Father Michael Pfleger loves the spotlight. The Windy City anti-gun priest has earned his reputation for hot air and left-wing social justice work. Along those lines, he plans a Saturday morning protest to disrupt Chicago-area holiday weekend commuters by shutting down the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/I-94).
Alienating apolitical motorists will never win them over to your cause. But don’t tell the attention-seeking “priest” that. In the words of Napoleon, “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
The leftist activist priest claims to support peace but sometimes encourages violence. Especially when it comes to law-abiding gun owners. However in Illinois, good guy gun owners have frequently pushed back, blunting the effectiveness of Pfleger’s camera-ready antics.
So now, the pastor wants to block traffic on an Interstate to force a dialogue between his followers and political leaders. Really. In effect, for their protest, they want to hold commuters hostage.
In a show of defiance Tuesday, activist and South Side Catholic priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others ripped up a statement from Illinois State Police warning of arrests if they moved forward with an anti-violence march that will shut down a portion of the Dan Ryan Expressway this weekend
“When people keep ignoring you, you take it up a notch, and we are moving to one of the main arteries in the city to say we are not going to have business as usual,” Pfleger said during a morning news conference. “We are going to continue to take it up a notch until we get responses.”…
Just like taking hostages in a bank robbery, holding commuters hostage will guarantee a response from authorities.
At the same time, the Catholic priest clearly knows how to play the media. He provided the reporters some high drama by tearing up the warning he received from the Illinois State Police. Then Pfleger had an innocent 15-year-old girl deliver his demands for him.
Rieonna Holmon, 15, said she and others are demanding to meet with Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other elected officials — along with those running for office — to discuss solutions to gun violence.
“You can’t keep saying it’s just gang violence because at the end of the day it’s still gun violence,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s still innocent human beings dying because of a stray bullet.”
The group gathered Tuesday morning at St. Sabina Catholic Church, where Pfleger is pastor, wants elected officials to work to provide better jobs and better schools on the city’s South and West sides, pockets of which are plagued by violence.
Regardless of the wisdom of a 15-year-old, gang violence remains gang violence. In spite of the teen’s claims, we know guns don’t cause violence any more than spoons cause obesity. Naive adolescent teenagers may not know better. Especially in a city where barely one in four school students can read at grade level.
Meanwhile, the Illinois State Police have said they will not tolerate any protest shutting down Interstates. Also from the Tribune.
At an unrelated news conference Tuesday morning, Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz said his officers plan to physically prevent people from walking onto the Dan Ryan. The agency has jurisdiction over the expressway.
“We’re not looking to arrest people. I mean if people break the law, we may have to arrest people. But that’s not what our goal is here,” he said. “That’s not our goal. Our goal is to save lives whether it be the young children or people in the city or motorists. We just don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Time will tell if the Illinois State Police keep the Dan Ryan Expressway open. It all depends upon the turnout of people willing to face arrest. And how many media outlets show up to record Pfleger’s attempt to foment chaos and anarchy.