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Happy New Year everyone! We have returned to the Land Of Logan for more hijinks and fury after a delightfuly debauched and epically fattening sojourn in Paris. Oh the things we saw! Oh the stories I have to tell! Oh the panicky warnings from everyone we know to NOT SAY ON THE INTERWEBS that we’re not in our house until AFTER we return. (P.S. We were in Paris. Surprise!)

But before I get to all the good stuff, let’s get a little business out of the way. Namely – public safety. As you probably know by now, I am quite obsessed with public safety – after all, I don’t just decide to hate Pawn Shops and watery sinkholes (for example) because they offend my Aesthetic Requirements. They do… but that’s not the *only* reason. I am obsessed with ability of every woman, tiny child, elderly granny, and regular healthy citizen to get through their day without being unduly targeted for disaster and pain by evil predators/great stupidity. And THAT’S called public safety – the ability of even the most vulnerable to get by fair and square.

 So the news I met upon my return to Normal Life this morning was HIDEOUS. Have a look and tell me you don’t agree. That’s two blocks from our old apartment – we’re very familiar with the location, and with the crowd that is trying to ruin those events. Which crowd? The drug-dealers who target the attendees at an all-ages event; the creepy, loser-y guys in their 20’s (and beyond) trolling for teenage girls – let’s be clear about who I blame here. It’s not the kids attending. It’s not the people working for Congress Theater – they have their hands full just keeping that gorgeous old wreck from burning down on the slowest of days. (I’ve heard some back-and-forth from another Neighborhood Association about “trouble with the Congress Theater” – let’s be very clear that the Congress is a delightful thing to have – for instance, Yay! Farmer’s Market! Viva Architecture! – it’s just that all good things become lightning rods for one kind of trouble or another. We don’t live in DisneyLand, you know. Which is a relief, because the Magic Kingdom is THICK with pedophiles. Yeah. I know. Sorry. Did you have your coffee yet? You’ll need more.)

 Furthermore, let’s look at this story from earlier in the week. It’s pretty clear that the Congress Theater employees are not only sticklers for proper ID (imagine the hue and cry if they hadn’t been, and something happened to an attendee after the concert? We’d be all over The Congress like ugly on an ape – yet we give them no credit for sticking to the letter of the law here) AND the employees working the door then kept an eye on the girl as she crossed the street, waited alone in a restaurant, and then walked away with a group of boys, AND WERE THE ONLY REASON POLICE CAUGHT THREE OF THE SUPPOSED ATTACKERS.

That was in all caps, and I’m not a bit sorry. That’s a job well done for a guy who probably makes a pittance at his, what? Second or third job? As far as neighbors go: kudos to you, my friend. My only complaint is that there aren’t more of you patrolling the neighborhood. Which could use it, because:
a) Our already overworked Police can’t babysit a concert venue on New Year’s Eve – or really any weekend night;
b) The “element” attracted to these events, if not actually attending them, is the orc-like horde that is the bane of home-owners’ and renters’ existence down on streets like Campbell and Maplewood – and I know from experience, they bring their medieval shenanigans all the way down the alley by Medill and beyond – specifically to escape the notice of the police. Usually travelling by car, and apparently (based on a few incidents we actually helped to alert police) specifically to sell drugs on the block by Congress… A situation pretty much EVERY PERSON in that neighborhood is VERY familiar with. For fear of losing my life savings of $28.52 in a lawsuit brought by the business in question: YOU know…. THAT place. As long as THAT place is in business, happy concert-goers at Congress walk through a very disturbing gauntlet to their car or train.
c) Best of times, worst of times: speaking as a former teenage female, I can testify that it was ALWAYS hunting season on the young and hopeful. If you don’t like the idea of young women living as prisoners in a society that can no longer protect them, get off your ass and start patrolling your own streets – and BE the society that WILL. Because for every link in the chain of events leading to her attack, there’s something YOU did at 16, 18, maybe 25 that could have ended the same way or worse… the fact that it didn’t doesn’t make you a genius. It makes you Lucky.
d) Whose streets? I said: WHOSE STREETS? Cause right now… it doesn’t sound like it’s Your Street. Is it?

There will be a vigil in front of the Congress Theater on Monday, January 9th at 5:30 pm. The victim has apparently regained consciousness and gone home – which as we all know is just the beginning of a long road of healing, but it’s great news just the same. Still, I’d like her and her family – and the sadistic creatures that did this – to know: just because it happened here doesn’t mean we’re “OK” with it. We’re FURIOUS. WE WILL STOP THIS. And this will never happen *here* again… Check out more about the vigil, and the wonderful group organizing it, here at Rape Victim Advocates.

So… that’s my thought on this. What are yours? The blog will return – with gusto, even! – with more nonsense later – please pass along the news of the vigil, and let’s start talking about how we can make Logan Square safer – safer than even, well, DisneyLand. (Sorry! I just can’t stop thinking about it! My theoretical children will be sent to a convent in the Alps until they’re 30, at this rate… ) There is a way to make our neighborhood better that doesn’t cost a dime. It will involve EVERYONE, however. Let’s start hearing some ideas.

And… Travel bloggery bonanza soon to come!!