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by Peter Moskos

September 29, 2009

Nasty street fight in Chicago

One 16-year-old high-school honors student student gets sucker-hit with a large piece of wood, then cold cocked, and finally stomped and beaten to death. All this caught on video in front of a large screaming (and sometimes cheering) crowd. Finally some nearby adults carry try and rescue him and carry him away, but it's too late. Derrion Albert died.

Fox has video. The Sun Times reports.

The winner of the latest "Bad Parent Award"? The mother of one of the likely killer saying dismissively, "Gangbangers fight. That's what they do!" Like it's the natural order of things. Darrion, by all accounts, wasn't a gangbanger.

A few days later, in what seems like it could only come from a Monty Python skit:
Some people stood nose-to-nose, arguing over whether the gathering [at the makeshift memorial] should be in memory of Derrion or a protest of the violence that killed him.
Police responded.


IrishPirate said...


At least one mom admits it's her son and is appropriately horrified.

Your "tag" "ghetto culture" reminds me of Gandhi's retort to a question about "Western Civilization".

"What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea."

Needless death is unfortunately a daily occurrence in these neighborhoods across America.

Stilgar said...


I would argue that this kind of violence is in fact the natural order of things. We have civilization because we're able to rise above our natural impulses. If any Rousseaian "back to nature" really want to see what a state of nature looks like, they can try a culture where violence is the obvious and only form of problem-solving.

PCM said...

I'm with you here. I'm a big fan of civilization and cities. No back-to-idilic-nature beliefs from me. I like safety, the rule of law, culture, people, and indoor plumbing. Government has a role in advocating all these things. And an effective government is too often lacking in too many neighborhoods. Police and jails alone do not a civilization make.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh’s G-20 story: Take an expressway from town and disappear into desolate ‘hoods and encounter the civilization of menace. Pittsburgh, a dual city! The glass wonder of PPG Place and/or the G-20 Summit is a faded memory. Here in the ‘hood lives lie abandoned as far as the eye can see.


That is: For the most part, African-American Pittsburgh seems to be invisible, not only to the public relations hucksters who tout Pittsburgh’s successes, but we are equally invisible to the protesters.

Certainly, black Pittsburgh is as proud as anybody in that the black President we worked so hard to elect has selected Pittsburgh as the host of the G-20 Summit. We even enjoy the re-invention of Pittsburgh from a dirty, smoky steel-churning history to the bright, clean, green financial success that the business leaders and politicians boast about so loudly. Nobody is more proud of the Super Bowl winning African-American coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin. But none of that feel-good stuff erases the pain of the stubbornly high unemployment among African American young adults and the staggering dropout rate for young black males from the public school system.