Monday, May 24, 2010

Day Thirty-Five - It's Hot in the Poor Places Tonight

I'm not going outside... The first heat of the season has settled in on Chicago. Late May now resembles mid-July, and so it shall remain until the end of the week, when the climate allegedly will return to a more customary pattern, just in time for my first trip to Wrigley Field. Friday afternoon can't get here soon enough.

The heat brings forth reminders of summers past in a city that truly becomes alive with activities, cultural experiences, rock concerts, and sporting events. The heat also causes activity of a different sort. Violence, particularly on the city's South and West sides. In a connection nearly so consistent it could be declared science, when the temperatures in Chicago spike, so does violent crime. Last night, nine people were wounded in seven different shootings. This afternoon, a high school student was killed on his way home from school.
In a city that does so many things right in the summer, the corresponding crime often casts a pall over the vibrant Chicago season.

For those of us that live and work in safer neighborhoods, it is easy not to acknowledge the crime and chaos of the city's "poor places" in the summer. We don't have to worry about staying inside as a survival strategy. For those living in the South and West sides, it must not be uncommon to say "I'm not going outside." On nights like last night and tonight, that is undoubtedly a viable course of action as an attempt to ensure safety. I cannot imagine what that must be like... I'm hopeful that things can turn around sooner than later... but I don't know if I'm optimistic.

The inspiration for the picture and title for this entry was drawn from the Wilco record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the song "Poor Places."


  1. Great picture. And a preferable vantage point to Wilco's own YHF cover.

  2. Thanks MPC! I should also note that Chicago officials are saying that violent crime is down so far this year. But if you've seen The Wire, you know what that could mean...