It ain’t the Olympics, but at least some of the world is coming to Chicago this up and coming week for the NATO summit. President Obama was kind enough to pull the G-8 summit out of Chicago knowing that Chicago would descend into something reminiscent of H.G. Welles Morlock and Eloi civilizations, but this NATO summit thing should prove to be some of the biggest protests the city has seen since the 1968 convention.
If you are planning to come to Chicago for your protesting needs, here are a few things to consider.
1. While most police departments are ashamed of their darker history, the 1968 Democratic Conventions is viewed by the CPD as a mark of pride.
Then Mayor Daley gave “shoot-to-kill” orders for anyone found holding a cocktail. A few hours later this was clarified to be a “molotov cocktail” (good thing this was the morning and not happy hour). The repeated beating of hippies is something that the current police officers hear the older and retired officers wax rhapsodically about, and wonder if a bunch of no-good hippies or hippy-like entities will invade the city. This could be their chance. Unlike LA where the police are worried about being caught on video tape, there is a good chance the police will have relatives videotaping beatings to be shown at future retirement parties. This isn’t Europe … the police are here to look out for the rights of the citizens, not the anarchists. Doing stupid shit is equivalent to having a legal affidavit saying “please beat me until I ask for death” … and the CPD will likely oblige.
2. Don’t believe the law that forbids Chicagoans to own handguns.
First off, Chicago has plenty of gang bangers and their affiliates who are armed with everything from shivs to automatic weapons with armor piercing rounds. Normally, they need to be careful because shooting up the neighborhood usually involves cops arriving to drag away a few of their wannabe friends to an interrogation room where they are asked questions while playing Mike Tyson’s Super Punch Out without the video game controllers for a few hours. The gang bangers know you don’t shoot at cops, because their turf will be invaded and salted. On the other hand, shooting at European anarchists who wonder into their neighborhood might get them a medal from the Chief of Police … not to mention they won’t be crazy about the increased police presence … so keep in mind that there are plenty of armed citizens with plenty of motivation to shoot at the visitors.
Then there are the law abiding citizens who hold several thousand unregistered firearms for self-defense … you won’t have to worry about them unless you start firebombing the local grocer or peeing on their lawn (note: feel free to pee all over Wrigleyville, they are all used to it). However, there are plenty of cases of lawbreakers mysteriously getting shot on private property while committing a crime, and no gun ever turning up while the owner of said property sits around shrugging and hoping that the gunpowder residue can get washed off the walls of the sniper’s nest he built next to the master bedroom. Stay off the private property, and out of the gang strongholds … you should be OK.
3. No one here really cares about your politics.
Whether you are far right wing fascists, far left wing anarchists, Occupy Wall Street, anti-war protesters, or the committee to get Joe Jackson elected to the Hall of Fame, you are going to find limited support in Chicago. Politically, Chicago is a strange place. Sure, it is a Democratic stranglehold, and you won’t find a Republican until you get to DuPage County, but Chicago is also a pragmatic city … it isn’t as far left as, say, San Francisco, but their nose isn’t held up in the air for all to sneer at like New York. Chicagoans tend to be distrustful of outsiders showing up to either complain or promise the latest in snake oil to cure what ails you. I you think you are coming to raise an army and change teh hearts and minds of the world, I recommend you try another city.
In short, we are happy you have chosen to come and stay in our hotels and eat at our whole grain family markets … but that aside, your welcome in this town is limited,and you should be careful to not let any doors hit your buttocks on the way out.