Chicago gangs and Libyan terrorism

Reuters

A casket holding the body of Hadiya Pendleton is moved to a hearse after her funeral in Chicago, February 9, 2013. Pendleton, 15, was fatally shot on Jan. 29 as she and her friends shielded themselves from rain under a canopy in a Chicago park in what police say was a case of mistaken identity in a gang turf war.

This post is a response to an article by Kevin D. Williamson, "Gangsterville," written for the February 25 edition of National Review. 

Kevin’s piece on the homepage about uncontrolled gang violence in Chicago is a devastating indictment of just about every shibboleth attached to liberal governance today. Growing up in Chicagoland in the 1970s and early 1980s, we’d regularly see the Cabrini-Green projects from a distance on our way downtown. Only when I was a teenager driving on my own was I foolish enough to drive through them — once. Never made that mistake again (think Joel Goodsen encountering Guido the Pimp, but without the women or Winnetka address, just the naiveté). Cabrini-Green exerted such a morbid fascination on our young imaginations that I remember drawing a comic book guide entitled “Mugging the Cabrini-Green Way.”

One thing Kevin didn’t mention in his excellent story was that Jeff Fort, co-founder of the Black P. Stones Nation gang and its even more violent El Rukn faction, was convicted in 1987 for “conspiring to acquire $2.5 million from Libya in exchange for their offer to commit terrorist acts in the United States,” as the New York Times reported. A thug street gang leader, already in prison on narcotics charges, sent his emissaries to hobnob with Muammar Qaddafi’s agents, offering to blow up U.S. planes and buildings for $2.5 million. This was years before Osama bin Laden, when Qaddafi was Terrorist Bad Guy No. 1 even after Ronald Reagan had bombed his tent. 

Chicago gangs had class then, trying to move up into the big leagues of global terrorism. Now, they just kill teenage girls in parks. On the other hand, if Qaddafi had done his due diligence, he’d have found that Fort’s gang had hoodwinked the gullible Ford Foundation (world’s largest at the time) and other philanthropic giants into donating funds to the Black P. Stone Nation’s “political organization,” which promised to give gang members job skills (garroting and shooting, no doubt). So, there was probably little danger of Fort actually holding up his end of the bargain to commit domestic terrorism. Not just a gangster, he was a con man, violently sociopathic to be sure, all the way through. He must have laughed all the way to the bank, before prison. Too bad he didn’t take up Richard Nixon’s invitation to the 1969 Inaugural Ball. That would have garnered some great photographs for the archives. 

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Michael
Auslin
  • Michael Auslin is a resident scholar and the director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Asian regional security and political issues.


    Before joining AEI, he was an associate professor of history at Yale University. A prolific writer, Auslin is a biweekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal Asia, which is distributed globally on wsj.com. His longer writings include the book “Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations” (Harvard University Press, 2011) and the study “Security in the Indo-Pacific Commons: Toward a Regional Strategy” (AEI Press, 2010). He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, and a Fulbright and Japan Foundation Scholar.


    Auslin has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.A. from Indiana University at Bloomington, and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.


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