Wednesday, December 1, 2010



There is nothing especially original, or even insightful, about this post, but its points have to be made.

The big story in Chicago the last few days has been the murders of Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk and former CHA Officer Stephen Peters. Both were gunned down in the coldest of blood by convicted felon Timothy Herring while Officer Flisk, an evidence technician and father of four, was investigating the theft of speakers from Officer Peters’ car, which he parked in his mother’s garage on the Southeast Side. Herring, who had stolen the speakers, shot both men after Peters indicated to him that Flisk had lifted a fingerprint from the scene. When Herring discovered that Peters was still moving after being shot in the head, he fired another round into each of the men’s heads to finish them off.

That part of the story is bad enough. In some ways even worse is that Herring was paroled in April after serving half of a six year sentence for a 2007 armed robbery. He was jailed again in July for smoking pot in violation of his parole but was released in September. He was on electronic monitoring when he murdered Officer Flisk and Officer Peters last Friday afternoon.

So there you have it. The police put their lives in considerable danger to catch the bad guys only to have a clearly out of touch with reality penal system put these predators back on the street after a comparative slap on the wrist. To say that this is frustrating for the cop on the beat is to be woefully inadequate with one’s words. One wonders why the cops don’t say a perhaps more scatological equivalent of “Screw it! Why should I put my life on the line so that politicians, judges and parole notables, ever confident in their manifest wisdom and spirit of “compassion,” can put these soulless killers back on the street?” Then to have one of these products of our therapeutic, rehabilitatory penal system kill one of their fellow officers must be the ultimate slap in the cops’ face, again, being inadequate with words. Thank God that these officer continue to do their jobs, despite the Sisyphean nature of their tasks and the lack of support, bordering on constant suspicion, they have received from the top brass, at least in Chicago, over the last few years. Lesser people would just walk away and look for a job that is safer and/or gets more support from those with whom it works.

Clearly, this is an argument not only for more support for our police officers but, more directly, for stiffer sentencing, for realizing that a substantial plurality, if not the majority, of violent street criminals are never going to change their ways and must be permanently taken off the street if the general populace, and those charged with protecting the populace, is to be kept safe. Some will argue that, especially in these times, local and state governments simply don’t have the “resources” to keep those who exist to prey on others off the street. Perhaps, though, if we spent less money trying to rehabilitate the unrehabilitatable, we could build more prisons and keep the never-will-do-wells locked up where they belong…and our cities’ streets, and our officers’ lives, reasonably safe.

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