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Open Letter from former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon:

Today I submitted my resignation, effective immediately, as United States Attorney in Chicago. As I walk out the door, there are a few things I’d like to say.

I am not a political person. I belong to no political party; never have. I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am not a liberal. I am not a conservative. I never found a need or interest in associating myself politically. I have no interest in political office.

For the past three and a half years, I’ve been lucky to be in a position of power as the US Attorney in Chicago. That means I’ve gotten to lead what I think is the best prosecutors’ office and maybe the best public office this country has to offer.

During those three and a half years, by my own choice, I focused my greatest attention on violent crime. I came into office in 2013 not long after Hadiya Pendleton was killed by an errant bullet in a public park. Like most folks, I was horrified and confused by Hadiya’s death and the constant drumbeat of seemingly random deaths of so many others, including kids, on the south and west sides of Chicago.

So I put my head down and I went to work, and I studied. I learned data, numbers, statistics. I picked up each and every aspect of law enforcement’s efforts, task forces, initiatives combating violence — I turned those efforts over and looked at them from every angle. I went into the most violence afflicted neighborhoods and met with families, kids, teachers, clergy, and cops.

I listened. I learned. And all while I worked, best I could, with my colleagues at the USAO to make sure we were continuing to make good federal cases – gang cases, gun cases – that would have an impact on the violence.

At no moment during those three and a half years did the gun violence abate. Every month, every year, innocents died, kids died. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 I showed pictures during speeches I gave – pictures of children, sweet and innocent, and dead from gun fire.

The world changed, or began to change, on the evening of October 20, 2014, when 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was gunned down by a Chicago cop. I spent hundreds of hours over the next years looking at that case and others, investigating what went wrong and why. I focused on not just the shooting officers but also on the other officers and what happened immediately following those shootings.

A year passed before the City released that video. Then within weeks, in late 2015, then CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired, and our DOJ pattern and practice investigation was announced. And then on January 1, 2016, a contract began between CPD and the ACLU requiring that officers complete lengthy contact cards for every street encounter.

That ACLU deal grew out of a law suit about stop and frisk, but the contract that settled the lawsuit swung the pendulum hard in the other direction by telling cops if you (officer) go talk to those kids on the corner, you’re going to have to take 40 minutes to fill out a form, and you’re going to have to give them a receipt with your badge number on it.

So by January 2016, the city was on fire. We had no police superintendent. Cops were under scrutiny. Cops had to worry about the ACLU deal. And many of them just no longer wanted to wear the risk of stopping suspects. Many became scared and demoralized. And that demoralization was compounded by the City panel’s sweeping tone and language around racism and lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.

So cops stopped making stops. And kids started shooting more — because they could, and because the rule of law, law enforcement, had been delegitimized. And that created an atmosphere of chaos.

Today’s gun violence is driven by social media. And a corollary of that is that gun violence has become like a virus. One taunt through Instagram leads to a shooting, which leads to bragging on snapchat or Facebook, which leads to a retaliation shooting, and then the cycle repeats. The virus spreads. So our escalating gun attacks beget more gun attacks, and more people started dying.

The media raised questions and rendered judgments in 24 hour cycles. What’s happening? Why isn’t CPD stopping it? Why is the city so inept? Where is federal law enforcement?

And all the while, so many noble public servants – cops, federal agents, Assistant State’s Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys – they all toiled quietly, fighting hard to stem the violence, with episodic success, and then in their quiet moments struggled with their own sense of frustration and despair.

Today I stand unshackled by the diplomatic constraints of being the U.S. Attorney. My hope and goal is to just speak truth. And the truth is that when it comes to our gun violence problem, there are two things going on — one short term, the other long term.

The long term is that Chicago has an entrenched gang problem in a limited number of neighborhoods on the south and west sides. For decades, those neighborhoods have been neglected.

The reasons for that historic run of neglect are rooted in ugly truths about power, politics, race and racism that are a tragic part of our local and national history and heritage. And as a consequence of those ugly truths, and the neglect they brought, these neighborhoods stand wrought with poverty and inadequate schools, businesses, jobs and infrastructure.

For many growing up in these neighborhoods, there is a sense of hopelessness, a belief cemented early in life that they’re not good enough for higher education and that they’ll never get good jobs. Gangs and guns are ubiquitous, and gangs fill the void created by that hopelessness; they teach kids crime and violence, and give kids protection, money, and a sense of belonging.

That’s the long term reality, and long term challenge.

The short view is the surge in violence since January 2016. That surge started immediately on the heels of those 4 successive events I mentioned in late 2015: the release of the Laquan McDonald video; the initiation of the DOJ pattern and practice investigation; the firing of CPD’s Superintendent; and the beginning of that ACLU contract.

Those things exploded a powder keg that didn’t change fundamentally the landscape of gun violence or law enforcement, but they poured gasoline on the tragic aspects of those realities and further polarized our officers and our community.

In thinking about where we go from here, we have to talk both of the long view, and of the short term issues. Here are my “Top 5” things that I think need to happen to get us to a better place. This list is not exhaustive or magical; it is an honest short list based on my experience
over the past years.

Number 1, get that Consent Decree.

You can’t stop our brand of violence without a top-flight police department. And you can’t have a top-flight police department on the cheap. For decades, CPD has been run on the cheap. Officers don’t have the training, the supervision, the equipment, or culture they need and deserve. Our DOJ findings report lays that out.

The media routinely calls that report a scathing indictment of CPD. Not accurate. The report is not a scathing indictment. It may be hard hitting but it is measured and fair. We didn’t say cops are bad. We said CPD has systemic problems that prevent it from supporting good officers, or checking bad officers. And so culture and morale suffer. That’s the truth.

The DOJ findings report is a roadmap to addressing the systemic deficiencies in training, supervision and accountability. And I’m not picking on this Mayor or City Administration, who’ve done many good things, when I say the following: If you leave correcting those deficiencies to the vagaries of city politics, then you likely lose the long term fight.

This city’s history is replete with examples of saying the right thing, in some cases starting the right thing, but then losing focus, particularly as the media and public attention pivot toward whatever is the latest crisis.

I started here as an AUSA in 1997, and was a beneficiary of a culture built on integrity, support, resources, infrastructure, supervision, leadership. Why should I and my colleagues have that benefit when CPD officers don’t? They are the ones putting their lives on the line every day. It’s past time to give our police officers what they need to succeed.

A Consent Decree with an independent federal monitor is the only way that will happen.

Second, enhance and consolidate federal law enforcement in Chicago.

This US Attorney’s Office should have 15-20 more AUSAs immediately assigned to it, full time and permanent. It’s a travesty that the office remains understaffed since sequestration. In the 2000s, the office had 172 federal lawyers. In 2012, sequestration hit and over the next two years we bled down to 127 lawyers.

Under the current budget the office can afford about 158 lawyers. That is still a dozen down from where it was in the 2000s. If you want more federal gang and gun prosecutions, we need more full-time, permanent federal prosecutors in Chicago. That’s simple math.

Beyond the US Attorney’s Office, there are three key federal investigative partners relevant to this discussion: FBI, DEA and ATF. Each is noble, talented and passionate about fighting crime. But here’s a hard truth: federal law enforcement can yield an improved impact on gun violence in this city by either folding those key federal agencies together into one agency, or as an alternative, assigning all their agents working on violent crime to one special task force  with one mission and one leadership chain.

Do that so that DEA isn’t limited to working dope cases, and ATF isn’t thinking only about gun trafficking, and no one is competing for credit on cases.

Through no fault of all the great agents at those agencies, the way it works now is not as good as it can be. And it seems to me this crisis creates the right opportunity to reinvent that wheel, even if it’s just a Chicago specific pilot — bring those federal agencies together in a way that will create unified purpose, greater efficiency and greater impact for our afflicted neighborhoods.

We need to flood those neighborhoods with local and federal law enforcement officers.

Not just to arrest the bad guys but also to be standing on that corner where shots otherwise might get fired, to be breaking up those corner loiterers, and to be meeting and learning and knowing the kids, the people, and the truth of who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, and who isn’t yet formed and can be swayed.

Some people recently have said bring in the National Guard. If you care only about the short view, maybe there’s some attractiveness to that notion. But if you care about the long view – if you don’t want to be talking about “Chiraq” and “two Chicagos” ten and twenty years from now, then it’s an ill-conceived notion.

What would a National Guard presence say to folks in those neighborhoods? This is war, and you are the enemy. The Chicago of bike paths and glistening lakefront, and economic opportunity – that’s not your Chicago, it’s ours and we will protect it.

This is not war. Wars are fought between enemies. There is only one enemy here, and it is us, all of us in Chicago. Every single one of us. We are the problem, and we are the solution.

If we resort to wrongheaded measures, we might set ourselves back years, even decades in the long term fight.

Third, attack social media as the milieu for gun viruses.

Our current epidemic is, as I said, viral. And post Laquan McDonald, there has been a shift, in a bad way, in cultural norms among gang members, to where now there is an expectation of gun play at the beginning of any dispute.

A gang member taunts another, and instead of escalating taunts, there are shots fired right away, followed by retaliation shots within hours or days, followed by return retaliation shots, and so forth, with the pathway of violence dotted by social media posts.

Biological viruses are transmitted through body fluid or air. The virus of gun play moves through social media. We can stop or stem that. Don’t send in the National Guard, send in the tech geeks.

If a gang member makes CPD’s Strategic Subject List, find a way to curb or realtime monitor that gang member’s social media accounts. If kids have convictions or overt gang affiliations, find a way to curb their social media. I recognize that First Amendment issues come into play, but let’s test those limits. Lives are at stake.

Enlist parents, teachers and clergy. And work with social media service providers for options to limit access and to create safeguards against social media as the conduit for the gun virus.

And at the same time, launch a positive community-based social media exchange both deterring kids from gangs and enticing them with music, sports, jobs or other outlets.

Fourth, create new youth pathway centers, in the handful of most afflicted neighborhoods, that are not subject to the shifting winds of politics and government.

The kids in our hardest hit neighborhoods are gang affiliating as young as 10, 11, 12 years old. Once that’s happened, it’s too late; their fate is sealed.

There are a finite number of kids in a small geographic footprint who face this dilemma. The vast majority of those kids will do the right thing if we help them find and figure out what that right thing looks like.

So let’s find those kids, and let’s intervene, in a positive way, in their lives. Let’s engage them, and their parents, teachers, community leaders, and clergy. Let’s deter criminal behavior and incentive lawful behavior.

To do that, we should have a brick and mortar place, in each afflicted neighborhood, that is base, the home, the epicenter to that effort. No different than combining our federal law enforcement resources makes sense, combining our social services resources to maximize impact in these neighborhoods makes sense.

There are smart and passionate social services workers out there right now, every day, trying to help. But no different than our police, systemic deficiencies are making it impossible for them to succeed.

Brick and mortar. Create a place. Call it anything. Fund it with federal, state, or philanthropic funds, or some combination. But do not continue this madness of annualized state or federal grant funding to where all these not-for-profits have time to do is fight for those peanuts, compete with each other and hope to survive. That serves no one.

There is plenty of money and good will in this town. And there are millions of federal dollars spent across this town every year. So let’s find that money and put it to use by creating youth centers, brick and mortar, funding social workers and experts, and intervening to save the lives of kids and young adults.

Fifth, fix the bail bond system in Cook County.

There is still, by state law, a monetary bond system. That system keeps non-violent poor defendants in jail awaiting trial, and allows violent gang members to get out because they can post money bonds.

That’s nuts. There are movements and efforts afoot to address this dilemma. And there’s a model to fix it: our federal bond regime. But this needs to be completely overhauled, and right now. There should be no bail in state court for repeat gun offenders.

There should be no bail in state court for those charged with acts of violence who have prior gun and violence convictions. Lives are being lost, every month, because of that bail system. It’s fixable, now.


Lastly, I want to say to my colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s Office: You are everything that is right and good about public service. You are our hope. Carry on.

Zach Fardon

Zachary T. Fardon is a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois

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    • “Fourth, create new youth pathway centers, in the handful of most afflicted neighborhoods, that are not subject to the shifting winds of politics and government.”

      It was called”The war on poverty” and it failed, epically.

      Honestly? I do not care about Chiagco, or “Bodimore” or any other leftists shithole, these morons elect the same people, election, after election, after election.

      Fuck Them. Its also the reason why I think EC votes in blue states should be craved up based on proportions of the vote. Slaves want to be slaves? Let them, but dont allow them to vote to enslave the rest of us.

      Free men should not be free to choose unfreedom for others.

      • Henry that was great. You ought to be a judge. We need more folks with commonsense rather than an inflated sense of self worth like this attorney.

      • AYFKM? Thank God this moron is out of a job! Every point he made is bogus bullshiite! A muslime can claim to be a Christian, but his actions or thinking prove he is lying – this jerk is a LIBTURD through and through! Not once did he address the most important reason for all of the violence and murders! SHITCAGO has one of the highest gun crime rates in the nation and yet it has the most restrictive gun laws in this nation! That is a FACT and not just a conservative view point or opinion. Innocent, law-abiding people are being killed because they are unable to defend themselves from gun-wielding lawless scumbags who NEVER obey the law! Shitcago has been established as a gun free zone which effectively makes it free rein for the lawless. Until these liberal douchebags get their heads out of their obamas, shitcago will remain a cesspool! And it is also an established fact that it is negros killing negros, whites, hispanics, etc, 99% of the time!

        An armed society is a polite society.

  1. Interesting, insightful, completely lacking in knee-jerk reaction to confiscate guns from everyone who is not a gang member or felon. There is one piece missing, however….the traditional, full family. It is mind-boggling to think that a culture borne of irresponsibility rewarded can be fixed through external programs.

    I am an old fat white guy. I had the misfortune to grow-up in a traditional family, surrounded by traditional families. I was trained at home in traditional values, and expected to demonstrate those values in public. “The system” was not designed to teach me how to be a whole person, how to be an honest person, how to be a respectful person. “The system” reinforced the lessons I learned from my parents (mostly my mother because my dad was a soldier often in foreign lands). “The system” was not responsible for my upbringing, “the system” was not responsible for my failure to conduct myself with dignity and honor.

    When the “family” is not there, when the “family” is allowed to degenerate to the extent where we no longer have parents, but “baby mommas” and “baby daddies”, “the system” will fail to produce the kinds of citizens needed to renovate the family. Standards, hope, faith, the will to endure and achieve are rooted in the family. Those characteristics cannot be birthed by “the system”.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot: Colt .45, bullets, targets, shooting range, upper receiver.

    • Problem is that until you have a generation of kids that can grow up not being member of a violent gang, the “traditional family” is a goal, not a fix.

      Also your “system” was “being surrounded by traditional families.” People are a product of their society as much as their family.

      • I don’t see where we disagree. The task is to find a way to change the culture internally, not depending exclusively on outsiders.

        • You are not going to break that chain of violence without outside intervention. That is the simple fact. They just are not going to kill each other off fast enough for that to happen.

        • I took a shortcut. The internals of the culture must be changed. Outside assistance in getting that done may be needed, but not forever, and not giving responsibility for continued progress to groups and government. Dependency on outsiders to provide everything, all the time, forever is what is failing.

      • You meant to (correctly) state people are a product of society UNLESS they have a family. And the family train left the station for Chicago blacks a long, long time ago. And guess what? They were not on it……

    • Could not be said any better, you nailed it, unfortunately the socialist indoctrination that’s rampant in our school system has made a society full of mindless idiots.

    • I feel like the gentleman you speak of, Ryan Stiles, makes it up as he goes less often than this Zach Fardon guy.

      Let’s look at his list.
      1. Give us more money.
      2. Instead of demanding federal agencies do their duty, let’s get them to collaborate more across mission lines. The ATF should go after drugs! The DEA should do whatever will increase its funding! The FBI should focus less on Chicago politician corruption and graft, and more on what those same politicians order them to do!
      3. Give us more money to hire techies. We promise this will “prevent” incidents because they can follow the beefs on instagram in real time.
      4. Give us more money, so we can set up democrat voter factories in the spirit of the New Deal, the Great Society, and every failed public school system in the US. Rahm would never try to influence what was taught in those places, let alone encourage democrat propaganda.
      5. Abolish the 8th amendment, Chicago style, because Chicago always abridges constitutional freedoms in a just, predictable way that does not target specific political demographics.

  2. He was good up until the part of using bail as a punishment. Bail is there as a means of providing that a defendant will appear at future court hearing. We don’t lock people up for a year or two years just because they were accused of a crime. That’s injustice and not justice. This line of thinking walks us down a dangerous path where you’ll quickly finds some jurisdiction that sets $2m or no bail conditions on an accused DUI offenders. The reason we don’t have automatic bail amounts for crimes is that it’s up to a judge to consider all factors when determining if the person will show up to court and what if anything should be required to ensure future appearances.

    • “He was good up until the part of using bail as a punishment. ”
      I did not read that intention, anywhere. The discussion of bail was toward making bail more available. The existing problem, as described, is that gang members can always raise the money to post bond, while non-violent offenders mostly cannot afford bail. The “penalty” is related to the ability to generate bail from criminal enterprises, vs. the poorest who are not gang members. There was no proposal or endorsement of making bail unavailable to gangs and criminals who can arrange funds through crime.

      • read the last paragraph “There should be no bail in state court for those charged with acts of violence who have prior gun and violence convictions.”

        Then double check the 8th amendment to the constitution.

        • “who have prior gun and violence convictions.”
          Bail is not required for people who have prior convictions:
          In federal court, the Bail Reform Act of 1984 dictates when a judge can deny bail
          These crimes include:
          Crimes of violence and felonies that involve the possession or use of weapons.
          (18 U.S.C.A. § 3142(e) & (f)(1) (2016).)
          Being charged with one of these offenses only makes a defendant eligible for denial of bail. To actually deny bail, the judge must also find by clear and convincing evidence that there aren’t any conditions of release that could protect the public.
          In making this call, a judge is supposed to consider:
          The nature and circumstances of the charges
          The seriousness of the danger posed by the defendant
          The strength of the prosecution’s evidence against the defendant the defendant’s criminal history, and
          Personal characteristics of the defendant.
          Relevant personal characteristics might include things like substance abuse and mental health history, employment, and family ties. (18 U.S.C.A. § 3142(g) (2016).)

        • I hope that you understand the distinction between “not requiring bail” but looking at individual circumstances, and “no bail for anyone with a prior conviction” even when the conviction happened 30 years ago.

        • That state, and the city of Chicago, already badly violate the second amendment, why not the eigth?

      • “There should be no bail in state court for those charged with acts of violence who have prior gun and violence convictions.”

        How do those factors have impact on your ability to show up for court? In fact, under a system like this is makes all the sense in the world for the police to file loose charges knowing that someone will spend the better part of year locked up before getting a final day in court. It would be wonderful if the police never got it wrong. Heck we wouldn’t need courts and juries. But, we know that not every arrest results in a conviction. Not every charge results in confinement upon a guilty plea or verdict. In many cases a defendant will sit in jail, waiting for a hearing, longer than any possible conviction would bring. These are people who jump at the chance to plead guilty just so they can get out of jail. That’s not justice.

        Maybe we should be addressing that we have prisons, not jails, full of non violent offenders that we’re mad at while we’re cutting loose people who present a real danger to society. There are some really good studies on age (over 30 v under 30), recidivism, and testosterone decline. If you have a previously convicted violent person who is convicted again for a crime of violence, then a long prison stay is for them. No only will this keep them off the streets where they will commit more crimes, but, it will keep them in prison past 30 years of age, the point where testosterone starts to decline and the idea of being out at 2 am banging is a whole lot less appealing than staying home playing x-box.

        • False statement. We have jails full of people for non violent offenses. They are not necessarily non violent offenders. Some are in jail as result of a plea bargain. Other violent offenders are there because the got caught and convicted for non violent offenses. This is like claiming a career criminal who gets caught after 10 years of successful criminal activity a first time offender. California has conducted the experiment of releasing non violent offenders. The crime rate is soaring.

        • Now you want to jail people for what you think they might have done in the past. Oh boy, this site gets better and better. I bet you’re outraged at places where the police decide if you get a CCW permit or not based on if they think you have a need.

          We should just say. Hey, you’re young, black, and live in Chicago. You must be guilty of something. Let’s jail you for a while because of what we think you did (proof, we don’t need that) and that will be better for the city.

          I love the comments here. Posters are all for the constitution except for the parts they’re against, like the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 13th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments. The others though, they’re all good, especially the 2nd because that should the first and what part of shall not don’t you get.

        • Johnny, nowhere does anyone, at any point, ever insinuate anything even slightly akin to that to any degree nor in any form or fashion whatsoever. Oh boy, your own deliberate hyperbole and reductio ad absurdum fallacies get better and better. I can actually bet that you’re outraged at places where police don’t get to decide whether or not you have a need for a CCW. Or to even purchase a gun to begin with.

          Again, no one here is even remotely implying anything of the sort, and you’re just going to have to stow these knowingly baseless assertions where the Sun doesn’t shine — which is exactly the only place they’ll ever belong to begin with, anyway — because you know damn well just as I do that you have zero evidence of any of it. Period.

          You clearly hate the comments here. You’re clearly against everything you’ve falsely accused us of being against — and the 2nd, 9th, and 10th Amendments, to boot.

        • “How do those factors have impact on your ability to show up for court? ”

          Don’t have enough information in the article to understand if they have the same problem as with illegals who never show for deportation hearings.

        • If indeed there is a proven correlation between testosterone levels and violence (“…recidivism, and testosterone decline…”) perhaps simple CASTRATION for repeat-offenders would be a solution?

          That would also, over time, eliminate the “baby’s daddy’s” problem.

        • If indeed there is a proven correlation between testosterone levels and violence (“…recidivism, and testosterone decline…”) perhaps simple CASTRATION for repeat-offenders would be a solution?

          That would also, over time, eliminate the “baby’s daddy’s” problem.

  3. Zach Fardon makes excellent points. However the consent decree must be amended to reduce the paperwork required. He does not touch on the base reason for the problem – fatherless male gangbangers who expect the government to take care of their progeny. It is reported that President Trump is sending in added AUSA’s per Mr. Fardon’s recommendation. Some reports show that Federal prosecutions are down in 2016. I would have liked to hear his take on that report.

    • OK, believe it or not, but you can’t let the kids die in the street in this country, and there is no real way to get any true outlaw to pay child support. When people are shooting at each other, how in the hell are you going to get them to pay child support? Garnish their wages, freeze their bank accounts?

      • How about we IMPRISON “baby daddies” for felony CHILD NEGLECT when they fail to provide for their children?!?!?!? At the very least, they won’t be impregnating more women.

        And before anyone poo-poos that idea, please explain how I will not promptly go to prison for felony child neglect if I fail to provide food, shelter, and clothing for my children?

        • Well, how are you going to force people with no job, no marketable skills, and not even the willingness to change their situation to be able to provide for their bastard children, to well.. provide for their bastard children? Prison certainly won’t change their minds. Hell, some of them become so accustomed to their six-by-eight concrete and steel rape cages that they’re actually scared to leave them!

          Sure, you can (mostly) prevent them from knocking more loser women (with the exception of some gullible female prison staff), but, we need prevention from the word “go.” That means getting back to basics; i.e. the home.

          Don’t even get me started on the destruction of the family unit or how fucked up the family court system is, either, which you probably know by now (and perhaps even better than I), anyway.

        • They already imprison men for child neglect. It’s not helping. Men aren’t the problem. You probably don’t want to hear this, since you immediately leaped on punishing MEN, but the problem is the WOMEN. Women have free access to every form of birth control up to an including abortion. They CHOOSE to get pregnant by men they know have no jobs and no future. Stop giving them money. And before you ask, in Ireland there is no instant child-support mill, and there are far fewer unwed mothers. Women who know they won’t be birthing a meal ticket tend not to have babies. Conversely, when the government pays for something (unwed moms), we get more of that something.

      • Why in the world should ‘we’ care about the kids when ‘they’ don’t? Here is some wisdom from a former boss: ‘If they don’t give a sh*t then YOU don’t give a sh*t’. Grow up.

  4. 6. – Disband the Chicago PD. It’s been cravenly corrupt since before my grandmother moved there from Nashville. She trained as an ambulance driver for WWI.

    Both Chicago city “government” and the Chicago PD are dirty as hell. Until the FBI runs through both like the Mongols through Baghdad, nothing will change because both are making money off of the current situation. Of course after eight years of Obama, somebody’s going to have to purge the FBI first…

      • Bingo sir!

        Disappearing the bad apples for 5-10 years can do wonders while you’re trying to do all of the other ‘good ideas’.

        • Who’s going to do the “disappearing”? Certainly nobody in Chicago “government” or the Chicago PD.

          At election time, Chicago pols go courting the gangs doing all of the killing. Where do you think their “get out the vote” foot soldiers come from?

          If you want the Feds to “disappear” anybody, start with the Chicago City Council, then move on to the Chicago PD.

  5. I’ll sum his letter up in four words:

    “We need more government”

    How surprising, from a career bureaucrat.

  6. meh. Let me summarize what I heard: 1- more bigger consolidated government, especially of the federal kind over the police; we need to curtail rights (this time social media, because obviously taunting was just invented yesterday); and spend more taxpayer money (“youth pathway centers”?! WTF are schools if they are not “youth pathway centers”?!).

    I do have a sympathy for the no bail for those charged with “acts of violence who have prior gun and violence convictions” – but we also have this thing called the constitution, and especially the 8th amendment amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required.” So that will not fly.

    I see nothing here to fix the real problem – culture that says drugs and gangs have social standing above doctors and lawyers, promotes violence, and encourages youth to drop out of the “youth pathway centers” we already have, namely schools, so they can get their first gat.

    Please don’t tell me we need to curtail rights or spend more money. There are *plenty* of cities that do not need these to do these things, and are 6x less violent.

    Pencil me down for “hell no” to this plan.

    • First, read 18 US Code § 3142 – Release or detention of a defendant pending trial, then get back to me on the 8th amendment.

      As for the schools, that only work until 3pm, then what?

      • The difference is denying bail to everyone, regardless of circumstances (“no bail in state court for those charged with acts of violence who have prior gun and violence convictions”), as opposed to a case-by-case determination of bail based on individual facts. The former is highly unlikely to survive. What if the “prior gun and violence convictions” happened 30 years ago and the person was charged with murder for a plain vanilla case of self defense (we have cases in MD where anti-gun prosecutors overstep and charge for clear-cut cases of self defense)?

      • How about returning to RESPONSIBLE PARENTS after school? Does that thought ever cross your addled brain? News flash: sucking off the government teat your entire life leads to places like Chicago (and Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and the list goes on and on).

    • As a US attorney, what role would he have had in fixing this? It sounded like a platform for someone who did want to become one of the decision makers in Illinois, TBH.

      • As a U.S. Attorney, how about enforcing mandatory sentences for gun violations especially buy previously convicted felons???

      • What role did Federal prosecutors have in attacking the Mafia?

        This is ENTIRELY about gangs and their corrupt relationship with the “government” and police in Chicago.

        Ignoring that is as asinine as ignoring the role of Islam in jihad.

      • “As a US attorney, what role would he have had in fixing this?”

        In the years he was a prosecutor he could have prosecuted felons in possession of firearms or ammunition for violations of federal law.
        Little things that might suggest he actually did something. He would have sold his staffing issues better if he had said something like,
        “Because of my staffing shortages I was only able to charge and convict 150 gang members illegally in possession of firearms. If I had been fully staffed I could have put another fifty in prison.”

  7. Lot of platitudes, rhetoric, a dash of incremental encroachment on civil liberties, some Orwellian state monitoring and manipulation…and money.. we need more money to do our jobs properly.

    He is on the right path with trying to break up the gang culture at an early age, but he’s not going to do it by forming another proto tribe.. these problems stem from the home, and by extension the neighborhoods, and the current welfare state encourages and rewards not being productive, not building anything, not making something your own, something that has meaning, something that invests in their futures, so they have nothing to lose.

    If you have nothing to lose, then, you will do just about anything for perceived fame, power and wealth among their peers, and being a thug is easy.. stepping away from social responsibility is easy.. and the government supports it, so why work hard and gain a legitimate reputation if you get paid either way?

    • The problem is you can’t get away fro the social programs. When old ladies and widows with their kids were dying in the streets, that’t when a lot of this welfare we see got it’s start. And to be honest with you, I would rather not go back the the “good old days”.

        • Which “good old days” were more orderly and peaceful Mike? The ones with deadwood and tombstone and outlaws killing people everyday? Or maybe John Brown murdering people in their cabins in Kansas, or Quantrill’s Raiders burning cities or the mob shootouts over liquor in the 20s?

      • SURE we can get rid of the social programs. We NEED to get rid of the social programs. CUT THE FUNDING! The millions and millions poured into social programs in Chicago might as well been flushed down the toilet. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is the key to a safe, responsible and thriving community. You CAN NOT buy personal responsibility with ANY amount of tax dollars. Your continual harping on people sucking off the government teat is not only extremely ignorant but merely perpetuates the problem. And don’t pull the ‘racism’ crapola, especially since blacks are far more likely to be killed or injured by OTHER BLACKS. Grow up!

    • But the real question is how to get a generation of kids that can grow up to be the parents we need to fix the problem? That is the real issue that needs to be resolved. And you solution has to be one that is actually acceptable the the american people.

      • We know that children from wealthy families are, on average, better off than children in.poor families.

        If we offered a one million dollar annual refundable tax credit to the rich per adopted child, rich people would adopt by the truckload.

        To increase the number of children available for adoption, we could make it easier to declare patents unfit. We could, for example, make poverty grounds for unfitness,,and in a fitness hearing, the burden of proof could be placed on the parent to show fitness.

        This will result in more children raised by wealthy families and enjoying the advantages.

        But before I can support this idea, I need to know possible downsides- both likely and unlikely.

        • That’s ludicrous, you’re suggesting that we make poverty somehow illegal.
          So if someone makes more money than you do, does that make that person more fit to be your kids parent?
          What needs to happen is we need to fix the welfare system. Which is tough to do, everyone that’s said just stop it out right has never had the misfortune of actually needing it.
          Maybe setting limits on how much that welfare amount is, you have 1 kid or 17, you still only get a set (low number) to help offset your own income. If yo have no job, you get help finding a job, and then you have to maintain it,,, I don’t have fix, only suggestions just as everyone else.
          But making one’s “wealth” or lack thereof a condition of parenthood is not the answer. Like i asked earlier, suppose i made more money than you did, does that mean i’m a better parent than you , and should be allowed to just adopt your kids away from you?

          This is the USA, we have to fight and work to keep all of our rights, for everyone, regardless of what you may feel about someone else. These rights should not be just for a segment of our citizenry. It’s a tough situation with no easy fix, bt any fix needs to be fair to everyone involved.

  8. Kids. He calls them kids. I beg your Fardon, but kids they certainly are not. Until you can come to grips with that reality, all your well thought out plans and dreams are bound to fail miserably, just like everything else in Chitcago.

  9. I 2nd that MEH…and excuse me but you “claim” no affiliation or political bent? BS. Barry Soetoro put you there on purpose. You did make some salient points. Unlike that whiny weasel in Manhattan…

  10. It’s a start – I was reading half-expecting the last one to be “gun control”, but he didn’t go there. Good.

    He recognizes the issues are social. However, I dispute his “more government” solutions. That being said, he looks to be open to suggestions.

    Again, it’s a start.

  11. Moved from Chitown 4/91. Lived just south of the Palwaukee airport right off Milwaukee Rd. Nice area. Then, one summer Saturday night in late ’90, the gun fire started. Just north, on the other side of an 8′ fence was a housing development with a nice new park. It went on for two and a half hours. My wife, two month old son and I lay on the floor of our second story condo hoping not to cross paths with a basic 4 gun rule violation. TWO AND A HALF HOURS before the sirens finally started coming into the area. We find out the next day that two gangs were battling it out for the territory. The weapons, by my experienced ears were varied. And plentiful.
    The decision was made that day to move far away from what was becoming Chirac.

    So, Mr. Fardon, while I applaud your candor, it reveals a lack of perspective pervasiveness.
    IT IS NOT “GUN VIOLENCE”; IT IS GANG VIOLENCE. Repeatedly you refer, incorrectly, to “gun violence”. Your personal perspective is stilted. The deaths would still occur by other means but you would not be calling it “knife violence”, or “machete violence”, or “bludgeoning violence”, etc. THOSE forms of violence are what occur in third world countries but even they and their media don’t refer to their mounting death tolls by those names.
    IT IS A CULTURAL PROBLEM. And government cannot “fix” cultural problems. Only the people within THAT culture can,
    THIS is the exact same problem that we have internationally with the radicalization of Islam. The Muslims that are silent are as complicant as the Muslim radicals in the spreading of terror. Because no one within that culture will stand up.
    The vast majority of the violence in Chicago is black on black. That is factual.
    The silence of the black leaders is deafening. They chose to obfuscate the situation instead of own it. Deflecting the issue onto guns is not the answer. It has shown this historically over the last several decades. Owning the culture morales is; Own it and change it. Advance it.
    Mr. Fardon is only partially correct on placing blame on the (social) media. The larger blame belongs to the MSM (main stream media). “If it bleeds it leads…”
    I don’t know how the MSM admin and reporters, et al, can sleep at night.
    My gut tells me that answer is easy: Follow the money.

    Guns are not the problem. It is very possible that they are one of the solutions.
    One of. Period. There are no panaceas; no one fix solution.
    An armed and competent citizenry has in fact historically shown itself to be entirely competent in dealing with problems like this.

    “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I am a simple man. I am not a bigot. If for one second you think I am, then you have not understood the gist of my points. And it’s probably because you read and then filtered that through your own inner voice.
    Every individual must accept responsibility for their own life and their actions. Every leader the same, but on a scale proportionate to their position.
    I am taking a risk by stating how I feel here, but I am wearing my big boy pants…

    • “THIS is the exact same problem that we have internationally with the radicalization of Islam. The Muslims that are silent are as complicit as the Muslim radicals in the spreading of terror. Because no one within that culture will stand up.”

      I agree with your post completely with that one notable exception.This is fundamental misunderstanding of Islam, however well intentioned. The reality is that Islam is violent, hateful, a very, very rapey to it’s core. Only taking small snippets, completely out of context is it anything close to “humane”, “caring”, or “tolerant”. It has been at war with Western Civilization from the moment of it’s inception, to this very moment. The only slowdowns were when the civilized world figured out that it was us or them. It remains that way to this very moment. Pew research did a worldwide study of Muslims and found almost the majority (by varying margins) believed in death for apostasy, beheadings for adultery, stonings, sharia, and a host of other nonsense the civilized world has left far behind.

      They aren’t misunderstood. The majority believe as the jihadis, and the rest will fall in line, because they are aware that they will be beheaded if they don’t. “Moderate” Muslims don’t exist, there are merely people who have no idea what’s in the Quran, either because they are illiterate (about half last I looked), or they purposefully leave out all the bad stuff and re-interpret it as they please. Sadly, the Quran tells them this also not allowed, and the faithful will be there to mete out Allah’s justice as soon as they can.

  12. “A gang member taunts another, and instead of escalating taunts, there are shots fired right away, followed by retaliation shots within hours or days, followed by return retaliation shots, and so forth, with the pathway of violence dotted by social media posts.”

    And yet, in thousands of other poor areas of the country this doesn’t happen. Perhaps there’s a problem with the culture? Nah, that’d be too politically incorrect…

    “What would a National Guard presence say to folks in those neighborhoods? This is war, and you are the enemy. The Chicago of bike paths and glistening lakefront, and economic opportunity – that’s not your Chicago, it’s ours and we will protect it.”

    Now that would be a refreshing truism in the proper context – which would be that we will provide you with the tools to better yourself if you really work hard (we already do that), and with a Natty Guard presence, we’ll keep you safe enough to use those tools. But if you choose to stay in the cultural wasteland, do expect the forces of civilization to keep you where you are.

  13. i fardon your general direction, and directly upon your consent decree.
    less aldercreatures, not more lawyers.
    the resources for the neediest communities have been drained from their schools and placed into pet projects of city hall through tif bleeds for decades.
    beat it, nerd. there is war, and the enemies are identified.

  14. I can’t argue with him on the problems but that doesn’t mean his analysis is particularly good, it’s just that everyone EXCEPT the federal and city government has been pointing all of this out for the last three years. As to the solutions, most seem like the same thing that has been promised for years.

    1) Get consent decree, more training, etc…
    – First of all, the consent degree and DOJ investigations have been a big part of officers reducing their discretionary enforcement. So while I guess a GOOD consent decree could be useful- maybe one aimed at the many problems at the higher ranks of the department and city- most of the time when one comes down it’s just more BS. More ‘training’ that ends up paying former gangbangers to lecture cops about being more sensitive, and the like. You know what might help Chicago? More cops. The city has been hiding it’s manpower problems for years behind inflated and cooked numbers (hey, we are getting 100 new detectives this year, isn’t that great? Let’s not pay attention to the fact that those detectives didn’t arise out of nowhere so there are now 100 less cops on patrol).

    2) Second, enhance and consolidate federal law enforcement in Chicago… flood the streets with local and federal officers
    – No. This is not the job of federal agencies. Also, I don’t mean this pejoratively, but feds ain’t cops. Very different mindset, training, experience, etc (despite what TV would have you believe). Cops also ain’t feds and aren’t very good at doing interstate white collar crime investigations. Different missions. And what a coincidence that he’s trying to strengthen the power of his very office (or former and maybe future office)

    3) Third, attack social media as the milieu for gun viruses
    – I’m wondering if he wanted a round numbered list so he threw this nonsense in

    4) Fourth, create new youth pathway centers, in the handful of most afflicted neighborhoods, that are not subject to the shifting winds of politics and government.
    – Same idea that has been tried for decades, doesn’t work on a large\governmental scale. We KNOW this doesn’t work.

    5)Fifth, fix the bail bond system in Cook County.
    – It is well known that the bail system is broken but it’s not an easy fix. The voters elect judges and Cook county judicial elections are an absolute joke (the Tribune has written good articles about this). The democrat candidate will win which means whomever wins the primary will be a judge. And who do you think wins democratic primaries in Chicago? Yeah, those are the people deciding who gets to walk on violent charges. They are ineffective, often incompetent, sometimes completely unethical and almost impossible to remove.

  15. So…
    Won’t acknowledge the gangs are the enemy.

    Want to suspend the right of bail for “certain” people.

    Wants to create new venues for selling drugs and recruiting members for the gangs. (Youth neighborhood centers).

    He may not be political but he is a dumbass if he believes that tripe.

  16. Wonderful essay from a suit sitting behind a desk. Doesn’t apply to real life. How about somebody in America grow some balls and pass a law, ONE violent crime and you are DONE, LIFE, it’s over. END OF STORY. All these scumbags would be off the streets and where they need to be. My simple one point plan. One strike you’re out.

  17. He says “There is only one enemy here, and it is us, all of us in Chicago. Every single one of us. We are the problem, and we are the solution.”

    Anybody who truly believes that nonsense is NEVER going to solve the problem. There is a very specific, geographically well-known, vastly outnumbered violent enemy force in Chicago (and neighboring cities.) LE knows exactly who the enemy is. All we lack is the true will to swiftly, decisively crush that enemy.

  18. One must ask him: “What have you been doing?” The answer is “Not much of anything.”

    “Ironically, crime-riddled Chicago is the perfect microcosm of the country as a whole when it comes to a failure to prosecute gun crimes coupled with a relentless push for more gun control. The NRA’s First Freedom summed it up thus: “In 2014 in Chicago, over 2,500 people were shot—nearly 400 of them fatally—and police seized more than 6,252 guns. Yet out of those 6,252 guns seized, Fardon’s federal prosecutors saw fit to pursue just 62 weapons prosecutions. In other words, for every 100 guns police seized, federal prosecutors made just one prosecution.”

    How does Chicago rank in persecuted gun crimes?

    “districts that contain Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City ranked last in terms of federal gun law enforcement in 2012, ”

    “Federal prosecutors declined to file charges in dozens of other gun cases over that five-year period, including investigations by the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, records show.

    Altogether over the past five years, 477 people have been charged with federal weapons offenses in Chicago.

    In comparison, 499 were charged in Brooklyn, 563 in Milwaukee, 810 in Baltimore, 1,012 in Manhattan and 1,249 in Detroit.”

    Going out the door, telling us how to fix things? We need to look at the record he leaves.

  19. I am surprised nobody commented directly on this:

    “If kids have convictions or overt gang affiliations, find a way to curb their social media. I recognize that First Amendment issues come into play, but let’s test those limits. Lives are at stake.”

    If ex-former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon is willing to compromise on the 1st Amendment, then I can’t see where he would care much for the 2nd Amendment. It is very easy just to create a new social media account and hide your identity. One of these days the dirt bags will figure out how to obfuscate their identity and remove data from the photos that could help identify them.

    Soon enough the dirt bags will start carrying hand fulls of spent brass to throw on the ground just to fu(k with the cops.

  20. Good points, but I think you forgot to mention that criminals should actually be prosecuted for their crimes, not plea deals or plain amnesty.

    IMHO, bring back HARD LABOR into prisons, forced productivity not a chance to waste our tax dollars on a college education and cable tv.

  21. When you’re penning a lengthy piece on a difficult topic, it’s always a good idea to throw some humor in now and again to keep your audience engaged. This hilarious sentence still has me chuckling:

    “…FBI, DEA and ATF. Each is noble, talented and passionate about fighting crime.”

    Well done, Mr. Fardon. Hilarious!

    The short version of the rest of the article, for those who don’t have time to read all 2500 or so words, is: “We need more government to solve problems created by incompetent, corrupt government.”

  22. Fix the penal system. When gang bangers look at a 5 year sentence as a badge of honor, the system is broken. When the gang leaders get 30 years to life, they just run the same gang while in prison. Prison becomes a castle for them. The punishment no longer fits the crime. When the punishment is for worse than the gang lifestyle, then they can begin to fix the windy city. Bring back bullets to the head and hard labor till death!

  23. With such a “target rich environment” such as the shithole that is Chicago, this AUSA should have THE record number of GUN convictions of ANYWHERE in the country, right? Or do I hear crickets . . . . . .

  24. At least he has a plan but more money and more government is never a good idea. And where does he come up with “gun virus”. Is that like gun violence? It’s the gangs stupid. And as far as calling out the National Guard, all I know is in every instance I can think of where a city turned into a war zone, think LA riots. When the green army men show up toting M16’s, the looting, burning and shooting stops immediately.

    • Follow the money and the bigger question. Who and what wouldn’t be needed if all gangs and their drug dealing partners were eliminated?

  25. Just the fact that someone is coming out of the political or judicial system in Chicago, and wants to solve the homicide rate there without a single talking point revolving around gun control, is HUGE to me. We can take his remarks and go from there.

  26. Did I miss a huge segment that said gangs were populated with illegal immigrants that prosper off the drug trade. Gangs remove obstacles to their trade with violence. Zero tolerance starts with removing people that should not be allowed to be there and the politicians double down on sanctuary city bull. The gangs and the politicians intimidate and control the under protected people of Chicago because of their foolish gun control. Might I add that the rest of the nation may be harboring suppressed beliefs in “Just Deserts.” Another phony in the world of fake news.

    • I would like to give you my point of view. The people are not illegal immigrants, they are illegal “aliens”. An immigrant should be someone like my wife, whom I married in her country, then came to this country after I filed all the necessary paperwork, paid the more than necessary fees, and took the necessary steps to follow the legal procedure.
      She did NOT slip under a fence, or make her way through a tunnel!
      Another thing. I’m tired of hearing these illegal aliens being called “Undocumented workers”, like they were here on a Visa, or some other program.

  27. Why are these “kids” joining gangs tho?
    In most cases the father hit the road and the mother is either working all day in a no-skill-low-wage job and doesn’t take care of them or she is a lazy piece of s**t on welfare that just doesn’t want to teach them some values.

    And how about this idea: allow any citizen without prior convictions to buy and carry a weapon? I bet you criminals wouldn’t enjoy loosing their monopoly on using deadly force. Now criminals would get shot at from other criminals, police and their intended victims. You rob a store *bang* you never rob anything again. Stand your ground and other pro self defense laws. Let the citizens know that they can strike back. And make sure to fire every single judge and democrat. Replace them with judges that will give gang-bangers max sentence for everything and politicians that support the people, the second amendment, the police, strict punishment and who are against this failed cuddle-justice, welfare and bailout-daddies.

  28. It is ironic that large slices of both civic and federal funding go towards financing the lifestyles of thoroughly antisocial criminals, who consistently kill and rob members of the tax paying public, and who continue to act as agents flooding the country with toxic and addictive drugs. The federally sanctioned sources of those poisons is a subject for another rant.

    There is one overriding principle in economics – you get what you pay for. Huge tranches of tax payer dollars are being paid every month into the pockets of vicious killers. That is a fact. Baby momma payments financially support gang bangers during lulls in their drug deal profits. This is true around the world. I have seen it with my own eyes, and have been personally unable to prevent it, except in rare cases.

    Until these outlaws are truly recognized as the urban terrorists they really are, and their kind are wiped from the face of the earth, do not expect any improvements in sinkholes of depravity like Chicago. Only extreme measures will work. Good can only make baby steps while the Devil travels in great strides. The only hope for young children in Chicago is the chance of being removed and taken somewhere there is a true community.

    All I say is that if there is any nuclear “accident” devastating any city, let that city be Chicago. Then start over, but do it right.

  29. Six: end the welfare system that is leading to the creation of fatherless young men who are far more likely to embrace a life of crime.

    Actually, do six and within 20 years you probably won’t need 1-5 anymore.

  30. And notice, there was not one asinine comment about limiting citizens access to legal guns. Period. One problem is the liberal mindset that makes police afraid to do their jobs and fails to provide them with the training and tools to do it. Another is the entitlement culture that perpetuates inner city slums and the gangs they breed.

    When city officials stop trying to blame guns and lawful gun owners for their failures, then and only then, will they start to make some positive progress.

  31. “I recognize that First Amendment issues come into play, but let’s test those limits.”

    There’s something off about this, just can’t quite put my finger on it…


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