She Almost Got It…

Every Sunday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell’s column runs in the Beaumont Enterprise. She seems pretty reasonable and evenhanded, but she really missed the target in her most recent column

First they asked the 17-year-old rider his name. Next they asked about his high school. Then the three teenagers jumped him on a crowded CTA Red Line train in the heart of afternoon rush hour, causing injuries serious enough for him to be taken away by an ambulance.

But apparently, no one pushed the emergency button to alert the conductor of the assault.


the mother of the 17-year-old beating victim, is afraid her son’s case will fall through the cracks.

“We thought his nose and jawbone were broken, but he doesn’t have any broken bones. His face is swollen and his eye is closed shut and there is a lot of bruising. I haven’t been able to send him back to school,” she said.

Whether the police find her son’s attackers, the incident has sparked a fire within Trussell.

“I’ve called Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) to make a report, and I called Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) since the school my son was coming from is in her ward,” Trussell said. “And I just got off the phone talking to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s office.”

I asked, “What do you expect these people to do?” <

“We should feel secure,” she said. “We should feel that we are not at risk when we ride the train. There is no sort of security. The driver is the only person on the train. That is ridiculous. He doesn’t see anything. He doesn’t hear anything,” Trussell said. “When we step on a train, there should at least be a warning: ‘Enter at your own risk.’ “


…at what point do we begin to fight back?

The decent, law-abiding people in the black community outnumber the thugs, but the same thugs are allowed to victimize the community over and over.

Maybe it would help if we got off the cell phones, unplugged the iPods, took our noses out of the books and paid attention to what is going on. Police should have been at 47th Street waiting for the train to pull in.

CTA did what it could. It gave riders an emergency cal button.

Riders had better learn how to use it.

Given Mitchell’s earlier admissions that the police can’t be everywhere at once, and that the Chicago police are not going to put the case on the front burner, I’d argue that was not the best solution. What the riders should be doing is calling their legislators and raising hell about the fact that they’re being denied the most basic right, that of self-defense. Maybe if those thugs had known they might be facing lethal force if they started beating up on innocent people, then maybe they’d give their plans a second or third thought, and as Dr. Gary Kleck’s studies showed, many times the threat of lethal force is just as good as the lethal force itself. (Can you see something like that happening on one of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit trains?) And it didn’t even have to be a gun that people use to fight the thugs off with…could be a pencil, a knife, anything sharp…or heavy, for that matter. Granted, situational awareness will go a long way, but as has been proven in Britain, when you deny people the means, and basically the right, of self-defense, they more or less turn into cowering sheep, and this was on display on that Chicago subway train. And until the Illinois people rise up and assert that they are indeed citizens and not subjects, until they get reacquainted with the combat mindset and defending themselves (and their fellow citizens), this sort of thing will continue to happen.



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