Friday, January 30, 2009

The Bag in the Sidewalk

With the dog comes the walks.  I get a unique vantage point as a dog owner viewing the minority who refuse to use a bag.  The most visible is in the minority and he is one.  All he has to do is ask for a bag.  He seems clueless and does not know or want to know about the dog doo Ordinance.  I am sure that there are others.  However, at about 9:09 pm, I observed a black duffle bag.

The bag was left in the middle of the sidewalk.  I don't see too many people leave bags in the sidewalk.  This is a first for me on our block.  At first, I was puzzled.  I looked for someone to pick it up.  Then my mind began to get a bit concerned, albeit moderately.  

People were passing and ignoring the bag.  A family of four walked right by with little children.  I have seen one domestic disturbance at a different address, but the condominium was the sight of a foreclosure and distressed auction sale.  Who could have left the bag and why?

For those of us with memories of 1996, we don't really want to relive them on our block.  It was lousy enough that someone had a heart attack and died.  No chances were taken.  A call was made.  Within 12 minutes police arrived.  

Police cavalierly picked up the bag and opened.  Contents: blankets.  Investigation closed: lost bag inventoried.  Happy ending except for the owner

Monday, January 05, 2009

To the Man on the Street about the Morse "L" Attack

To Man on the Streets among other frustrated residents:

Most of us don't see much crime in our neighborhoods. We may see someone involved in an arguable drug deal, an open beer bottle, and the perpetual trash. We may see someone flash a gang sign and evoke anger. Perhaps, we experience little else other than never ending dog crap on our grass. We may find that the local apartment building lacks reasonable maintanence or some event happened while we were gone at work. Most of us are non-confrontational. We respect people's space, even if others have yet to learn how to respect our space.

If we approach the belligerent, then we risk misunderstandings. Some are 'hard of hearing' or simply 'want to hardly hear.' Diplomacy is a tender art best left to the experts. Whatever the issue, the Morse Street "L" seems like a textbook example of what not to do at 3:30 a.m. on New Years Eve based upon the blogs! Nevertheless, I sympathesize with the victims. Anyone can become frustrated and vulnerable after work at 3:30 a.m.

Some appear confused about when the crime was committed. A crime must be quickly defined and geographically pinpointed for 911 to get Police to react fast! The Morse "L" event escalated into an aggravated battery; the subjects committed the attack on CTA Property. See 720 ILCS 12-4(b)(9). However, perceived crimes were in progress before the victim ever reached the turnstyle.

It seems, in hindsight, unwise to report the crime until after there was physical confrontation. Perhaps, the victim should have reported the "assault in progress." Unfortunately, a decision was made to confront. The law requires a victim to back away from crimes in progress (assault, mob action, and trespass). Otherwise, a victim can become the offender. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but ponder these thoughts.

The victim 'may' have had other options. I am unaware that there was a report of "assault, mob action, and trespass in progress" before the Morse "L" confrontation. A criminal 'assault' is an event that puts the victim in 'reasonable apprehension' of 'receiving a battery. That is, reasonable fear of future bodily harm. Activity of an insulting 'or' provoking nature, such as confinement or restraint is often criminal, as well. See 720 ILCS 5/12-1(a), 5/12-3 and related law. Either crime, among others, are punishable by a maximum of less than one year of imprisonment. 730 ILCS 5/5-8-3.

A call to 911 for 'mob action, assault or battery in progress' should get immediate attention. Why approach the CTA turnstyle, when someone is committing a crime? Just report it! Unfortunately, the victim is made to appear 'unintimidated' in blog reports. The victim's alleged state of mind seems 'unreasonable' to me in hindsight. In approaching, he put himself and others at risk and escalated the incident. He 'might' have been arrested, as well, but the suspects fled, which is an arguable admission of their guilt. See 720 ILCS 5/12-4(a) and 12-4(b)(9). Perhaps, there were grounds to charge the suspects for a hate crime, if caught, but this is unclear from the blog reports.

Of course, if any suspect is ever arrested and arraigned as a defendant, then the judge or jury makes the final ruling. Locals have a right to pack the courtroom, do research, and provide morale. Residents can send advance information to the appropriate Assistant States Attorney ["ASA"], States Attorney Unit, or news agency. This is particularly helpful, when there is evidence of the accused defendants' propensities to repeatedly commit attacks. There is a place to research a defendant's record, if arraigned. Go to the 10th Floor of the Daley Center, if you want to 'mine data,' but beware, an arrest is not a conviction and neither is an indictment. Also, dragnets can happen. Ultimately, the ASA must prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and may dismiss a case.

When someone prevents passage through intimidation and looks like they won't let a passenger take the train, then a victim must decide whether it is menacing and thus 'an assault in progress.' Most reasonable people find it innappropriate to physically bar passage to a CTA turnstyle. When faced with an assault, you should report it to 911. An "assault in progress" should evoke immediate action by CPD. The alleged confrontation resulted after there was a 'reasonable apprehension' of receiving physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. See Battery 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2).

Of course, an Assistant States Attorney will make the final decision on whether to prosecute, as well. That said, a court can impose or revoke conditional discharge, supervision, or a suspended sentence. See 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3. This may depend upon whether the offender was provoked, etc. These are known as mitigating factors. Some mitigating factors may mean zilch to a Court as a matter of discretion. Also, there can be aggravating factors, such as a possible secondary charge of Mob Action (720 ILCS 5/ , among other grounds for arrest. The law requires a victim to avoid confrontation; otherwise, the victim can be deemed an aggressor and be charged for a battery, as well, as a matter of discretion.

My morals on the alleged Morse "L" incident: Two options: (1) carry a cell phone and call a taxi from Glenwood Tap, or (2) Call 911, repeat (if necessary), and wait for Police to arrive and clear the area. Let Police know where you are. Encourage them to provide safe passage onto the red line. There may be other options "man on the street." If we don't use them, we lose them, among other things.

Disclaimer: the above is general information not meant to be legal advice. Every circumstance requires a reasonable reaction based upon experience. For more information, attend your Beat meetings and seek assistance, when provided, from those who professionally teach others to avoid being a victim. Some crimes take two parties. Other crimes are difficult to punish due to demands placed on law enforcement. Don't turn yourself into a victim.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dog Days of Winter; MacArthur Returns, Crap Abounds.

The lack of posting can come for a number of reasons. I don't like to promote my traveling for a variety of reasons. We cashed in years of frequent flyer miles months ago. As a result, we took the indirect route to LAX via Nola for those who know LA. We arrived to experience the wrath of graffiti in Malibu and Oxnard California, among other CA locales. That was an awakening! No graffiti blasters there!

Man, what an education! Craig should travel down PCH and experience the situation on the ground. I understand that Malibu has its share of drug rehabs, as well. Of course, with a view that incredible, who has time to view the chicken scratch, among other things? I wonder if those in rehab reside at Malibu by day and head south to Venice Beach by breakfast? Of course, there is a Phoenix House right on the Venice Beach strip, as well. The belief is to immerse the rehabilitated right back into the crap that got them into their mess. Yet, life is a bit more optimistic over on Oxnard Boulevard!

Upon return from LAX via O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, I stepped into mother earth and the debatable German Shepard's crap from the apartment dweller at 7333 North. Yes, I speculate based upon the size and past observations. That dog owner never seems to have a bag with him and moves his dog from squat to squat without a thought. Yes, home sweet home. I must learn to make light of the few folks raging about old news that took place before I left. Well, at least there is one arrest and a second one with an APB. Why dwell on the loss and sit on our hands?

Recent Outbursts - A Rap on Rogers Park's Poor Grammar

What amuses me is the creative license that all of us take, some more than others, to mangle written English. Why contort words and sentences into a condition that suggests ignorance? Why should a writer display raging pride in their poor dicta? When is ignorance considered brilliance? I suppose when it makes a recording artist money. Frankly, All others need not apply unless they need the negative attention!

Of course, I must assume that a few of the pseudonyms posted on blogs like the Broken Heart come from those who post as individuals in good faith. Hopefully, we lack the sort of 'Sybil Dorset' multiple personality type that enjoys messing with the minds of those who respond! Is there a Flora Shreiber in the house? Craig, can I safely assume that Jammo, et. al are not you, Westgard, or Mannis, among others. Are personalities presented in an effort to envision some sort of opposing viewpoint? Revolution for the hell of it?

Why should poor English skills seem acceptable to anyone? I suppose that sort of display attracts negative attention. Also, it encourages unneeded defensive rage. Who wants to hire someone with such poor grammar? Perhaps, there is a niche, but most would rather hire someone who can speak a language, even if it is reasonably fluent Spanish.

Of course, 'rap' or 'slang' has always been in vogue among the radical chic who can cash in on it. Yet, in the last two decades it seems like some kids want to perpetually "dummy down" their grammar. At times, it may appear to some like a psychotic display. I suppose that some must create a cryptic code to share with an 'in crowd,' but the average joe thinks they may be on some other juice!

Again, it is one thing to publish a book or record an album that uses rap to commercially capitalize on a trend. Also, those who are less educated from the Bayou must express themselves in any way possible. However, those who have access to an education should not blatantly ignore the training. There is nothing prejudice or racist about expressing the above. There should be no pride in ignorance.

However, using words like "white" and "black," rather than French (e.g. Spanish, English, etc) or African (e.g. Ethiopian, Filipino, Jamaican, Antiguan, Cuban, Brazilian, Somalian, etc.) seems a bit racially motivated upon either complexion. Life is not that simple. Racists are not limited to those with less melanine. Bigots are of all complexions, purported faiths, and nationalities. However, all of us has a red tongue, so I suppose that we have to stick it out every once in a while.

Death is universal and heaven is an unreasonable substitute.

It is okay to contemplate, we are all capable of making ignorant inferences and statements, but live and let live.