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Big group of kids terrorize Chicago's Loop, 13 arrested. Brandon Johnson springs into action.

What a total douchebag! “However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”


I wouldn't think of Demonizing them. How about throwing their ass in jail. Then we can do a sociological study of why these snotty little sh-ts vandalize stuff.


Yes, crime has a new friend in the Mayor's office.


Editorial: Brandon Johnson’s statement on Loop violence was as revealing as it was lamentable

By The Editorial Board

Chicago Tribune

Apr 17, 2023 at 4:33 pm


Large groups of youths gathered in downtown Chicago on April 15, 2023. Two teens were shot in the area during the evening. (Network Video Productions)


Brandon Johnson has not yet taken office as mayor of Chicago, but he still put out a statement Sunday after unruly teenagers descended en masse on Millennium Park and downtown Chicago, some of them breaking car windows, setting vehicles ablaze and firing off shots.


The statement’s existence, content and syntax all were revealing.


“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city,” Johnson said on social media. “However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”


Johnson’s condemnation of violence felt like an obligatory preamble hoping to ward off criticism. The statement’s real rhetorical energy came only at the end: Johnson and his fledgling transition team apparently saw the weekend violence downtown as a chance to offer a sociological admonishment to those who were frightened.


No criticizing the kids, the mayor-elect says, even if you ran hard and fast at the sound of gunshots or decided to check out of your Loop hotel early, eat the bill and take your next spring break in a city other than Chicago.


Mr. Mayor-elect, this is not going to work.


For starters, Chicagoans were not “demonizing youth” but reacting to criminal behavior. Everyone of all ages should be able to enjoy a warm weekend in Chicago. That hardly means standing by as a bus is set on fire.


Here’s the other thing, Mr. Johnson. You are not the only messenger, and if Americans start seeing your mayoral statements as progressive propaganda, they’ll stop listening to you or believing what you say.


Consider this report from Chicago’s Fox affiliate, WFLD-Ch. 32, widely picked up over the weekend by national media: “Shots were fired near the corner of Madison and Michigan, and FOX 32 Chicago decided that it was unsafe to keep our news crew on the scene.”


If hardened journalists feel unsafe in downtown Chicago, let alone tourists, that’s a serious issue.


If the husband of “a woman whose car was smashed by people jumping on the windshield” was beaten as he sat behind the wheel, as the woman reported, that’s a serious issue.


If the CTA curtailed its scheduled stops in the Loop for Brown, Green, Pink and Orange Line trains for two hours late Saturday, as was widely reported, that’s a serious issue. Was the person who made that decision, potentially making it harder for those who wanted to get out of the melee, “demonizing youth”?


Of course not. They were paying attention to the safety of CTA riders and staff.


We are with Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, on this one: “Save the excuses & rationalization,” the alderman tweeted. “Unless you want this to be the norm in Chicago, hold them & their parents accountable.”


And with current Mayor Lori Lightfoot: “As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct. Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home.”


Absolutely. Johnson’s statement, and where it placed its emphasis, likely has already cost the city real money that Johnson is going to have to replace with higher fees and taxes.


If you were a conference organizer weighing different cities this spring, would that statement have made you more or less likely to choose Chicago?


And if you were organizing the Democratic National Convention next year, you would have started to worry about what kind of pictures might emerge from the 2024 host city.


Other reports noted that the kids who swarmed downtown had overwhelmed police.


Part of the issue here is that teens now use social media to organize very quickly. Those of previous generations are familiar with how kids used to spend hours just trying to find the right time and place to meet up. As an episode of the public radio show “This American Life” once explored, teenagers used to spend all their energy figuring out a plan.


Now huge numbers of teens are interconnected. One posts where to go and when, and hundreds, if not thousands, heed the call. Demonstrably, they move far faster than police.


Obviously, getting a handle on this is going to be a major task for the new police superintendent — and for Johnson, who is going to need a short-term plan while his longer-range goals of offering “opportunities” for the city’s youth develop. We’re on his side when it comes to offering alternatives to setting vehicles on fire, and we mean that without irony.


But, assuming she lives and remains in Chicago, Johnson also is going to be mayor of the woman whose husband was attacked in her car. And that is a pressing problem when it comes to what happened this past weekend.


On the campaign trail, Johnson and his followers were sharply critical of many of the containment methods employed by the Lightfoot administration, such as blocking entry into the central business district. They’ve noted a lot of things that are “not constructive.”


This begs the question: What will they do instead?


Presumably they have a plan, given that they already are putting out a statement.


Join the discussion on Twitter @chitribopinions and on Facebook.


Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email

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God forbid if you can't reach Little Johnny!

I don't know how us Boomers made it through school without mummy and daddy having instant access to "our sorry ass". If today's parents are too stupid to see the harm in social media on their progeny

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