Some of the black community’s biggest problems are “unintended consequences” of planned actions. At every level of interaction, little thought is ever given to all of the potential outcomes that could arise from a planned situation.

For example, the quick demolition of public housing. As soon as former Mayor Richard M. Daley knew he could, he began to dismantle public housing. No true concern for where the people would go ever took place even though it was well documented at the time that there wasn’t enough available low-income housing for them. The result has been the destabilization of other neighborhoods that historically have not had the level of crime that currently exists. Sadly, black politicians did not vocalize their concerns (if they even had any) loudly enough. Today, the city of Chicago struggles to deal with the burden of the unintended-consequence problem of what was once a more contained high-crime area that is now present citywide.

Another example of unintended consequences was the decision to arrest gang leaders. The mindset at the time was that they could break up the gangs by eliminating the leaders. The unintended consequences of that action? Without a gang hierarchy in place, rather than eliminate the gangs, the criminal fiefdoms are now everywhere with a multitude of individual criminal posses that are totally out of control.

Back in 2019, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx decided she would not prosecute shoplifting as a felony if the stolen goods’ value was less than $1,000. Instead of the criminal being grateful that they were given a second chance, many, probably bragging a lot through social media, got the word out that those caught stealing wouldn’t be prosecuted. The unintended consequence of that action has been that more people began stealing because they knew they wouldn’t be prosecuted. Another aspect of unintended consequences is that mass mobs of people began swarming into stores to steal.

The list of planned situations that have led to unintended consequences is endless. I gave some major examples, but there is a litany of others that also fall into the category. Electronic home monitoring (individuals still committing crimes while on it); child support (fathers killing their baby’s mama because of the threat of it); carjackings, especially by juveniles (multiple repeat offenders); and on and on.

Our politicians really need to do deeper thinking when they come up with new laws. Every desired outcome is not necessarily a straight “A” through “F” situation. There will be bumps in the road that might lead to XYZ before “F” even becomes part of the picture. Our elected officials always need to ask themselves what all the possible outcomes will be.

“What if” should always be at the top of their agenda when it comes to any issue. I know it’s difficult for them to think outside the box, but they need to at least give it a try.