, apparently, never disagree with political adversaries without personal attacks… “democratic madness”.????? Have you actually listened to Trump speak…

  14. Stephen Prover says:

    Although I enjoyed an early appreciation of the BLM movement I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with the leadership… Not only do they openly support the odious looters but now have welcomed the pernicious, violent BDS Palestinian propagandists to attach themselves to the movement.

  15. Ted Goldman says:

    Portland Mayor proclaiming the violence, looting, rapes and murders a “summer of love”. Until these thugs attempted to “protest” at her home. Now she had skin in the game.

    Washington Governor pretending to be ignorant of the looting, burning, and violence in Seattle.

    Furthermore these Democratic politicians did not protect businesses and property in their communities. Nor did they express sympathy with the victims of all this violence ,nor offer to pay for the destruction , which they condoned.

    Exactly why do you need to be reminded of these incidents Hal? They were repeatedly shown on TV over several months.

  16. Frank Berman says:

    Black Lives Matter is not a peaceful organization interested in helping the Black community solve its problems. Those include 70% single mothers and the attendant immorality; 80% of the black males do not graduate from high school in my city and I suspect elsewhere; our population is 13% black ( and 6 % males) make up over 50% or the robberies and homicides committed in our country, and obviously often encounter the police because of it.

    To illustrate, some years ago a local industry leader established a scholarship fund for black students and asked for my participation which I gladly extended. While he found black female high school graduates worthy of scholarships, he could not give away any money to black males. There were none who met his minimum and minimal standards.

    Neither BLM nor our press ever refer to the root causes of our present sorry and lawless circumstance. Certainly never do you hear any constructive suggestions to address these root causes. Indeed, if you refer to the real facts you are likely to be branded a “racist”.

    Black Lives Matter response in our community can be shown to be consistently outrageous. I became aware of it when there was a killing of a black person in St. Paul several years ago. They demonstrated for a long time on the busy streets with the chant ” cops are pigs, fry them like bacon.” BLM did nothing at all to help the black community or relationships with police.

    To suppose otherwise is simply without any real basis.

  17. Response to Ted Goldman: Thank you for clarifying your definition of “tacit endorsement of revolutionary tactics.” The Mayor’s decision to temporarily tolerate the take over of several blocs of the city of Seattle was certainly ill-advised, and her comment that it might all turn into a summer of love was, well, beyond foolish and certain to come back and haunt her later. Nonetheless, once the Mayor decided that enough was enough the “summer of love” came to a very quick end when law enforcement officers, many in riot gear with shields and batons, began forming at CHOP barricades at 5 a.m. Police told protesters they had eight minutes to move out or face arrest. CHOP was dismantled in an orderly fashion and it was all over before noon with, essentially, little resistance. Hardly a tacit endorsement of revolutionary tactics.

  18. James Fisher says:

    Frank, you are 100% correct. The facts you quote are ignored by democrat leaders, the mainstream media and too many in the public at large. Simply acknowledging the truths in your commentary would be a beneficial step towards developing possible solutions rather than blaming the customary scapegoats of systemic racism and the NRA.

  19. Stephen Prover says:

    Frank Berman: What is your source for blacks responsibility for 50% violent crimes.. In actuality young teenagers and young adults age 16-24 consistently commit the highest proportion of violent crimes…
    Frankly Frank, I think even the racists might consider you a racist..

  20. James Fisher says:

    Gosh, Stephen, the slightest bit of academic research will support Frank’s contentions.

    And as far as your name calling… may I quote an earlier respondent.. “You, like Trump, can, apparently, never disagree with political adversaries without personal attacks…”

    That respondent was you my friend.

  21. Sylvan Gershowitz says:

    The riots are like Covid 19 it will spread all over the country if enforcement, Mayor’s and Governor’s ,don’t do their job and put a halt to this immediately,
    Like they should have on day one!!!!!

  22. Stephen Prover says:

    James Fisher: Help me out Jim, cite a source from your academic research that supports the assertions I hold in dispute..
    Now as for my “name calling”. I think you may agree that when it comes to name calling the TRUTH is considered a 100% defense.

  23. Ted Goldman says:

    Hal…A recall petition of the Portland Mayor has already received sufficient signatures to be placed on the ballot.
    We shall await the results of this election and see how the citizens of this once lovely city view the Mayor’s actions over these past months.
    i rest my case.

  24. Frank and Toby Berman says:

    I refer you to the writings of Heather macDonald. She is a noted expert in this field. To make it easy, she wrote an op-Ed piece in the WSJ about a month ago that referred to Most of these statistics that I reference.

    It is far to easy and borders on little more than gossip to call one a racist With no basis. That is one of the great barriers in working toward solving the problem. One need not look far to find that barrier.

  25. Response to Ted Goldman: And if the Mayor is recalled it will prove what? That she is no longer acceptable to the people of her city for the manner in which she dealt with the illegal occupation of City property, or that she is a Jacobin Revolutionary.

  26. Marc Slavin says:

    Hal, this subject certainly got everyones blood pressure excited. You’re dead on in your rhetoric this week. But I have a few comments to add as to why this is happening. The riots or uprisings or what ever you decide to call them, is a result of many generations of an uneducated race. It is unfortunately a fact that the inner cities have the worst educational programs and lack of good teachers. The reason is simple; the good teachers migrate to the suburbs where the parents are engaged and care about their children and values. In addition, I learned in my senior year of Psychology my favorite teacher Dr. Rabinowitz, sated that the “values of a child are established before they are 3 years old”. Think about how fascinating this factoid is. So what do you expect from the inner cities, whereby kids are raised without a male figure and mothers are either working all day or are on well fare and the kids are raising themselves or being influenced from a neighbor who is a hoodlum. So what do you get, an uneducated human with a total lack of any resemblance of decent values for life and property. The perfect combination for a worthless life.

  27. Ted Goldman says:

    Hal… Portland update:
    Monday August 17, 2020. Day 81 of uncontrolled mayhem.

    Man dragged from car and beaten unconscious previous night.
    Police nowhere to be found.
    Portland Mayor remains stunningly silent as her city
    This is “tacitly condoning lawlessness, violence, and destruction”. Referring to this as Jacobin revolution, or Marxism is begging the question of what is occurring in Portland. Her recall is assured.

    These actions by Democratic officials in
    cities such as Portland , Chicago, New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc
    should ensure Trump’s re-election.

  28. Bill DeWoskin says:

    It has not been mentioned that these looters were organized on social media. They arrived in the central city in convoys from the south side. They were in trucks and vans to cart the loot and were carrying a variety of tools for breaking windows and prying open doors. They carried rocks to throw at police. This was a planned attack on the city, not a spontaneous reaction to an incident of police brutality. There is no defense of their actions. Trying to explain the looting as other than criminal is disingenuous.

  29. Response to Bill Dewoskin: Agree!!! The BLM statement in defense of the looters was ( is) a divisive blunder. Sadly, it is also revealing, and will cost “the movement” the support of those who have marched and demonstrated with them for equal justice under the law.

  30. Cydney Osterman says:

    My response is simple. We have 2 choices,” Bad and Bader”. Trump is Bad but the Democratic Party is “Bader”.

  31. paul lubar says:

    deus ex machina…..Kanye West

  32. Roberta Holland says:

    What are the Democrates thinking? Three nights of the Democratic Convention and not one word about the violence, lawlessness and destruction of our cities. I fear they (the Democrates) )will pay the ultimate price for their perverse oblivion and political pandering. It makes me so sad!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *