Champaign, IL tackles Chicago-like violence in recent days with a march, prayers and talk against violence. It will take more than this to stop gang violence in the city. Photo by the News-Gazette.

 by John Boch

Chicagoland-style violence is rearing its head in the downstate Illinois community of Champaign once again in recent days for the second time already this summer.

Champaign and its sister city Urbana are home to the University of Illinois.

In two weeks in late May, reports of shootings and shoot-outs came in at an average of more than one a day in a two-week period.

This most recent pair of incidents saw a movie-style car chase and shootout last Monday between two carloads of gang-bangers that sadly saw lots of things perforated except the intended targets.  Well, the the exception of one guy who caught a round in his leg.

Then the next day, in another car chase and shootout, a just-released from prison hoodlum got shot DRT (dead right there) on the infamous Hedge Road – known to locals as Death Row.

The dead man was in prison for…

Wait for it…

Armed robbery.

Mere coincidence, we know.

Would it also surprise you to know that he served less than half of his 11-year sentence and was unleashed, courtesy of Governor Patrick Quinn’s administration, back upon our community in March of this year.

So what does that community (neighborhood or racial, take your pick) do to solve this problem?

Do the law-abiding members, of which there are plenty, arm themselves legally with the tools and steadfast resolve to meet threats of retaliation for identifying the bad actors with threats of their own to use lawful force to repel such attacks?  Nope.

Instead, they hold a march, say prayers and talk about peace.

Peace doesn’t come about as a result of wishful thinking, empty words and symbolic gestures.

Peace comes about through strength and a united front – both in words and meaningful actions – against those who would victimize innocent life.

Until and unless those communities meet the problem of gang violence and the thugs who perpetuate it head on, it will be another long, hot, Chicago-like summer in Champaign, IL – just as it was last year with dozens of shootings reported over a few short weeks.

One of the biggest obstacles police face is the “no snitching” attitudes of many in those communities.  This same attitude is even worse in Chicago and we can see what kind of violence takes place in that city each and every day.

Champaign’s police chief Anthony Cobb has vowed to take back the streets.  I know Chief Cobb and I wouldn’t bet against him 99% of the time.  In this instance, I’m not so sure I’d place my money on him and his department putting a lid on this problem – at least not without the meaningful help of the community in general, and the black community in particular, to root out these troublemakers and put them in prison for many years to come.

Wishful thinking, empty words and symbolic gestures isn’t going to get Champaign where it needs to go.

Dropping a dime on the evil doers identities and specifics of their criminal violence will.  That along with a load of double-ought buckshot if the bad guys stop by to try to intimidate the law-abiding for “snitching” on them.


Chief Cobb vows to take back the streets

CHAMPAIGN (News-Gazette) – Vowing to take control of the city’s streets one night after a man was shot and killed near where children play, Chief Anthony Cobb said Champaign police are dealing with a dangerous new breed of gangs.

“These are not the gangs we were used to seeing in the ’90s, where you had certain street gangs and a hierarchy. We don’t have that here in Champaign,” Cobb told The News-Gazette on Wednesday, blocks from where Allen M. Redding was shot multiple times after a car chase on Hedge Road.

…Police linked Tuesday’s shooting to another less than 24 hours earlier, part of a dispute between two rival gangs. On Monday night, a man was shot in the leg while driving on West White Street.

Two incidents in two nights, following a similar script from the summer of 2013, left residents in the northwest Champaign community both frightened and frustrated.

“Enough is enough! Two summers of having these gangs going roughshod through our community is two summers too many,” said Jamar Johnson, one of 116 people who gathered early Wednesday evening at the Jericho Missionary Baptist Church for what organizers called a Community Prayer for Peace Walk.

4 thoughts on “SYMBOLISM OVER SUBSTANCE: Prayers, walk and wishful thinking to combat gang violence in Champaign, IL”
  1. Too many people in America want things given to them.

    They don’t have a clue that you have to work for things worth having.


  2. Rahm is dealing with his problem by exporting it down state.

    Our leaders can either choose to tolerate it or face it head on. Facing it head on is, of course, much harder and more politically risky – so, I don’t expect much from our leaders.

  3. John, the last line of your commentary was echoed today in the Champaign News-Gazette editorial. Way to be ahead of the curve!

  4. At a talk at EIU a bit back, it was noted that a significant portion of local crime, including a shooting at a rave, are being committed by transplanted Chicago area thugs.

    Of course when that was mentioned, it inevitably generated cries of ‘racism’.

Comments are closed.