On Sunday, early in the morning, a gun battle broke out in front of our house. I find it hard to believe I am writing that, but it is true. We live in a nice neighborhood, with expensive homes and good schools, and yet the Gallaghers were awakened at 3 am to the sound of rapid-fire - it is estimated that 86 shots in total were fired (2 by Chicago Police, the rest by members of two gangs).
This event occurred on the night following TBOX, an 18-hour drunk fest held on Clark Street, run by a promoter and allowed by the City who issues a permit. TBOX is the low point of the year in Wrigleyville. Bad behavior unlike that of Cubs Games or concerts is seen for 24 hours, and it makes it genuinely unpleasant to live her for that day. The sole purpose of the event is binge drinking - not seeing a game or listening to a concert. I have my issues with concerts, but they pale in comparison to TBOX. TBOX sets a tone that inappropriate behavior is condoned, and it stretches our police resources to the breaking point. While you couldn't say the shooting was caused by TBOX, that event certainly was a contributing factor, setting a tone of mayhem and straining already-limited police resources.
Below is an open letter to our Alderman, Tom Tunney, who was elected to represent the residents of the 44th Ward. He has been asleep at the switch, in my opinion, and has yet to react to a massive gun battle in his ward. He allows TBOX to occur annually, putting immense strain on our police officers and local residents. He hasn't responded publicly in any way. His office has a history of ignoring or smothering complaints about crime.
Any resident of and voter in the 44th Ward needs to ask the question: Who does Tom Tunney represent? If he represents residents, what is he doing to improve security and safety in our Community? What is he doing to stop events like TBOX from damaging the fiber of our neighborhood? I hope Ald. Tunney has answers to these questions because we as residents, voters and taxpayers deserve them. If he cannot provide them, then he should resign his seat or voters should support a qualified person to take over the 44th Ward. If he has answers and addresses these problems, if he shows by words and actions that he genuinely cares about not only the businesses but the residents of the 44th Ward, then he has my support.
This email was sent to him directly and his office on 12/14. If I receive a response, I will post it here.
I urge anyone who feels the same way to email or call his office (773.525.6034). If you receive a response, please post it in the comments below.
An Open Letter to Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, Chicago
I emailed your office yesterday morning and have received no response. As I am sure you know, there was a shooting - in front of my house - involving 86 gunshots early Sunday morning (By way of comparison, the legendary gunfight at the OK Coral in the Old West had only 30 shots fired - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunfight_at_the_O.K._Corral).
1) How has your office not made any statement on this? Is your office aware this occurred? Basic politics and PR skill would indicate a statement would be appropriate. Nothing like this has happened in the 44th Ward in the 23 years I’ve lived here.
2) The individual CPD officers I spoke with on Sunday morning were all exhausted due to having to work TBOX all day and deal with the crime spree associated with that event (including criminal sexual assault on down - see http://www.cwbchicago.com/2015/12/tbox-man-charged-with-felony-sexual.html and http://www.cwbchicago.com/2015/12/dancers-crashers-vomit-stupid-cops.html). Clearly either inadequate CPD resources were deployed, or those that were deployed were overwhelmed. Either way, it is unacceptable. Your office not only knew that 40,000 drunks would be descending on the neighborhood, but actually encouraged it by permitting the TBOX event. The CPD response was excellent and the officers incredibly professional, both at 3 am and at 7 am when I spoke with them - but how much can they really do if they are worked that hard? It is interesting that TBOX security seems to have gone off duty around midnight.
3) There is no doubt in my mind that this shooting was related to TBOX. At a minimum, that event suggests a permissiveness of awful behavior - a 18 hour binge drinking event - which damages your neighborhood and sets the tone that allows for events like this shooting. That event should never be issued a permit again. At some point, someone is going to get raped or killed - and a $50K donation to the Police Memorial Fund won’t help that in any way. Further, there are none of the normal neighborhood protection steps in place, at least as far as I can tell. The neighborhood is trashed today; puddles of vomit are being washed away by the rain; and I haven’t seen a single clean-up crew (the Cubs are excellent about cleaning up after games; TBOX either weren’t asked to or didn’t do it). TBOX is fundamentally different than a Cubs game or even a concert - at least there is organized entertainment for both of them, a reason to be in the neighborhood other than binge drinking. TBOX damages the ward and the neighborhood I live in.
I’d like the opportunity to discuss this with you in person, along with several of my neighbors and fellow voters in the 44th Ward. Please advise when a good time to do so would be.
Matthew R. Gallagher