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Officer down... no big thing

Thor Soderberg was a Chicago Police officer who was just finishing his day of doing his job in the afternoon of July 7th. He got jumped and shot just outside a police facility on the Southside of Chicago by a man who some now say is mentally unstable. They struggled. The man grabbed his gun, shot him in the head and ran away. (Later, he got shot and was captured by police. He turns out to have a lengthy criminal record.)

Many in society have become numb when it comes to a tragedy like this involving a police officer and there are huge consequences when that happens. I guess it’s “no big thing anymore” to many people and it’s just taken with a shrug of the shoulders as the person is more concerned about “more pressing issues” like, “What team did Lebron James choose?”

In Chicago, there have been several police officers shot in the last thirteen months. Besides Soderberq, who was also a US Army veteran: Thomas Wortham IV, also a two-tour veteran of Iraq, was killed off duty by four men as they tried to steal his motorcycle. And Alejandro Valadez, on duty in the middle of a drive-by retaliation.

All were special, not only to their families, but to the community they served.

These people are the last line of defense between you and crime. You should care. A blog comment:
“This is just another needless death in a city where needless death is common.”

It used to be a big thing if someone would kill someone. That was shocking. It was reprehensible. Today? Life is cheap.

Part of society doesn’t care anymore. Their attitude: Get on with what’s really important to me. Who is on the All Star team? Did the Bulls get Lebron James? What are the toys being handed out in Happy Meals? They better not run out this time!!! Is there an App for that?

They are distracted and impressed by “bigger issues” that are incessantly hyped, like who is left on American Idol, Dancing with the Stars or who will get fired by Donald Trump? It is really sad when the journalistic leadership of major television stations think that other stories should be the lead story and oh, by the way, a police officer just got shot.

Are they trying to distract our attention on what is really happening? Are they afraid to comment on the downward vortex of society? Is it like the fall of the Roman Empire where the citizens were more concerned about who was fighting in the Coliseum rather than issues being fought in the political Forum?


There was a very dark anonymous statement on the Chicago Police Department’s unofficial blog ( that I thought was a call to arms:
“No longer can we afford to be the shepherds of society. We must don the hide of the wolf. The flock has become unmanageable and the shepherd lacks teeth. The wolf commands respect and instills fear. Too many shepherds have fallen to the flock. The wolf must even the field.”

Reading this reflects a feeling that the pendulum is about to swing the other way. Did we hit a peak of aggravation erupting in a churning sea of apathy? It’s like someone saying, “you want to play Dodge City?” Let’s play.

The average citizen is getting more concerned about their personal safety and fed up with what they see.

If an armed police officer can get shot in broad daylight right at a police facility, what chance do I have walking out of the train station? Am I a target at an ATM as I pull $200 out?

Some do not want you asking yourself those questions, but unfortunately we have crossed that line. We are living in difficult times and some leaders just offer Hopium. When the economy goes down, crime goes up and whether or not the mainstream media devotes the right amount of coverage to it, the fact is, it’s the REAL reality TV.

One of my readers commented on the draft of this article:
“We have become totally numb to violence. When someone is being assaulted on the street rather than anyone helping the victim, the public watches or takes pictures. They want to record it for their friends, who will be happy to look at it. We, as individuals when it comes to violent crime, are on our own.”


In the last several years, many alternative news sources have sprung up to the distain of the established mainstream media. What they don’t understand is that many people are thirsting for real news and are tired of the slanted stories they have been fed by out-of-touch journalists. They are also tired of what’s become important to the news media to pump up while real issues are either relegated to a short sound bite or not even mentioned at all.

First, a sports story or any other news should not take precedence over a police officer getting shot in the head - ever. I guess it was determined by some news executive that more people want to know all the details of what team Lebron James choose or the latest on Drew Peterson, than to know that a serious incident happened to a police officer.

Second, thousands of blogs and alternative news sites have popped up. Granted, some are not good, some are mediocre, but some have already made a big dent in the readership and viewership of the mainstream media.

It serves the media right. They lost the confidence of their audience to provide an objective view or not prioritizing the killing of a police officer over other stories.

That is so wrong on so many levels, but it appears to be the latest in inept journalism.

CARLINI-ISM: When you get thrown to the wolves, you either become one, or are eaten.

Recent columns by James Carlini

James Carlini a featured editorial contributor for Wisconsin Technology News.

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Copyright 2010 - James Carlini
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.


David Steidinger responded 4 years ago: #1


I see your point on media prioritization, but want to point out that if what I hear and read from the press is true, crime is a lot worse in Chicago than your story posits.
• Some west and south Chicago neighborhoods resemble the zombieland of “I Am Legend” where humans must stay in at night while gangs run rampant.
• Gangsters killed a cop while trying to steal his new motorcycle out from under him. The cop’s father, an ex-cop, was able to shoot several of the thugs but only after his son was killed.
• Police investigating crime scenes are brazenly fired upon by gangsters -- this from Jody Weiss, top cop.
• It is not uncommon to find handguns stashed in parks and under bushes in gang neighborhoods – Fox News report this spring.
• Police ranks have been thinned, desk cops are sent onto the streets. Some police are critical of sending these old ’rookies’ into certain neighborhoods because they are so dangerous [for an armed cop!]. NPR news report last week.
Daley and other fools have enabled a gang culture in Chicago because:
They have disarmed the good citizens. Criminals fear an armed citizen more than a cop, I presume due to the element of surprise and uncertainty.
They have saddled businesses with huge costs and high risks. So, there are not enough opportunities for jobs and normal life.
They have thrown money into the pit of the Chicago school system yet not provided a safe environment. Gangs have taken over, and too few teachers and students can succeed.
The prisons are effectively schools for crime; holding tanks, with revolving doors.
Music and movie culture teaches and reinforces that violence is the most effective way to solve life’s problems.
What to do? Somehow the values of peaceful, working life have to be re-proven as superior to the culture of violence. I think this will take a combination of generations of careful nurturing, and a decisive rooting out of the drug and gang cultures. Both of which politicians have neither the guts nor the patience for. And these are certainly not the news media’s missions.

JAMES CARLINI responded 4 years ago: #2


Thank you for your comments and I think we agree on most points you made rather than disagree.

No one said Chicago is safe and if you go there you should be very aware of what's going on around you. Many people unfamiliar with going into any big city (not just Chicago) have a tendency to be naive.

As for the news media's missions, I think they do have some culpability. Slanted stories or sometimes not even covering stories can make big issues appear trivial or non-existent.

Another Chicago police officer has been shot and killed before this article was even a week old. Harder crime deterrents have to be upheld (we have the laws already - they just need to be enforced by the courts)

We don't have "generations of careful nurturing" left to turn this around. We need to see some real reform like they are seeing in New Jersey.

david steidnger responded 4 years ago: #3

Harder crime deterrents. What would those be?

From what I repeatedly hear:
The bad guys are not afraid of the police.
They rack up mutiple arrests and prison sentences.
There is not enough room in prisons to hold criminals for the time they are sentenced to.
When they come out of jail they are even more dangerous than before.
The death sentence is highly inefficient as it is handled now.

We simply do not have swift and sure justice. How can that be turned around quickly? Or with today's weak political attitudes?

Chuck responded 4 years ago: #4

As a Chicago Police Officer for the past 15 years, I need to say to you: THANKS!

JAMES CARLINI responded 4 years ago: #5

Chuck - The CPD needs to be thanked. (No one knows what you go through on a day's calls and what you encounter.)

To David - Harder crime deterrents? What would those be? Judges who hand out real sentences instead of probation and Asst. States Attorneys doing their job.

The days of coddling people need to cease. The first order of business is to become politically accurate in assessing the situation and not politically correct.

(More to come)

Aloysius K. Heartbreak responded 4 years ago: #6

Scary Fox News anecdotes aside. The number of actual murders yearly in Chicago, while still unacceptably high by any standard, has more or less steadily declined since 1990 and is about half of what it was then. Hysterical much?

Anyone with a memory can tell you what "get tough" is code for. Brazenly excessive arrests and force applied, questionable prosecutions, overcrowding. Start with freeing everyone in jail only on pot charges and then maybe you'll have space for all the actual criminals.

James Carlini responded 4 years ago: #7

Aloysius - I think you better follow their statistics a little more closely. They are playing games with numbers and categorizing crime in different ways.

A murder turns into a death investigation. Four people killed turns into one incident (And one count?)

The best way is to go downtown at night and wonder if you will be mugged by the growing-more-common roving band of young gangbangers.

As far as death totals, as they say - let's wait until the end of the year to look at the actual total.

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