‘Accountability” is a word and concept that has been lost of late. We have become the most excuse-filled society that has ever existed. No one is responsible for anything. A place to put the blame can always be found when, in reality, personal responsibility is the major culprit.
Chicago has always had a history of being a violent city. Go back to the 1920s, Al Capone, and Prohibition. Most of us can remember things like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. We’ve seen newsreel footage of men hanging off of cars with machine guns blasting. I grew up hearing the story that one of the reasons Prohibition ended was that a 10-year-old newsboy got shot and killed. That made the politicians of that day feel responsible as they were held accountable. Shortly thereafter, Prohibition was eliminated.
Fast forward almost 100 years, and we can add the daylight, cold-blooded execution of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega, allegedly by a three-peat, armed juvenile delinquent offender, 16-year-old, Emilio Corripio, to the list of child murders to hit this city. Melissa was walking at 26th and Pulaski with her mother when gunfire rang out. And since these shooters never seem to just hit the people they were aiming for, she received two gunshot wounds to the head, most likely killing her instantly.
There has been a slight amount of outrage as her alleged killer has been identified. He, like many others before him, has had convictions with the Juvenile Justice system in the past. And because this society makes excuses, even though Emilio had several carjacking crimes in the past where he used a weapon in the commission of his crimes, he was let out on probation.
Far too many of our young people get involved with the Juvenile Justice system, and the lack of accountability placed on them by that system just gives them another excuse to go out and commit more carnage. Our criminal justice system rarely smacks them with a heavy hand. For a lot of our young criminals, the system is a joke. If a slap on the wrist is going to be their punishment, they can take it. And what happens then? An 8-year-old girl is killed because she had the audacity to walk down the street at 2:45 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon.
If you’re like me, and you’re sick and tired of these politicians playing politics over doing real work, it’s time to replace them. I’m not voting to re-elect any incumbent who has been in office for decades. If at one time our politicians could eliminate Prohibition over the killing of a child, they can pass significant and meaningful legislation when a child loses their life to a habitual juvenile offender. Otherwise, they haven’t done anything to deserve re-election. They give us platitudes and they give us symbolism. When we vote them out of office, we are holding them accountable which is something that is not done often enough.