Chicago Mayor Threatens Jail for Lockdown Violators
Chicago Mayor Threatens Jail for Lockdown Violators
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot finally had it up to her eyeballs with people who violate the city’s stay-at-home orders. So she threatened culprits with jail.
But these aren’t the protestors from Friday’s rally, or families enjoying Chicago parks whom she’s addressing. So while you might get your dander up about authorities curtailing peoples’ freedoms, consider that these scofflaws take violations to a whole new level.
These are young adults who keep having huge house parties, in a city where as of this writing there are almost 39,000 cases of COVID-19. Almost 1700 people have died. What’s more, while 30% of Chicago residents are black, they die at six times the rate of white residents.
And where do these house parties mainly occur? In the black community.
On Friday night, Chicago police broke up several parties. On Saturday, they learned of six more planned. So on Saturday night, the Chicago mayor went to the site where a party was supposed to be held, and lectured. Boy, did she lay down the law, as my mother used to say:
“We all need to be thinking about the long game, and having these parties when we need people to continue to stay at home is just silly. What’s it going to mean? It’s going to mean we are never getting out of this.”
The mayor lowered the boom and threatened jail time:
“Don’t make us treat you like a criminal, but if you act like a criminal and you violate the law and you refuse to do what is necessary to save lives in this city in the middle of a pandemic, we will take you to jail, period.”
Now did any of the youths pay attention to her? Well, they listened, and then blew her off. One called after her as she walked away, and literally told her to go home:
“Ya’ll overdoing it. Ya’ll need to find a cure, talking about go home. You go home.”
Last week the entertainment site TMZ posted a video of one of the house parties. While the videos that regular news outlets showed of that same party were pretty tame, TMZ posted a much more shocking video. In fact, a stripper was there, and boy did those party-goers make it rain.
There was lots of social activity, I’d say, and very little distancing, amirite?
But the organizer of that party, Janeal Wright, later apologized and told reporters why he threw the party. It was to honor two of his friends who were shot to death in 2018.
So he “honored” his friends with a stripper. Okay then.
The Chicago Tribune penned an editorial about the event — without mentioning the stripper, of course — asking the reader for understanding of why black kids are throwing these parties. In their tough neighborhoods they don’t think they’ll live to 25, anyway, says the Tribune. “So let the house party fiasco become a moment to reflect, not condemn,” it concluded.
With a soft soap attitude like that, do you really think these young black adults will heed health warnings? Heck, they scoff at the Chicago mayor, and she’s black, too.
Now I don’t like the idea of tossing people in jail for visiting other people. That’s a huge infringement of rights, and while my husband and I have mostly stayed home, we won’t rat on our younger neighbors hosting a small party outside, or young men playing soccer in a park. I won’t be that Karen. And in a way, I see why young adults might not pay attention to what “experts” tell them about the virus, especially when we’ve all received information that’s all over the place. Where I live, people are angry and tired of that nonsense. They’re worried about their livelihoods, and ready to go back to work.
But these kids are not flouting the law to go to work. They’re more focused on their right to party. And house parties in a city like Chicago are Petri dishes for the virus. Consider that the coronavirus spreads more readily indoors. Consider, too, that over a quarter of black Americans live in multigenerational homes, which means that it’s very likely these partygoers might be bringing the virus home to their grandmas and grandpas. And Grandma and Grandpa might become more statistics in the Grim Reaper’s tally of COVID victims.
It’s no wonder Lori Lightfoot has finally come to the end of her rope regarding these parties. She’s not acting like MI Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, whom I would swear look for excuses to destroy whatever joy people find during this incredibly frustrating time. But the Chicago mayor is trying her best to keep the death toll down in her city, and if it means sending some of these kids to jail, she’ll do it.
However, the politically powerful in Illinois also have some ‘splainin’ to do, and that includes Lightfoot herself. Last month she received a haircut, even though salons are closed, and got a lot of heat from shaggy Chicagoans. Then there’s IL Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose wife recently went to Florida to spend time at the family’s $12 million estate.
Lockdown for thee, but not for me, right? Neither of those actions are examples for young black Chicagoans who, like the rest of us, want to enjoy life again.
But back to the house parties.
There’s something disturbing about locking up people for attending a loud, crowded party. It goes against the grain of our American sense of freedom. But I wish I knew how anyone can convince these kids that their behavior just might bring the virus home to grandparents, or aunties or uncles, whom they love.