Monthly Archives: February 2012

2012 Chicago NATO summit

So your brother’s bound and gagged
And they’ve chained him to a chair
Won’t you please come to Chicago just to sing
In a land that’s known as Freedom
How can such a thing be fair
Won’t you please come to Chicago for the help that we can bring?

-Graham Nash

This May, Chicago will be host city for the 2012 NATO summit. It will mark the first time a NATO summit in the U.S. has been held outside Washington. Depending upon which source you reference, the three-day event will be met with either peaceful, family-friendly marches or will be a powder keg of potential violence.

In any case, given that this is an election year, and Chicago is seen as the hometown of President Obama, all eyes will be on the city, much as they were on election night, 2008, when President-elect Obama delivered his historic victory speech from Grant Park. Counter-NATO organizers are taking to social media sites to whip up support among their members and Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields estimates the number of protesters likely to convene in the city at upwards of 40,000. The first permits for protests during the summit have already been issued. So Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking extra precautions to ensure that the protests that DO occur are peaceful and any potential violent disruptions are headed off swiftly. The police force is undergoing riot baton training and ordering protective gear including over $190,000 for new state-of-the-art face shields.

Chicago 1968

With the potential for violent protests and strong reaction from law enforcement, there will surely be comparisons to Chicago’s 1968 Democratic national convention, which was marked by violent clashes between young antiwar protesters and then Mayor Richard J. Daley’s police force. As the politician’s convened, live televised images of bloody and beaten protesters being hauled off in paddy wagons tarnished both Daley’s and Chicago’s reputation in the years that followed.

However things play out this May in Chicago (and let’s hope they remain peaceful), there are sure to be large crowds and strong opinions, which always makes for good sketching opportunities. I plan on being there with my drawing pad. If anyone cares to join in, drop me a line.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago “L” crash 35th anniversary

Here’s an animated short film I made about Chicago’s iconic “L” (short for “elevated” ) commuter train system.

On Feb. 4th, 1977, 35 years ago today, during the busy evening rush hour, two trains collided due to human error. Three train cars completely derailed and fell 20 feet to the busy street below. When it was over, 11 people were dead and over 180 were injured. Though there have been other derailments in the L’s long history, several of which are recounted here, none were as deadly as the 1977 incident.
I was a student in the western suburbs and had only ridden the “L” a few times in my life when I heard the news and saw pictures of the derailment. Since that day, I’ve ridden the “L” countless times to State & Lake, the stop just before the sharp bend in the tracks where the trains plunged to the ground. Viewing the actual scene of the accident, it’s surprising to me that there weren’t even more casualties.

You can read more about the 1977 “L” derailment here and here and read of the survivors’ first-hand accounts here.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,