Saturday, March 05, 2011

Shooting at Whitey: Running the Gauntlet in Chicago Public Transportation

(I just got the following letter from a longtime reader, in response to “New York Had a Taste of Spring Yesterday: Bang! Bang! Bang!,” Thursday’s story about The Boss riding in a New York City bus through the middle of a gunfight on the street.)

Year ago now, actually decades ago, I used to work in downtown Chi and take the Rock Island commuter train to and from work. I quite often worked late and used to have to catch the 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. train and for a number of years had to endure this.

Three cars on the train but passengers only allowed on one car.

Lights out on all cars. You rode in total darkness.

From 35th St. to 63rd St., you passed by the now gone Robert Taylor Homes projects.

We were shot at all the time. I can imagine a lot of the shooters were either drunk or on drugs or both, but we were still shot at.

To confuse the shooters, riders in only car and all lights out. And the engineer of the train went full speed, almost as if we were going to go off the tracks.

How many times was I shot at? Can't even guess, just could not tell. Of course, they were shooting not at me in particular but the passenger car, but we were inside.

I did see from time to time when inspecting the cars in the daylight bullet holes, and a number of them, so it was possible we were hit, and did not even know it.

NOR was the subject of whitey having to run a gauntlet on a daily basis for years ever a news story. Why, someone might start thinking.


Anonymous said...

"whitey having to run a gauntlet"

Is public transport in Chicago used exclusively by white people?

"Lights out on all cars. You rode in total darkness."

Is it possible, in that case, for the shooters to know whether the people inside the cars were white, let alone base their decision of whether or not to shoot on this?

Thus the title of this post, "Shooting at Whitey", is completely disingenuous. It remains only to ask whether the writer is merely paranoid, or trying to mislead readers on purpose.

Anonymous said...

I served in the Army with a Chicagoan who told me the same story almost twenty years ago and at the time I did not believe him,having grown up in Boston. I now believe him but what I cannot believe is why such behavior is tolerated and why there are such apologists.

Anonymous said...

I can believe the train cars were being shot at; that is something that is easily verifiable (e.g. bullet holes). What is unacceptable is to claim to know what was going on inside the shooter's mind - in particular that the shooter was racially motivated - when, judging by the description itself, not only did the writer not see who the shooter was, but indeed the shooter was unable to see the passengers either.

Let a claim like this be a red flag to anyone who thinks racists are capable of rational thinking. And let the rest of us be unafraid to call similar red flags whenever we see them.

Nicholas Stix said...


"What is unacceptable is to claim to know what was going on inside the shooter's mind..."

Doies that mean you're opposed to hate crime laws?

Just kidding!

Anonymous said...

"Doies that mean you're opposed to hate crime laws?"

No, it means EVIDENCE must be supplied for a hate crime charge to be successfully pressed. What I am criticizing here is the lack of EVIDENCE for the claim that the shooter was racially motivated.

EVIDENCE, Nicholas. Not your favorite word, I see. Gets in the way of your race-baiting agenda, doesn't it?