Locusts Descend, Loot and Plunder Downtown Chicago — Again

For the second time this summer, organized bands of thugs set upon downtown Chicago, pillaging the neighborhoods that make up the heart of the city.

Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020
Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020

The first time was May 30th, during the initial wave of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Back then, while Chicago Police were busy with legitimate protesters, organized gangs of criminals hit The Loop, North Michigan Avenue, and adjacent shopping streets, smashing stores and hauling away brand-name merchandise by the gross.

While this was happening, terrified residents could only hide in their apartments and listen to their neighborhoods being destroyed by these thugs, as pleas for help to Chicago Police went unanswered for hours. Many of those residents, already suffering after months of unemployment because of the COVID-19 quarantine, found themselves without jobs as the businesses where they worked closed for repairs, or for good.

According to Chicago Police, this morning’s crime wave wasn’t the result of anger spawned by a legitimate protest. Instead simply a bunch of opportunistic hoodlums who thought that the police would be tied up with a shooting on the South Side long enough for them to fill their cars with stolen goods.

Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020
Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020

Some aldermen blame the looting in The Loop, the South Loop, Streeterville, the Gold Coast, Old Town, and Lincoln Park on a lack of prosecution of the criminals from the previous raid.

Police blame misinformation spread on social media. Specifically, there were thousands of messages sent claiming that Chicago Police shot and killed a child. The truth is that Chicago Police shot a 20-year-old man armed with a gun who shot at police. The police returned fire. But nobody cares about the truth on social media.

  • Chicago Police state that this appeared to be an organized raid on the city’s downtown, with a caravan of cars that staged on the South Side, then rolled en masse to loot the central business district.
  • The looters were organized. There are multiple reports of people at the stores loading up lines of cars and even U-Hauls with stolen merchandise in shifts.
  • The thugs were brazen. Police and media witnesses say that the criminals were not afraid of being caught. Some were seen leisurely trying on ill-gotten clothing in the stores as they were being looted.
  • The thugs were in it for the money, not for justice of any kind. Unlike the chaotic looting that comes with a riot, these thieves seemed to have shopping lists — picking certain brands clean, while leaving other merchandise untouched. Or specifically stealing individual high-value items, while passing over easier-to-get offerings.
Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020
Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020

The last time this happened, I got a lot of four-letter e-mails from people who defended the bandits as aggrieved protesters. Many of them accused me of being racist for posting pictures of the damage done by these dirtbags, while ironically hurling racist invectives at me. But there are certain indisputable facts at play here.

  • These weren’t protesters. Protesters don’t use vehicles as battering rams to smash open the Chanel store.
  • These weren’t people seeking justice. Justice can’t be found inside a looted Apple store.
  • These weren’t people rebelling against poverty. You don’t feed your family with an armload of Burberry cardigans.
  • This wasn’t about Chicago police. A Gucci purse didn’t shoot anyone on 57th Street.

I expect to get a lot of angry messages about this article, too. So when you flame me, look at the pictures in this post and explain to me how exactly those actions will bring about justice, end poverty, and foster racial equality.

This isn’t about race. It’s about right and wrong. If you don’t understand that what happened this morning was wrong, then you’re just broken.

And before you start calling me a “fat white fuck” again, note that I am the correct weight for my height, and that my body mass index is with the “normal” range. Flame on.

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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11 Comments

  1. I suggest you discuss some of the reasons for the racial disparities that drive such behavior, it would be a good starting point for improving the situation instead of dehumanizing and perpetuating racial stereotypes as you acknowledge that you do.

    • Editor

      I don’t recall acknowledging that i perpetuate racial stereotypes. I even re-read the article and don’t see that in there. I acknowledged that other people have accused me, wrongly, of racism. But you are making false statements.

      As for inequality, I agree it exists and it is a serious problem in our nation. However, that is a strawman argument, which deflects from the actual problem here. Looting is wrong. There’s no way around that.

      Everyone from Mayor Lightfoot to Kim Foxx to a number of South Side community leaders have denounced what happened as not related to any kind of protest, but an organized criminal activity.

      I agree with them. And I also also with Martin Luther King when he said, “I will never change in my basic idea that non-violence is the most potent weapon available.”

      • Remember when you referred to COVID-19 as the China Virus?

        • Editor

          No, I don’t. I remember calling it the “Wuhan Flu,” but I never called it “the China Virus.” You’re imagining things.

          Since you seem to be under the impression that “China Virus” is racist, it’s not. China isn’t a race. Wuhan isn’t a race, either.

          “Wuhan flu” isn’t any more racist than “Spanish Flu” or “Chicago overcoat.”

          I actually picked up the phrase from a woman I’ve known for decades who lives in Kowloon. Since you’re low on information, I’ll explain to you that Kowloon is in China.

        • Can’t wait to read developmentfan1466’s reply!!!

          Don’t let us down, bud, we’re all waiting to see where you move the goalpost.

  2. This is bound to happen again unless the city,police, and residents in these areas start standing up for themselves. Lightfoot can talk tough all she wants but she’s all mouth and no bite at this point. She’s also f**ing stubborn and refuses to accept outside help. At this point, we need tanks and soldiers on the ground. Bodies will need to start dropping for this crap to end. It’s pretty pathetic to see armed police officers just standing there watching all the looting go down. What’s the f**ing point of being armed or even being there at all if you’re just going to do anything to stop the madness? It’s up to the residents to defend their neighborhoods from these wild animals instead of hiding in their homes. And yes, I said wild animals as that’s exactly how they are behaving. Forget the PC bullsh*t. I read an article in the Sun-Times earlier today where BLM basically said this is bound to happen again unless some random unspecified demands are met. That article sounded like a threat to me. I suggest residents arm themselves and start defending what’s theirs just like the Hispanics did in June.

    • Editor

      I don’t agree with the term “wild animals,” but I believe in your right to speak your mind, and voice your frustration.

  3. A riot is the language of the unheard.

    The point of looting is not that it achieves justice. Rather, it exposes the bias in a society that cares more about insured chanel handbags than the lives of poor minorities.

    Where is the outrage when gun violence plagues poor Brown and Black communities? So long as it is out of sight and out of mind, Gold Coasters do not waste their time. Cabrini-Green is gone and they no longer need to worry. The only people downtown who were at any risk were the doormen at luxury highrises, and what neighborhoods do you think they go home to when their shift ends?

    Looting holds a mirror to society and exposes what people really care about. If you’re outraged by outsiders stealing some Air Jordans from your neighborhood Nike store, maybe you should pause for a minute to consider the outrage that some people feel when cops swoop into their neighborhood and kill their neighbors with impunity.

    It is one thing to deny being racist. It is another to be indifferent to being a member of the class that benefits the most from a historically and currently unjust society. As the Kerner Commission concluded: “What White Americans have never fully understood but what [Black Americans] can never forget is that White society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, White institutions maintain it, and White society condones it.” If you’re content to let entire communities in your city continue to suffer, do not feign outrage when some of that suffering spreads north of the river

    • Editor

      You’re calling the wrong person “indifferent” there, Bub. I work with poor people and minorities every single day in my full-time job. I work for them, I help them, I’m in contact with their kids, and pre-COVID, I’d even hug them sometimes when they needed it. In my personal life, I have given tens of thousands of dollars to charities helping the poor over the last decade. You are making assumptions about me and my lifestyle that are simply wrong. Stereotyping someone is not helpful. You might even call it “racist.”

      I will state again, this week’s looting wasn’t about racism or justice. It was about greed, and stealing things. Mayor Lightfoot thinks the same thing. Here’s her quote from the Sun-Times today: “It’s not opportunistic and spontaneous when you already have U-Haul vans and cargo vans and you come equipped with precision tools to break into stores, to break into safes, to haul off cash registers and when you are coming with arms to fight off the police. … While there absolutely was a layer of opportunistic individuals, this was also organized crime. And we are going to break these crews and these rings and we are gonna bring them to justice. That is what we owe the residents of this city. Period.”

    • Riot == language? What does war, financial insolvency == ?
      If it takes you 4 paragraphs to make a point maybe you need to leave the editorializing to the pros. (lil’ pun 4 ya;] xo)

  4. Totally agree with the Editor. It breaks my heart to see how the city that means so much for so many people is being vandalized. Anyone who witnessed or watched videos of the looting must agree that these were criminals that need to be held accountable. I came to this country 25 years ago with nothing. I learnt the language, worked multiple jobs while studying and am much better off today. If these people want to have a better life, they should get a job and earn a living. I also think the city’s officials are not doing their job. The Mayor should take immediate action to restore order, end criminal activity, and take the lead in creating a plan to forcefully ensure citizen safety going forward. Chicago can and must do better!

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