Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Wake Up Call

I was talking to my insurance agent yesterday and we got to chatting about his daughter.

She's graduating with a degree in journalism and, as you'd expect, no job.

No matter. Her dream is to live in Chicago, in the big city with all its night life and excitement.

Raised in the safety of the suburbs, she longs for some action and a release from the boredom that is found outside of the city limits.

Last Saturday, she had a wake-up call.

Near the corner where she had picked up a friend in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood that evening, two young women were beaten with a baseball bat by a gang-banger because he wanted their cash and credit cards.

Being a stupid gang-banger, he immediately used the credits cards and made calls on stolen cell phones and the police caught him.

Natasha McShane lies in a drug-induced coma while her friend Stacy Jurich is struggling to regain short term memory, balance and the ability to walk.

She thought Bucktown was safe, my friend said of his daughter. I grew up in the city. I know it's not a safe area at all.

The children of suburbia don't walk the streets of Chicago with heads swiveling. They'd never think to look over their shoulder at the slightest sound because it's a foreign concept. Lacking experience, they have no highly tuned radar that hunts for danger. Being young, they have little sense of what danger is waiting for them out there where the lights and bright and the bars are jammed.

The mugger went out that night to find someone to rob, someone easy to victimize. Someone like a petite Irish girl and her giddy American friend. Someone who'd had a drink or two and had let her guard down.

Two young ladies have been seriously injured and the damage done to their brains will mark them for the rest of their lives.

The horror visited on them and their families has served as a wake-up call. Someone else's daughters may be safer now, their eyes opened to the reality of city life, their senses tuned to a higher pitch.

No comments: