Crime

Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath

“What we went through this weekend, the way we had to get ourselves out, the looting, the vandalism- it was like something right out of a movie.”

-Jim Kotrba, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, in a September 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune article

October 2005. I was in my office at a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago when a firefighter/paramedic by the name of “Mark” stopped by. He had just returned from his honeymoon in Cancún, Mexico- early. The well-known resort had just been pummeled by Hurricane Wilma. “Mark” and his new wife paid attention to the growing number of warnings about the incoming maelstrom, and decided to pack up and leave the popular tourist destination two (?) days before it struck. I remember him saying the airport was pretty much a ghost town despite the ominous weather forecasts. In case readers don’t remember Wilma, here’s what the couple missed. From The Independent (UK) website on October 23, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma pounded the beach resorts and fishing villages of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula yesterday, whipping up 120mph winds and creating a 10ft storm surge that sent sea water racing through the lower floors of some of Cancun’s most luxurious beachfront hotels…

Cancun’s beachfront hotel district, constructed on a narrow peninsula, was completely evacuated yesterday. But in the city itself, only a small number of residents and tourists – 50,000 or so out of a local population of 700,000 – left on buses before the storm arrived. The others, including an estimated 30,000 foreign visitors, huddled in shelters and downtown hotels, where food and drink was due to run out yesterday.

With electricity cut off in advance as a safety precaution, the shelters – mostly in schools, hotels and gymnasiums – were hot, sweaty and crowded. Scott Stout, an American spending part of his honeymoon on an indoor basketball court in Cancun beneath a leaky roof, told the Associated Press: “After one more day of this, I believe people will start getting cranky.”

Weather experts in Mexico and the US said that Wilma’s unexpectedly long sojourn over the Yucatan meant that in effect local people were undergoing several hurricanes, one after another…

Fast forward to 2014. And the last several days in particular. More members of the fire service from that neck of the woods went to Mexico for a wedding-related event, and also ended up the victims of bad timing. Unlike “Mark” however, these firefighters didn’t make it out of town before a different hurricane struck. Becky Schlikerman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 17:

A group of 16 northwest suburban firefighters are stuck in Mexico after a hurricane ravaged the resort area of Cabo San Lucas.

The group had traveled to a beautiful oceanfront resort for the destination wedding of longtime Hoffman Estates firefighter Tom Mangiameli. About 50 friends and relatives traveled abroad, according to Mangiameli’s sister-in-law, Sharen Mangiameli.

The wedding was to be Saturday, relatives said. On Sunday, Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm.

Since then, electrical and water services have been out.

Tom Mangiameli and his group are still at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, said Sharen Mangiameli, 55, of Naperville.

“There’s no food, there’s no drinking water and there are looters coming into the hotel,” she said. “One of my nephews has been texting saying when they try to leave the hotel they’re being attacked by the locals who are looting.”

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Tourists and residents alike dealt with grave conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Pedro Juarez Mejia reported on the Agence France-Presse website on September 18:

Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resort armed themselves with guns and machetes in hurricane-battered neighborhoods to defend their homes from looters, as troops were deployed.

The government sent extra federal police and soldiers to the Baja California peninsula to counter widespread looting that erupted after Hurricane Odile tore down homes earlier this week…

Chaos took over this week as hundreds helped themselves to food, water, televisions and any goods they could grab in supermarkets and retail stores after Odile knocked out power and flattened homes.

But now residents fear their houses are next, amid reports of armed and masked gangs roaming neighborhoods.

Dressed in white and holding everything from bats to machetes, sticks and rocks, residents burned tires and wood…

Rodrigo Sanchez Villa, a lawyer for a hotel group, told local radio that masked gangs were pillaging shops, hotels and houses in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

“The situation appears to be getting worse all the time. A lack of security is being added to the problem of shortages of food and water and the lack of local authorities,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Sound like it’s been a nightmare down there over the past week or so. Thankfully, this group of Chicago-area firefighters eventually escaped the carnage in Cabo San Lucas. John Keilman wrote on September 18 on the Chicago Tribune website:

One person in the wedding party found a transportation company that was willing to send six buses to the resort to ferry the group to the airport, Kotrba said. The buses arrived before dawn Thursday and parked away from the resort, while the group sneaked out of the lobby to avoid attention.

“There were hundreds of people in the lobby,” Kotrba said. “If the buses had been seen, there would have been a riot.”

And upon their return to the U.S., the firefighters’ tale of survival was being shared. Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 18:

Sandwiches were handed out, then they ran out. Generators kicked in, then died because of lack of fuel and flooding.

“We were at the point where we made rope from a life preserver that was out by the pool and basketball nets and we started to build a little system to lift buckets of water from the waste buckets to flush toilets,” [Daniel] Pearson, 43, of Carpentersville, said from a Phoenix airport Thursday night.

“We had no cellphone service, food and water,” Pearson said. “We did whatever we could make do with. I have no dignity left. I took a bath in a fountain.”

Pearson is a former U.S. Marine. He spent nine months fighting in the Gulf War. And he has fought fires for 18 years. But he wasn’t ready for this.

I was in survival mode. I don’t think I was scared. It just got to the point where we had 48 people. What am I supposed to do? When we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis. And I think that last line should have read “What am I supposed to do when we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?)

In addition to using iron boards to defend themselves, that Keilman piece noted the firefighters set up their own security system, with some men sleeping in the hallway outside their rooms and confronting anyone who walked through.

All this reminds me of something the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin once said about survival:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I’m grateful these firefighters and the rest of their party made it back to the United States safely. And I wish all the best to the newlyweds.

After learning about their harrowing experience, I’m thinking it’s probably not a bad idea for overseas travelers to bring/put together a small emergency kit if/when it makes sense, adding emergency supplies in the event of some looming threat.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Gumbel, Andrew. “Hour after hour, Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun.” The Independent. 23 Oct. 2005. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hour-after-hour-hurricane-wilma-batters-cancun-512143.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky, “16 suburban firefighters stranded in Mexico after hurricane.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/29951882-761/16-suburban-firefighters-stranded-in-mexico-after-hurricane.html#.VB83fZV0zIV). 21 Sep. 2014.

Juarez Mejia, Pedro. “Residents grab guns to deter looters in Mexico resort.” Agence France-Presse. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/residents-grab-guns-deter-looters-mexico-resort-230317288.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Keilman, John. “16 firefighters returning from Mexico after being stranded by hurricane.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/chi-16-hoffman-estates-firefighters-stranded-at-mexican-resort-20140918-story.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky and Sfondeles, Tina. “Firefighter recounts harrowing aftermath of hurricane in Mexico.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/29970010-418/firefighter-recounts-harrowing-aftermath-of-hurricane-in-mexico.html#.VBxvp5V0zIU]). 21 Sep. 2014.

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Thoughts On Concealed-Carry Permits And Their Relation To ‘Falling’ Chicago Crime

“I don’t expect to see these numbers being touted by Chicago’s mayor or the national media, but they should. The Windy City is one of the areas of the nation most plagued by violence and their efforts to make the entire metropolis a ‘gun free zone’ have only fueled further violence by those who weren’t going to pay attention to the laws in the first place.”

-Jazz Shaw, conservative blog Hot Air, August 25, 2014

A number of alternative media outlets are discussing a supposed correlation between concealed-carry permits being issued in the state of Illinois and “declining” crime in Chicago. Kelly Riddell reported on the website of The Washington Times this past weekend:

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses… A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

The apparent correlation between more concealed-carry permits and falling violent crime both locally and nationally is interesting. However, in the case of Chicago, I suspect there’s more at work here than just Chicagoans now walking around town armed with Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses and handguns.

“Better” policing, as Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy is supposedly countering with?

What changed?

I suspect the “falling” crime rates can also be attributed to crimes like robberies and burglaries just not being reported like they once were. I blogged back on Halloween of last year:

Enter the folks over at the insightful Chicago police blog Second City Cop, and something they wrote earlier this month. SCC blogged on October 16:

Perception is part of the key to people “feeling safe.” The other part is actually being safe, having a visible patrol presence, being seen making arrests, performing traffic stops, and interacting with the public. That isn’t happening in most “safe” neighborhoods because the manpower has been stripped (or retired without replacement) from those areas.

Add in a massive reclassification of crime, increased response times to discourage reporting of crime, making the 3-1-1 (Alternate Response) a nightmare to navigate through and you have all the makings of betraying trust with the community when they can see the uptick in crimes with their own eyes and they no longer believe your numbers.

Before I exited the city in May, I myself witnessed CPD manpower being stripped from my police district (16th), heard stories about this “massive reclassification of crime”- “downgrade and reclassify”- from Chicago police officers, and read about/personally experienced the “nightmare” in interacting with the Chicago Police Department (procedural, not personnel).

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Make reporting crime a big pain in the butt for residents, and reported crimes like robbery and burglary plummet. Simple as that.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a real correlation did exist between more Illinois CCLs out there in the city and less robberies and burglaries. I just don’t think it’s responsible for most of the drop in crime.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Riddell, Kelly. “Chicago crime rate drops as concealed carry applications surge.” The Washington Times. 24 Aug. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/24/chicago-crime-rate-drops-as-concealed-carry-gun-pe/). 26 Aug. 2014.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 76

This morning, I was talking to the assistant manager of my parents’ condo building not too far from Chicago’s West Side. I’ll call this guy “Bookman,” one of my favorite characters from the TV show Good Times. Bookman’s from the area, and a couple of years older than me. From the exchange:

BOOKMAN: Have you been following what’s going on Missouri?
EDITOR: Yeah.
BOOKMAN: I think it’s going to blow up.
EDITOR: You mean, like a replay of Rodney King?
BOOKMAN: No, like after Martin Luther King was shot.
EDITOR: Oh, you mean the 1968 riots on the West Side.
BOOKMAN: Yes- but all over the country.

Interesting. Hope he’s wrong. But I’ll be keeping an eye out for any signs of coming widespread unrest.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Future Riots In Store For Ferguson, Missouri, And Elsewhere In U.S.?

I first mentioned Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, way back in April 2011. I follow Suarez on a regular basis, and yesterday he wrote the following about the ongoing civil strife in Ferguson, Missouri, and how it’s been “a replay of the Rodney King events of so long ago.” Via an e-mail from Suarez International:

I will make a prediction – in this order.

The Grand Jury will find the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing”.
The mob will not accept it and riot again.
Obama will step in, demanding another hearing.
No justice – no peace…as it were.
There will be another hearing where the officer is found guilty (wink-wink-nod-nod)

And all will live happily ever after.

Sure enough, Tim Bross and Jef Feeley reported on the Bloomberg website earlier today:

A grand jury will begin hearing evidence tomorrow in the police shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, as violent clashes continued in the St. Louis suburb.

A grand jury will start hearing from witnesses about the shooting that left Brown, 18, dead, Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, said in a telephone interview today…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Gabe Suarez may be on to something with that prediction about the state grand jury finding the officer “Innocent Of Any Wrong Doing.” Along with other media outlets, Jason Howerton reported on TheBlaze.com late last night:

More than a dozen witnesses have backed up the account of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, police sources reportedly told St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Christine Byers…

Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting #Ferguson

— Christine Byers (@ChristineDByers) August 19, 2014

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Will Suarez’s other prediction about an “innocent” verdict play out, and “the mob will not accept it and riot again” be in store for Ferguson, Missouri, and possibly other parts of the country?

Time will tell. But I’ll say this- If I suspected the safety of loved ones and/or myself could be threatened by such activity, I’d start taking steps to prevent that from happening.

Don’t be that schmuck trying to obtain personal safety gear, supplies, tools, what have you after the riot’s already at your doorstep, a la Los Angeles, April/May 1992.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Suarez, Gabe. “St. Louis: Having “Been – There – Done – That.” Suarez International Blog. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://blog.suarezinternational.com/2014/08/st-louis-my-take-having-been-there-done-that.html#.U_O955V0zIU). 19 Aug. 2014.

Bross, Tim and Feeley, Jef. “Ferguson Police Shooting Grand Jury Probe Starts Tomorrow.” Bloomberg.com. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-19/ferguson-police-shooting-grand-jury-probe-starts-tomorrow.html). 19 Aug. 2014.

Howerton, Jason. “Report: More Than a Dozen Witnesses Have Corroborated Officer Darren Wilson’s Version of Ferguson Shooting.” TheBlaze.com. 18 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/18/report-more-than-a-dozen-witnesses-have-corroborated-officer-darren-wilsons-version-of-ferguson-shooting/). 19 Aug. 2014.

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1992 Los Angeles Riots: ‘There Are No Atheists In Foxholes; There Are No Liberals In Riots’

I haven’t really thought about the 1992 Los Angeles Riots since I put together a piece that appeared on the shooting sports news website AmmoLand.com back at the beginning of May 2012- the twentieth anniversary of the “Rodney King Riots.”

And then racially-charged protests and looting occurred in Ferguson, Missouri.

Last night, I was looking over some of the L.A. Riot-related material I had gone through over two years ago. A couple of news articles of the time stand out as the Missouri National Guard take their turn patrolling the streets of Ferguson tonight:

The police tolerated armed citizens. Jonathan Lovitt reported in the May 4, 1992, edition of USA Today:

Many hundreds of people, alarmed by law enforcement’s inability to control the chaos, took up weapons throughout the riots.

Police were grateful. “You get a guy standing over you with a gun and you’re not going to loot … and that’s fine with us,” said Sgt. George Wright of Los Angeles Police Rampart Division.

Anti-gun types quickly “saw the light.” Lovitt added:

The rush to weapons began almost immediately after the riot’s first vivid images went out over TV.

Shopkeepers said some gun buyers were lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they’d never need – only to find themselves blocked by gun-control legislation that requires Californians to wait 15 days.

“The customers were angry about the waiting period but they bought the guns anyway,” says Barry Kahn, who owns B&B Sales, one of the region’s largest gun outlets. “These people were different from my usual customers. They were definitely first-time buyers.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

American ingenuity shone. Lovitt wrote:

But many buyers beat the restrictions, purchasing exempt “antique” firearms, made before 1941…

Others employed different tactics. Black-owned shops hung signs saying “Black-owned and operated: Do not Loot” with the name of a prominent gangster, an enforcer, below. Along trendy Melrose Avenue, store owners boarded up windows and hung “for sale” or “for lease” signs, hoping looters would search for visible booty.

Some Los Angeleans prepared accordingly. Phil Sneiderman wrote in the Los Angeles Times on April 9, 1993:

Still, some residents are concerned that police would not be able to halt widespread violence. Area gun shop owners said they have noticed an increase in people buying guns over the past few weeks, well before the federal King beating case neared an end.

“They knew the trial was starting and that there would be a verdict eventually,” said Steve Cotter, whose family runs Hilldale Sales, a Simi Valley gun shop. “They knew about the 15-day waiting period, and they started buying early.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A memorable quote was born. Ron Soble wrote in the Los Angeles Times on August 17, 1992:

Part of the rush for weapons was caused by police inability to initially control the riot, said her husband, Steve Cotter, who waits on customers with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson stuffed into his holster.

That spawned a public perception that “if the police can’t handle it, we’ll handle it ourselves,” he said.

Such emotions even motivate liberal advocates of gun control to buy a weapon for the first time, he believes.

“There are no atheists in foxholes; there are no liberals in riots,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ammo sales were banned in L.A. Soble added:

On top of the waiting period was an emergency order issued by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on April 30, which banned ammunition sales in Los Angeles until May 20.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The California National Guard initially had no ammunition. I blogged on September 14, 2012:

Watch for yourself the following news segment where then-California Governor Peter “Pete” Wilson admits California National Guard troops weren’t initially given bullets:


“LA Riots the GOV explains that the Guard has no ammo”
YouTube Video

Governor Wilson revealed:

There was some hesitation on the part of the Guard officers. I gave the order that they should take the ammunition that they had distributed as I would think they should in any case to those who are platoon and squad leaders making it available as needed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, guns saved lives and property. According to self-described “anti-gun feminist to armed feminist” Katherine von Tour in 1999 on KeepAndBearArms.com:

One day, just before the riots exploded, I was driving in downtown LA in a scary part of town. It was dusk. As I was stopped at a stop-light, with one car in front of me, two men who had been watching me began quickly and menacingly approaching my car from the sidewalk. One of them was carrying a tire iron.

I grabbed the pistol, which I had laid on the seat beside me, and held it up so they could see it.

The look in their eyes changed in an instant from threatening to fearful, and they immediately turned around and ran in the opposite direction. The light changed. I drove away.

No one was hurt, but a gun in my formerly liberal hand had, I believe, probably saved my life, or at least prevented me from likely injury…

Within a week, the very street where this incident happened had erupted in rioting, looting and killing.

I watched on television as the Korean grocers defended their property with AK-47’s and AR-15’s, and thus prevented it from being torched and looted. The police couldn’t stop the violence and killing.

I had friends who worked in the garment district in LA who barely made it out alive, and who told tales of pulling out pistols and having would-be attackers turn tail and run away.

Guns were saving lives and property.

As the riots threatened to spill over into Beverly Hills, myriad Hollywood types stormed gun stores to arm themselves, only to be told that there was a 15-day waiting period; radio talk shows boiled with people calling in and screaming about how unfair this was, and how the law was leaving them helpless.

Some of them even admitted that they had previously supported the waiting period, and that they were now furious that it had left them unarmed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Real insightful stuff, much of which I wouldn’t have known about without the Internet even though I watched the riots live on television while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a little more than 22 years ago.

And seeing that history never repeats- but often rhymes, as Mark Twain said- how much of the above will ring true in the next major riot on American soil?

We may find out as early as later tonight.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Lovitt, Jonathan T. “Survival for the armed.” USA Today. 4 May 1992. (http://www.jonathanlovitt.com/usa/SurvivalForTheArmed.htm). 18 Aug 2014.

Sneiderman, Phil. “Police Agencies Rehearse Riot Response Plans : King case: Authorities vow to back up one another if disturbances occur. Some area gun shops report brisk sales.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Apr. 1993 (http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-09/local/me-21047_1_gun-shop). 18 Aug. 2014.

Soble, Ron. “Going Great Guns : Security: The L.A. riots trigger a firearms-buying spree in the county. First-time owners drive the boom in sales.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Aug. 1992. (http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-17/local/me-5096_1_gun-sales). 18 Aug. 2014.

von Tour, Katherine. “My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist.” KeepAndBearArms.com. 1999. (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBPrintItem.asp?ID=635). 18 Aug. 2014.

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Chicagoans’ Personal Safety Compromised By ‘Stoning’ Of Police In Ferguson, Missouri?

Anyone else been watching the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, the last couple of days? I haven’t been following the racially-charged protests and looting as much I would have liked to. However, here’s one observation I’ve made that many should do well to recognize in America of 2014:

You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your personal safety.

On Friday, I heard it mentioned in one of the live TV broadcasts from the embattled town that law enforcement was purposely being kept some distance away from the protesters with the idea being that if police officers weren’t physically present, they wouldn’t incite any violence, and Thursday’s relative calm would continue.

Regrettably, things didn’t go as planned as the looters moved in to take advantage of this situation (you don’t say?). From the FOX News website Saturday:

Looters in Ferguson, Mo., were met with little police resistance Friday night and store owners say they were forced to protect their businesses with their own guns, Fox2Now.com reported…

A reporter from the station tweeted that police cars were seen driving past some of the stores being looted and did not respond. It rained in Ferguson Friday night and protesters could be seen outside until 6 a.m.

Two store owners, standing outside their business holding guns, told Fox2Now.com that when they called 911, they were sent from one police agency to another, and got no response.

One of the owners, with a large black gun resting on his shoulder, told the station that police were lined up blocks from the looting, and did not engage looters making off with large boxes from these stores.

“There’s no police,” he said. “We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn’t do their job.”

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch tweeted: “You did not see “police restraint” overnight. You saw police reluctant to act. We cannot keep stoning the keepers at the gate.”

“We cannot keep stoning the keepers at the gate.”

This activity- which President Barack Obama and others have been charged with undertaking during the Ferguson ordeal- hasn’t been lost on at least some in the Chicago Police Department. From the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop yesterday:

You know what we’re hearing, loud and clear?

• Don’t get out of the car. Ever. Indianapolis Metro Police Department be damned, if you get out of the car, the media will run half-truths, the community will riot, the brass will turn their backs and the politicians will run the bus over you, again and again and again in a constant loop.

In the urban centers, police work is done and the Law of the Jungle prevails. Protect yourself and your job. We never thought we’d have to type that.

“In the urban centers, police work is done and the Law of the Jungle prevails.”

Can’t say I blame them for feeling this way.

Consequently, Chicagoans better realize this is how things may stand going forward concerning their personal safety.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“‘There are no police’: Ferguson store owners guard businesses; cite lack of police response.” FOX News. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/16/there-are-no-police-ferguson-store-owners-guard-businesses-with-own-guns-lack/). 17 Aug. 2014.

“Guess What Message We’re Hearing.” Second City Cop. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2014/08/guess-what-message-were-hearing.html). 17 Aug. 2014.

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Sunday, August 17th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Resource Of The Week: ATSN’s Stop The Threat TV Show

I’ve now been at the new place a little more than a year, and I still don’t have my beloved satellite TV service hooked up. Truth be told, I’m so busy these days I don’t have that much time to watch television. However, I do miss some of the shows that were only on “pay TV.” One that I used to watch on a regular basis was Stop the Threat. From the American Trigger Sports Network website:

American Trigger Sports Network presents “Stop the Threat”, hosted by James B. Towle, featuring a rotating round table of expert guest panelists as they offer an informed discussion aimed at armed citizens on legal gun ownership, the use of deadly force, and how one may avoid becoming a victim, or respond to a life or death situation. This series may save your life!


“ATSN Stop the Threat television series promo”
YouTube Video

I used to watch it on the Pursuit Channel, which adds:

They analyze life-threatening crime scenes reenacted from real crime scenarios happening across the country. With more citizens, legal gun owners, and viewers becoming interested in protecting themselves and their families, Stop the Threat has opened the conversation of a previously neglected subject that could help save lives.

Very intense yet very informative. That’s what I used to think of the show.

How about you? Seeing that past episodes can be viewed for FREE via the Stop the Threat page on the ATSN website.

As of tonight, I count 36 episodes archived, each running somewhat longer than 20 minutes.

If you are going to watch the show, keep in mind the warning that’s prominently displayed at the beginning of each episode:

VIEWER WARNING: Contains extreme violence and is intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.

Adds a lot more realism to the crime reenactment, if you ask me.

While the last episode released looks to be from April 14, 2014, according to the ATSN Facebook page on August 6:

New season is coming soon!!!

Until then, you can watch hours and hours of Stop the Threat archived on the American Trigger Sports Network website here (scroll down to bottom of page).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Wilding Strikes Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood

“I had a group of about 20-30 swarm my car as I slowed to avoid hitting these kids. They started hitting and kicking my car and one of them opened my car door from the outside while another was grabbing at me… I also saw them assault other drivers, kicking and hitting their cars as they tried, and in some cases succeeded, in opening car doors.”

-NBC 5 (Chicago) website, regarding Monday’s wilding in Uptown

Last night, I was watching the WGN 9 (Chicago) evening news with my girlfriend when another wilding/flash mob/mob attack incident was talked about- this time north of downtown Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. According to the WGN website:

A large group of teenagers caused chaos and damage in the Uptown neighborhood Monday night…

The teens ran and trampled on top of cars around Leland Ave and Beacon Street. Cars were dented, scratched and windshields were broken.


WGN 9 Video

NBC 5 reported there were “20-30 teens.” I heard from a different news outlet that the feral youth numbered as high as 100.

My girlfriend said the Chicago Police Department had a strong presence downtown this past weekend. I can’t help but wonder if this latest wilding incident might be signaling a new trend, where such criminal activity moves to nearby neighborhoods and streets because of more CPD police officers around the tourist hot spots. Time will tell.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Massive ‘Wilding’ Incident Disrupts Uptown Traffic.” NBC 5. 12 Aug. 2014. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Massive-Wilding-Incident-Disrupts-Uptown-Traffic-271001461.html). 13 Aug. 2014.

“Video captures vandals damages slew of cars in Uptown.” WGN 9. 12 Aug. 2014. (http://wgntv.com/2014/08/12/group-damages-several-parked-cars-in-uptown/). 13 Aug. 2014.

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 Crime, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Northern Illinois Bank Robberies Up 35 Percent

Just got done watching the WGN evening news in Chicago a short time ago. One of the segments focused on the alarming number of bank robberies taking place in the Chicagoland area.

According to WGN, bank robberies in northern Illinois are up 35 percent.

101 heists have taken place so far this year.

122 bank robberies were committed in all of 2013.

Just yesterday, a teller was shot at one of these incidents out in suburban Bolingbrook.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get to the point where I need to don body armor whenever I head out to conduct a financial transaction (this already occurs in some countries, from what I understand).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 Banking, Crime, Gear, Main Street, Self-Defense No Comments

Illinois Ranked 4th Most Corrupt State In America

The other day I came across an interesting article on the Yahoo! Homes website. It was entitled “The most corrupt states in America.” I thought to myself:

I wonder how high Illinois will rank on this list?

Pretty high, as a matter of fact. From the piece:

4: Illinois. An old standby. The last two governors both went to jail for corruption. Enough said.

Actually, there’s more to be said. Robert McGarvey wrote on August 7:

An academic at the University of Hong Kong and another at Indiana University set out to rank the states by level of corruption, combing arrest and conviction records for public officials.

Cheol Liu and John L. Mikesell also reported that states with greater public spending have more corruption- particularly when the spending is in areas ripe for bribery, like construction, police and highway projects.

“People think corruption doesn’t happen here,” said Chicago lawyer Sergio Acosta, who used to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He’s a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ethics Reforms Task Force, which aims to codify appropriate behavior for city employees. “That’s the real value of this report.”

“People think corruption doesn’t happen here”

(Editor is laughing his ass off right now)

“Illinois” and “corruption” are pretty much interchangeable in the minds of many people familiar with the state. Particularly Illinoisans. I blogged back on April 2:

I don’t talk about the topic too often, but political corruption was the focus of a recent poll taken by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute down at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. From a press release Monday:

Illinois Voters: Political Corruption “Common” In Our State

Overwhelming majorities of Illinois voters believe political corruption is the norm for both federal and state governments, according to the latest poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

Fewer people believe political corruption at the local level affects their lives – unless they live in Chicago.

The poll of 1001 registered voters across the state conducted Feb. 12 -25 has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The survey found:

• 89 percent of Illinoisans feel corruption is somewhat common in the state, with 53 percent believing it’s very common.
• 79 percent say corruption at the federal level is at least somewhat common, with 45 percent saying it’s very common.
• 62 percent of all Illinoisans believe county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common, with 35 percent reporting local corruption to be very common.
• However, 85 percent of those living in Chicago believe county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common, with 55 percent perceiving local corruption to be very common.

“These are sad numbers,” said David Yepsen, Director of the Institute. “No wonder many people don’t vote and participation in civic affairs seems limited. It’s unhealthy for a society to have such little confidence in the integrity of government. It makes Illinois an unattractive place to live.”

I also wrote back on February 14, 2012:

This afternoon I was running errands around the Chicagoland area when I heard on WBBM Newsradio 780 that a new study showed Chicago is the most corrupt city in the nation. From the CBS Channel 2 Chicago website:

A former Chicago alderman turned political science professor/corruption fighter has found that Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country.

He cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove his case. And, he says, Illinois is third-most corrupt state in the country

University of Illinois professor Dick Simpson estimates the cost of corruption at $500 million.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Oh, people think corruption happens around here. And for good reason.

If Illinois readers think it’s bad now, wait until the bottom really falls out of the economy.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to start making influential friends/connections now if you haven’t done so already as part of a larger program for taking care of your and your loved ones’ needs when conditions become tough to do so.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

McGarvey, Robert. “The most corrupt states in America.” MainStreet.com. 7 Aug. 2014. (https://homes.yahoo.com/news/the-most-corrupt-states-in-america-033250358.html.) 12 Aug. 2014.

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 Corruption, Crime, Government, Preparedness No Comments

Chicago Police Department Manpower Shortage Continues

It’s nice and quiet around the house this Sunday morning. Why’s that? My girlfriend is downtown this weekend, hitting the scene with friends from her college days.

So with Chicago’s violent crime making headlines worldwide these days, am I worried about her safety?

Not really. First off, she’s “street smart,” having grown up in the city and lived there prior to meeting me and after we started dating years until we moved to the suburbs in 2013. Second, to quote that 1952 film classic The Quiet Man:

Oh, that red head of hers is no lie.

She’ll beat on you if it comes to that…

Girls Soccer

Third, as I responded to a comment on the blog recently:

The city of Chicago is still generally safe. A healthy dose of “street smarts” and situational awareness goes a long way though when living there on a daily basis (i.e., don’t stare at gangbangers, like one of my vehicle’s passengers was doing while I was driving on a local expressway some years back)…

The majority of the shootings/murders are still confined to the “seedier” areas of Chicago. But criminal activity seems like it’s picking up in a lot of other neighborhoods- including the “safe” ones- though “official” crime stats don’t support this. I, for one, stopped trusting the government numbers a long time ago.

Still, I’d feel better knowing there were more police officers around. The manpower shortage in the Chicago Police Department is well-documented (hat tips Second City Cop and the Chicago Reader), and regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know it’s something I’ve been blogging about for a couple of years now. In fact, Mick Dumke wrote the following over on the Reader website just yesterday:

As a mayoral candidate, Emanuel promised to add as many as 1,000 police officers to the ranks. Once he had the job and was in charge of the budget, he switched to saying that he was moving more cops to the street. Then, after shuffling hundreds of officers around, he announced that he’d successfully added more than 1,000 “to the beat.”

What Emanuel hasn’t mentioned is that the number of police officers on Chicago’s force has dropped since he’s been mayor. In June 2011, shortly after he was sworn in, there were about 10,900 officers on the city payroll, records show. Now there are about 10,600.

That’s potentially 100 fewer cops working around the city at any given time

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m pretty confident my girlfriend and her buddies will be safe. Still, the CPD manpower shortage really needs to be addressed- in addition to other crime prevention/reduction initiatives- for the sake of residents, commuters, and visitors.

Otherwise, Chicagoans will just have to get used to their city being called the “Murder Capital” of the United States. And Rahm Emanuel, “Mayor Murder.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dumke, Mick. “Beneath the doublespeak, do we need more police in Chicago or not?” Chicago Reader. 9 Aug. 2014. (http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2014/08/09/beneath-the-doublespeak-do-we-need-more-police-in-chicago-or-not). 10 Aug. 2014.

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Sunday, August 10th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments

Illinois State Troopers To Join Chicago Police In Patrolling Four City Neighborhoods

From a State of Illinois press release yesterday:

Governor Quinn Announces State Police to Assist Chicago Police Department
Forty State Police Troopers Will Join CPD Officers Following Mayor Emanuel’s Request for Assistance

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today directed the Illinois State Police to deploy 40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods. The action follows the city’s request for assistance and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.

“The state of Illinois will do whatever is necessary to protect public safety – in Chicago and every community across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city. When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help.”

At the Governor’s direction, the State Police will deploy troopers to areas coordinated with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The State Police and CPD will set up 20 to 25 “surge” teams with five Chicago Police officers and two State Troopers on each team. The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement. The troopers will come from State Police districts across the state. The assistance will be accommodated with current State Police resources…

“40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods”

Here’s what I think about this announcement:

1. Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn can tell their constituents they’re doing something about violent crime with this action. Personally, I think that’s the real motivation behind this announcement as both are running into some campaign headwinds.
2. It’s worded at one point- “apprehending those with known violent criminal histories”- so as to not make Emanuel look as if he requires outside assistance. The state troopers are just providing a helping hand. Yeah, that’s it.
3. The actual impact on violent crime by this action is questionable. “The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories.” How about those without known violent criminal histories? I’m guessing a number of these individuals are contributing to the headline-making carnage as well. I won’t be surprised to hear the shootings and homicides are continuing at the same pace as they have been this year.
4. If you ask me, this announcement demonstrates above all else the Chicago Police Department needs a lot more bodies. And not the perforated ones. Remember, the press release specifically calls for state troopers to join the CPD in patrolling city neighborhoods. Not enough personnel to effectively carry out patrols? Time to hire more cops.

Having problems finding the money to pay for these additional police officers? Slash the number of aldermen in the city by half… to start.

That’s my two cents. You can read the entire press release on the Illinois Government News Network website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, August 7th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

Detroit Police Chief: ‘Good Detroiters Are Armed And Will Use That Weapon’

“Detroit’s police chief has a solution to help drive down crime in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities: arm more citizens.

James Craig made the comments at a police press conference Thursday, when he announced a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013, The Detroit News reported. Although urban police typically favor gun control, Craig said his views evolved after working in Los Angeles and Maine, where concealed weapons permits are more easily obtained.

‘I changed my orientation real quick,’ Craig said. ‘Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.’

-FOX News website, January 3, 2014

Detroit Police Chief James Craig grabbed national headlines back in July with that comment in support of armed city residents to fight crime. And he’s in the news again today regarding that same topic. George Hunter reported on The Detroit News website:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Too bad the merits of an armed citizenry in the face of significant criminal activity are being recognized after Detroit had already imploded.

Seeing that there’s no shortage of talk about Chicago becoming the next Detroit, perhaps Mayor Emanuel and his City Council are taking note of the “Motor City’s” experiences?

Doubtful.

Detroit West he we come?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Hunter, George. “Detroit police chief gives credit to armed citizens for drop in crime.” The Detroit News. 16 July 2014. (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140716/METRO01/307160034/Detroit-police-chief-gives-credit-armed-citizens-drop-crime). 16 July 2014.

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Chicago Train Passengers Robbed At Gunpoint

“The National Rifle Association backs conceal-carry being extended to public transportation. Now the Chicago Transit Authority is weighing in, saying, ‘No way.’

The Chicago Transit Authority carries 1.6 million riders a day. The National Rifle Association says those riders should have the right to carry guns on board busses and trains under any Illinois conceal-carry law…

“We think it would be disastrous to allow passenger to carry concealed weapons on our trains and buses,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

Claypool said Thursday that the transit agency would fight all attempts to allow gun-carrying passengers on board trains and buses, even if legislators allow drivers to have guns in their personal vehicles…”

-Chuck Goudie, ABC 7 Chicago website, February 21, 2013

I’ll bet Survival And Prosperity readers could have guessed what was coming down the pipeline for the CTA.

The Chicago news media is reporting that a number of Chicago Transit Authority train passengers fell prey to armed robbers late this afternoon. Carlos Sandovi wrote on the Chicago Tribune website:

Two men armed with guns robbed several people on the Orange Line CTA train this afternoon, police said.

The armed robberies occurred at 4:15 p.m. as the train was between the Halsted Street and Roosevelt Road stops on the Orange Line, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney.

The men, whose descriptions were not immediately available, went into a train car on that line and announced an armed robbery, said Sweeney.

They robbed several people and fled with items when the train arrived at the Roosevelt stop, police said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I thought CTA trains were supposed to be “gun-free” zones? As a matter of fact, it says so right here on their website.

“Gun-free” zones. What a cruel joke. Glad to hear the passengers made it through the ordeal okay, considering one of them reportedly resisted (successfully) being robbed.

She’s lucky, if you ask me. More-hardened criminals might have turned to violence to make an example out of her for the others.

Hope the police catch these creeps.

As for the CTA and its riders? Something like this will probably happen again, unfortunately.

Why? It’s a “gun-free” zone. And criminals love gun-free zones.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Sandovi, Carlos. “Cops: 2 armed men robbed passengers on Orange CTA Line.” Chicago Tribune. 16 July 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cops-2-armed-men-robbed-passengers-on-orange-cta-line-20140716,0,3250364.story). 16 July 2014.

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NY Times Bestselling Author Brad Thor ‘Very Fearful’ Of Terrorist Attack In U.S.

Any readers ever hear of best-selling author Brad Thor? I first heard his name mentioned on TheBlaze website back in the spring. At that time, Thor- who’s brand-new thriller Act of War was just released Tuesday- announced he was moving his family from Chicago, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, because of violent crime and high taxes.

I spotted Thor’s name again on Glenn Beck’s site last night. Erica Ritz wrote:

After 9/11, New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor was one of a select group of individuals asked to assist the United States government in “war gaming” the next move of radical jihadists.

Why? Because he and other thriller writers had demonstrated an uncanny ability to predict events years before they occur. Thor warned of the NSA spying scandal in his book “Black List,” and predicted the release of five of the most dangerous Guantanamo Bay detainees seven years ago in “The First Commandment.”

So where does Thor believe we are headed next?

He told listeners of The Glenn Beck Program yesterday:

What chilled me was Dick Cheney recently saying that within the next six years, we’re going to see a terrorist attack on American soil worse than 9/11. You know, with two-thirds of our border agents changing diapers and trying to feed these children coming across the border, that doesn’t leave many to guard a border that- even at 100-percent strength- people were still getting through. I’m very concerned that the enemies of the United States are exploiting- because they exploit every opportunity to get bad actors into the country. And we already know Iran has lots of bad actors already in the country- Agents that are in place, waiting to be activated should the Iranians trigger them and tell them to activate.

I am very fearful that we could see some sort of terrorist attack in the United States…

As am I, Mr. Thor. As am I…


“Brad Thor Act Of War”
TheBlaze TV Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Ritz, Erica. “Bestselling Author Brad Thor, Who Predicted NSA Spying Scandal and Controversial Prisoner Exchange, Shares What He Fears Is Next for America.” TheBlaze. 9 July 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/09/bestselling-author-brad-thor-who-predicted-nsa-spying-scandal-and-controversial-prisoner-exchange-shares-what-he-fears-is-next-for-america/). 9 July 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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