The Chainlink

Edit: Thanks to Peenologist for the Worst Thread Ever crown.

Edit edit: D'oh! he said Worst Possible Thread, not Worst Thread Ever.

7/17: "was Fight with Gabe" removed from subject line for the sake of beauty, privacy, and security.  Representative images added (too bad threads can't have their own custom avatars):



Picked up on OPCC listserv per Bill W; presumably posted today.

I don't know why Active Trans didn't put a warning out about the previous incident mentioned here.


Authored by Tom McGee and posted on the Oak Park Cycle Club facebook page.  :
LAKE STREET WARNING: With the warm weather, and newly added bike lanes on Lake Street, there have been more bike commuters heading into the city...unfortunately, there are some rough neighborhoods people need to cycle through and area street punks see the increase in riders as well.

On my way home from the city to Oak Park last night I was jumped by 2 male teens in an attempt to steal my bike. This occured at Lake & Lavergne. One guy was on the sidewalk, the other hidden behind an L pillar. As I was approaching, I sensed it was bad, but it was too late to react. They came at me from the left and right and pushed me off the bike. I was clipped in and went head first over the handlebars, landing on the right side of my face and shoulder. They did not go for anything but the bike, so when I realized that, I wrestled with them and kept my bike. A motorist stopped to help me, and seeing this they ran.

A number of good samaritans stopped to help me, called 911, and paramedics were on the scene within 10 minutes to get me to the ER. I'm stitched and bumped and bruised, but it could have been a lot worse.

I strongly suggest that riders get the word out to friends who commute, try to ride w/others (there are a number of group rides to/from the loop from what I've heard), and try not to ride too early or too late when other people may not be around to help. 

I've already spoken with John Lankford, Bikeways Campaign Coordinator w/Active Transporation Alliance. He said there was a similar incident on Lake the morning of Bike The Drive. So they are aware of the problem, and will be approaching people @ CDOT and the city to try and address it.

Ride safe,
Tom McGee


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Replies to This Discussion

Humanity redeemed? Thanks Cam, i'll be laughin for awhile. ;-)

O, I literally don't know what kind of point you're trying to make, but speaking just for myself, I'll take the charges of racism and such more seriously when they come from someone who actually lives in the city and has to deal with the shit hole parts of it while getting around town. It's a bit much to have someone simultaneously claiming Chicago is a deadly hellhole and chastising others for pointing out that parts of the city are dangerous.

Hahaha yeah i do! You tell me Cam! :)


Cameron Puetz said:

Wait a minute, did you just cite a thread where you referred to Chicago as the "Murder Capital of the Midwest" while criticizing someone for making negative statements about a neighborhood?


Pot, I'd like to introduce you to my friend kettle.

O said:

In the thread the subject of our cities overall reputation for violence came up.
Dr. Doom asked about my reasoning when making the case that Chicago is fast becoming the Murder Capital of the Midwest in the eyes of many outside the city. After all if you don't live here or have much intimate knowledge about the city it is all one dangerous mass to you. But I think this thread apparently exposed a raw nerve where our cities reputation is concerned.
It puts the lie to the notion that you can point out inadequacies in the safety of an area without tarnishing the reputation of its denizens...

Eric, what exactly do you want? If there's an "ask" in there somewhere, maybe if you just come out and say "this is what I'd like to see happen" you may be pleasantly surprised?

O said:

In the thread the subject of our cities overall reputation for violence came up.
Dr. Doom asked about my reasoning when making the case that Chicago is fast becoming the Murder Capital of the Midwest in the eyes of many outside the city. After all if you don't live here or have much intimate knowledge about the city it is all one dangerous mass to you. But I think this thread apparently exposed a raw nerve where our cities reputation is concerned.
It puts the lie to the notion that you can point out inadequacies in the safety of an area without tarnishing the reputation of its denizens...
O, can you explain this Murder Capital of the Midwest talking point? The FBI reports that there were 430 murders in Chicago last year, 344 in Detroit and 113 in St. Louis. If Chicago were as kill-happy as Detroit there would have been over 1,300 murders here last year. Chicago has lots of murders because it's really, really big, not because it's particularly unsafe (especially if you don't live in a dangerous neighborhood. -- Dr. Doom

I replied as follows:

This article which is covering the current years data might shed some light:

S replied as follows:
Wow, you can not be serious.  I think Tim is right and you're just trolling now.  Your first hint that the article is bogus is that there isn't any byline so no one seems to be willing to take responsibility for the contents of the article.  First, comparing the number of homicides in chicago to the number of soldiers killed in Kabul has no meaning.  Last I checked there isn't any active insurgency in Chicago trying to kill foreign military forces so the situations aren't remotely comparable.  The article doesn't even bother to look at civilian deaths in Kabul or look at populations in Kabul or Chicago to determine per capita rates.  Second, talking about how 100-200 police officers were used to secure a wedding doesn't mean much when one of the attendees is the president of the US and his family.  He could be in a relatively isolated and secure facility like Camp David and his security detail would still be 100-200 or more.

Marcus then followed in this fashion:

Sigh. Let's break down the stats offered by that fine piece of Huff Po journalism...

144 of the 63,500 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan were killed so far this year (2.267 deaths per 1000).

228 of the 2.7 million Chicago residents were killed so far this year (0.084 deaths per 1000).

Thus, US troops in Afghanistan are killed at a rate over 26.8 times greater than that at which Chicagoans are killed.

I call shitty, inflammatory journalism.

I replied with even more examples of the kind of bad press the city is getting:

You may wish to criticize Huff Po but this is the gist of what the folks outside the city are reading. The story was big enough that it made a few other outlets:

Clearly if there is fear monger activity going on it is not by me. Unless of course I am more powerful than Rupert Murdoch and have the power to change the minds of reporters from far flung reaches. What is surprising is that these articles about the city never reached this forum. Either you read some of these and decided to ignore them or what would be worse is that you didn't and were arguing about my characterization of the city as the current Murder Capital of the Midwest out of ignorance.

Either way the genie is out of the bottle for folks who want to come to Chicago. I believe that the two physicians attacked on the Northside a few weeks ago were from China or some other Asian country. That probably got lots of coverage back home and a further black eye for the city.

Every time a forum like this pushes responsibility for something like "flash mob" activity or the supposed vandalization of the brush just south of the new 31st Street Harbor onto the backs of "urban youth" that is in my mind trolling. The burn appears (I went an saw it for myself) to have been a controlled burn. But the original poster let the story drop and never reported back.

Chicago's reputation is fragile with a lot of visitors. The very last thing anyone should be doing is making them feel unwelcome by lambasting the choices they have made in spending money with us in activities like the L.A.T.E. Ride.

You can try and silence me but you cannot unring the bell where media coverage is concerned. Keep in mind that the citations above are only for online printed outlets. This story about Chicago's murder rate for this year was widely covered on the air in both radio and television markets.

I note that there is a very different response on the part of folks who live in more "entitled" areas when they are getting lumped in with the rest of the city. Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer then came in over the top with this gem:

Dearest O, shut up.

Maybe if you demonstrated any sense of restraint we could have a reasonable conversation, but you blew that several rants ago. I understand that you have a concern that our little bike gang threatens everything you hold dear. Yet we do not respect your opinion enough to ever read your inane prattling. So why are you bothering? Perhaps, simply, you are a Troll.

Not a single person attending our fun little event could care less how our actions impact the ATA, FOTP or the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture markets. Why?

Because A) it's not our responsibility, B) many of us don't like tourists and C) only an insane person would think that 20 to 30 people riding around at night could destroy Chicago's image.

Even though you have ruined this topic by acting like a troll I must still thank you. By pissing everyone who read this topic off you have ensured that we will have more people attend the event simply so that we can collectively laugh at you while drinking at the bar.

Cordially in your face-
but still cordially,

Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer!

He even managed to include a graphic of himself as a Counter Troll (evidently my mentioning the problem of our city's violence is considered trolling).
I think a few points have to be made here:
  • If you think that the use of terms like "shit hole" in describing entire sections of the city is not racist or at the very least demeaning to the people who live there, then I suppose you would find the reactions of the thread participants above a bit curious.
  • If the ChainLink is to be a true representation of the Chicago Cycling Community then it needs to serve as more than a sounding board for intolerant bigots, cop haters, anarchists and folks who are generally not involved in making the city a better place in "real terms".
  • Because this is my city (I was born and raised here but live in the suburbs now visiting each weekend because virtually ALL of my family still live in the city limits) I am ashamed at some of the callousness that parades as intellectual discussion. It makes me wonder why such a power vehicle as this forum has to be used for such infantile purposes.
  • People all over the globe who happen to be visiting this site are for better or worse gaining perhaps their only impressions of the city by virtue of the conversations we are holding here on a daily basis. That fact alone should make us a bit more circumspect when we try to speak "openly".
  • But more to the point when folks try to "pushback" as some did in this thread on the raw bigotry and racist tendencies of a few the "Lord of the Flies" effect takes hold. People fall to character assassination and ridicule to somehow defend themselves or deflect criticisms.
I for one am not going to buy your explanation as stated below. I have lived far too long to let someone try to whitewash what is obviously at times a cesspool of critical thought. I only hope that the nightly news takes the time to air some of the raw verbiage present on these forums and includes the names of the thread responders.

Joe Schmoe said:

Corey Brooks is awesome, for sure, but many of us volunteer in our own communities, or nearby communities, and pointing out problems for ourselves as a group (cyclists) with a certain part of town is not the equivalent of painting every person in those areas of town as less than human.  I can do good for people less fortunate than myself, and still alert others to the fact that if you bike down Lake at night, someone might assault you. The same goes for much of the south end of the LFP at night (and certainly some of the north end of it, to be fair).  I will also warn people of dangerous areas of the North Side, and bad intersections/stretches of road all over town.  

Will someone please kill this thread?

As thread starter, I hold the power to close this thread.  What do you offer in return?

At the top of my wishlist:

mike w. said:

Will someone please kill this thread?

It's got more views than a peep show booth in Manhattan! Close what? :)

This is what I would like to see happen:

  • Stop treating the ChainLink as if it were a bathroom wall. In short respect yourselves and others. You however cannot respect yourself if you cannot respect the opinions of others. Using profanity often enough it loses it shock value and becomes as inconsequential as the word "the". Calling people names is akin to the same sort of thing young gang bangers do. They call your Momma a 'Ho and dare you to respond. The verbal equivalent of this goes on here pretty much weekly and frankly it gets tiresome. Everything you write here lingers much beyond the heat of the moment. It becomes an embarrassment to those who are visiting for information and real networking.
  • Stop the cyber-bullying routine. In neighborhoods where the adults fail to take control adolescents take over. They gravitate towards gangs. And in the process they learn to disrespect authority figures and the system. They instead adopt the mores of a different set of authority figures who do not necessarily have their best interests at heart. Kids in high crime areas learn to either avoid the gangs or find themselves swept up into them. That is exactly how this forum is functioning. Couple this with a tendency to have face-to-face encounters revolve around alcohol and you have a very tenuous situation.
  • Be thoughtful in your messages. Too often I read about someone who is belittling another person on this forum for trying to approach a topic using good sentence structure and ordered thinking. There is generally a tendency to ridicule people who are trying to be cogent in their explanations. The point of attack on them is that they are being snooty, when in fact they are hopefully trying to function in an adult fashion. There is no need for anyone to have to rename a thread to warn others than a given individual is there and is being disrespectful of others as if that were "cool".
  • Stop Being Flippant, It Is Not A Sign of Intelligence. Once in a great while a person like Steve Colbert or better yet Jon Stewart comes along and can make you laugh as they hurl zingers at their foes. But these guys are really rare. Most of the Jon Stewart wannabes on this forum are either entering a single word like "giggle" or trying to be ironic when it seldom works.
  • Respect The Forum Community. In areas where lawlessness is rampant it is generally the case that gang members begin to have scorn for non-gangmembers. In fact you can tell who is in the gang because of the "colors" they wear. Girls in high school often are enamored with gang members because these are the guys with cars and money. But gangs are generally dismissive of anybody who is not in their membership. They disrespect the police and the community members as well. It takes men like Rev. Corey Brooks and Father Michael Pfleger to help turn the tide. If they don't stand in the gap then chaos prevails. If the adult members of this forum do not provide pushback this will become exactly what folks like Gabe describe as communities like Woodlawn and Lawndale, a "shit hole".
  • Grow Up. In that thread I cited having to do with the L.A.T.E. Ride Audit one of the respondents probably said more succinctly than anyone else could that their intention was never to grow up. I know it was meant in a flippant and dismissive fashion but that is essentially what has overtaken much of this forum. People who rant about police being abusive and threaten to report them to the Internal Affairs office and then afterwards decide that this probably won't take place. Why, not? If you really and truly had something to report then report it. Otherwise think before you get the forum community into a lather and then wimp out later on. Act on this forum as though your eight your old son or daughter were going to have this forum be part of their school "show and tell". Is what they are likely to read here exactly what you would want them to see? Could you sit through a public hearing while someone was reading your words to the audience and the attendant representatives of the media?

h' said:

Eric, what exactly do you want? If there's an "ask" in there somewhere, maybe if you just come out and say "this is what I'd like to see happen" you may be pleasantly surprised?

OK, thank you.

That's got sort of a Neil Young Old Black look to it. 

I approve.  

h' said:

Is there a Cliff Notes version of the above???



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