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The Chicago Riots, Day One

Content warning: elements photographed for my story below contain profanity and crudeness.

This post has been thoughtfully revised for factual correctness as subsequent investigations confirmed new details.

2020 will be remembered as a dark chapter in American history. Never in many of our lifetimes have we seen lawlessness become so rampant, both with police breaking the law and a host of hurting people, anarchists, and opportunists using such grievous lawlessness as an excuse to commit crimes en masse.

Today I saw democracy morph into anarchy. I saw protesting morph into violence.

As I write I can still hear sirens, honking, fireworks, and intermittent yelling outside my apartment. The tone is tense. It is rumored that the Walgreens and CVS just down the street have been looted. I’ll find out tomorrow morning if my wife’s car survived the rampant vandalism.

Update: it did, thank God! Many people in a much poorer economic state did not have their cars and businesses survive the onslaught, sadly.

This is my photo and video story of what I observed while strolling from the Gold Coast to the Magnificent Mile.

Gold Coast

DOT trucks blocking southbound traffic to Lake Shore Drive
Graffiti in Gold Coast long before the main body of protestors would arrive there
Joe and the Juice vandalized
Policemen in protective gear walking towards The Drake to their next assignment

The Magnificent Mile

Stores being boarded up along the Magnificent Mile
Graffiti. “1312” is an anti-police message.
More anti-police messages
The downtown protestors split into two groups, one that stays near the raised bridge and one that starts walking towards me at Michigan and Ontario
Drone capturing the event above us, and the speck to the lower right of the drone is a chopper also capturing the event

At about this point, the body of protestors is pretty much behind me now. That body mostly comprised of peaceful protestors expressing their beliefs. One of them even gave a homeless man his water bottle.

The more aggressive participants from within the crowd begin to loiter, harassing the police and commencing the looting shortly after they leave.

Foul gestures as police leave to keep with the main group; moments later many of the lingering rioters will plunder this AT&T store
The group of ambulances lined up along one side begin to leave
Anti-police and anti-Facebook messages scrawled on a news van with the passenger window punched out
Trump Tower standing defiantly – still one of the most sleek and modern-looking buildings in Chicago
Police SUV scratched and with the message “they don’t care about us” painted in green graffiti
A firefighter approaches the huddle while cautiously watching the loiterers
Things were crazier on the other side of the raised bridge, according to eyewitness testimonies
“Eat the Rich” and anti-police graffiti on a bank
To the left is a crowd verbally harassing a group of police. Slightly to the right of the light pole is a communist symbol found among the graffiti on the wall.
News chopper meekly peeking from behind a building
Police fixing a tire that rioters damaged
Verbally abusive man riding a tall bike; the business on the right includes the graffiti “an eye for an eye”.

This is around the time the looting began, which I captured while heading for home.

I took my leave, dumbstruck by what I just encountered and impressed by the professional restraint our law enforcement workers had while receiving so much abuse.

They’re people too.

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