ONE IS FORTUNATE to a few good friends, true friends that is. In our case we have Tom Mc Kenna. We really go back a long ways, to the second grade in 1953, to be exact. We were together at St. Theodore Grammar School, St. Rita H.S., the City Colleges; Wilson & Bogan Branches (now renamed Kennedy-King & Richard J. Daley respectively). We were in Boy Scouts, Altar Boys, Robert E. Wood Boys Club, softball teams and even coached grade school football and basketball. We each would ultimately put in 30+ years spent in the ranks of "the Glorious Blue"; better known as the Chicago Police Department. We did many other things together and remain close friends to this day.
WHEN WE HAVE discussions on topics such as politics and current events of the CPD, he had used an old quotation about the Media's interpretation of certain situations. In certain occasional stories, the press boys offer complex, often highly theoretical, explanations of a particular incident. When one of us notes that there is a simpler answer, Tom would often quote some old adage that goes; "Genius is the Ability to Detect the Obvious."
WELL WHEN ONE contemplates that statement, it becomes very clear and truthful. In its simple and straightforward form, it nails it. It brings to mind that Hans Christian Anderson fable about "The Emperor's New Clothes." We've all heard that one and gotten the moral; that one's being the human trait of having reluctance in admitting lack of knowledge and fear of ridicule for not being "with it." (Remember in the end it's a young boy who sort of "sees through" the tailor's scam. )
WE FIND THAT the same principle can be applied to some of our current events. This business of the Chicago Police Department's being charged with the serious defect of institutionalized racism, inability to relate to the communities they patrol and providing under-service to same would properly be cited as classic examples of modern day counterparts of that story of the invisible duds. In all fairness, we cannot just limit this broad based criticism of police departments to Chicago. Over the past 4 or 5 years, the Justice Department of the Obama Administration has made such charges in many communities, wherever there was civil unrest. Under Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Police Departments in Ferguson, MO., Baltimore, MD. and New York City (Staten Island), NY. have all been so maligned.
IT SEEMS THAT each of these instances ultimately ends up with condemnation of the local police, recommendations from the Feds, proposals of "new" training for the cops and the broadening of recruiting of cop candidates. They appear to ignore the present minority and female representations that have been in place for some years. In reality, the sum total of all these actions by the Obama Justice Department was nothing less than a move to take over local police departments and federalize all police work.
RATHER THAN HAVING the police department used as a political football, let's face up to the truths. It is the job of the cops to deal with both the lawless behavior of some and at the same time, guarantee the rights of all. Police departments do know how to handle these situations from experience. Why do the pols continually put the blame for these civil disruptions on those who are charged with the task of doing something about it? Do they also blame Firemen for fires, water departments for drought, etc.? It makes about as much sense.
NOW IN GETTING back to our original premise, why don't our elected "leaders" stop giving into these coalitions of radicals, career criminals and quasi-religious privateers and indeed "....detect the obvious". Namely, let the police do their job and try backing them up while you're at it! Remember, all of the rest of the (law abiding) population also votes and deserves better than they're getting! Can't these folks see that?
DAMN, WHERE'S THAT boy from "The Emperor's New Clothes" when you need him?
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John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident.