Chicago TV news crews have mostly avoided getting attacked during live shots, which has been the case in several cities – that is until now.
During a live shot Wednesday morning around 7 a.m. at the intersection of Clark and Hubbard in the River North neighborhood just north of downtown, a passerby pointed a gun at a Fox 32 (WFLD) news crew while Joanie Lum was live on the air reporting on the city’s gun violence epidemic (the photo you see is from a later report – click to enlarge.)
Chicago Police have released a photo of the subject and are looking for him.
This came a day after 21 people were shot and killed in an elementary school by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas some eighty miles west of San Antonio and not far from the Mexican border. The tragedy has open up a huge debate on gun control measures, which has divided Americans among political lines.
Wednesday’s incident is the latest in a string of threats against the news media during live shots in the last few years, though most of them took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, where reporters and cameramen were robbed live on the air in both San Francisco and Oakland. The most tragic incident took place in August 2015 when reporter Allison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed on-camera along with another person during a live shot in Roanoke, Va. while reporting for CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV. The assailant was a former station employee who committed suicide shortly after the incident.
The area where Joanie Lum was reporting from has seen an uptick in violence including shootings in what is generally considered the city’s entertainment district. A week ago, a mass shooting at Chicago and State left two dead and seven injured and as par for the course nowadays, generated worldwide headlines.
Gun violence has also been a problem in the Loop, with several shootings in the past year alone.
Not surprisingly, the Texas tragedy turned into more Chicago-bashing from conservatives after Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) slammed Chicago leaders for their “strict gun control laws” saying similar measures would not have prevented the carnage. This prompted a heated response from local Democrats such as Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and a local alderman running for Congress, saying his comments were out of line.
Of course, connecting Chicago’s gun violence epidemic to mass shootings have been commonplace for years, with Republicans deflecting the issue and pointing out it’s always worse in Chicago, a trope dating back to when President Obama was elected in 2008. It’s one former President Trump has used to bash Chicago throughout his campaign and throughout his presidency, a tradition most Republicans have picked up and used to score political points – and of course, fundraising dollars. They don’t care about Chicago’s gun violence victims at all, only using them as political props for their own benefit.
This incident could have ramifications. The footage is evidence Chicago gun violence is out of control, and could persuade future journalists from working here. Instead of complaining about what some outsider says about our city, maybe our local leaders should work on solutions to combat this problem before it winds up destroying our city (and I don’t mean with stupid teen curfews.) After all, we didn’t elect politicians to bitch on social media. What took place Wednesday is obvious this is a huge crisis and one local political leadership doesn’t seem interested in solving.