On A Recent Gun Tragedy in Chicago

There is rightful outrage to the shooting death in Rogers Park this weekend to teacher Cynthia Trevillion caught tragically in gang crossfire while out for supper with her husband. Who should be held accountable? Joe Walsh is a leading local gun pornographer. The NRA – National Rifle Association of America is growing wealthy and powerful over rivers of blood on our nation’s streets. Rahm Emanuel refuses to hold the Chicago Police accountable and fosters economic policies, championed by people like Alderman James Cappleman that degrades Chicago Public Schools and evaporates affordable housing. It is Trump and his tacit and sometimes overt support for racism and the destruction of assistance for the poor and working poor that promotes a general hopelessness in many communities. It is all of us who turn the page when this happens in “Black” and “Bad” neighborhoods and are outraged when it happens in our neighborhood. It is something perversely dark and cruel bred in American culture where this is allowed to happen year over decade. It is all of us for not  choosing to be informed, and to show up to vote, to call, to protest, and at the end of all those efforts,  if necessary, show up a million strong and drag those from civil, loving, decent, all-embracing society out of office and tossed into a river.
This morning on Facebook my friend, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas lamented:

This happened a block away from our apartment:

“From a friend of the Chicago Waldorf School Family and I share his sentiments:

‘Last night here in Rogers Park, a wonderful wife, inspiring teacher, and good friend was senselessly killed by random gunfire. Cynthia Trevillion of the Chicago Waldorf School did not deserve to die. She was walking in our neighborhood, going to a restaurant where she lived, when a car full of kids drove by and shot, missing their intended target, and killed her instantly. Right in front of her husband.

For absolutely no reason whatsoever.

While the killers have not been tracked down yet, we can all guess that the guns they possessed were obtained illegally. Bought from someone who either stole them or bought them from some other idiot. Reports vary, but it’s believed that 60% of guns used in Chicago crimes come from Indiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin and are virtually untraceable because, you know, the government shouldn’t track those sort of things. I mean, what can we do, right?

And before you start with your “crooks don’t pay attention to the law”, save it. Closing the loop of “personal” sales will curtail the availability of guns. You sell a firearm anywhere to anyone, it will be registered. And if that firearm is used in a crime, you will be implicated. It’s that simple.

Even these measures will not completely eliminate guns falling into the wrong hands. No, they won’t completely eradicate senseless killings like last night.

But if we can reduce the amount of guns on the streets by 10%…20…30%…maybe we don’t lose such a bright soul.

Maybe the kids at our school aren’t mourning the loss of their teacher.

Maybe a husband isn’t burying his wife decades too early.”

This was my response to my friend, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas:
Four things. Rahm is closing still more schools, with growing lack of funds as more and more cash is directed to charter(corporate schools) By the way, more TIF money is going to rich developers as the city gentrifies, and available housing to the poor, disenfranchised and working poor is relegated to fewer and fewer neighborhoods, like Rogers Park. 2. the 60% figure is accurate, but more alarming is that police report that better than 80% of guns they recover were purchased LEGALLY and sold to gangs and criminals. 3. The police, in a tantrum over being asked to not shoot kids 16 times, in antagonism of BLM and because these public servants are being told they must be accountable are simply refusing to do their jobs, and the gangs know it! And last, there is a element of a lack of moral leadership, which starts at the top and has become a quality of our government. Facts and information have been discredited by looters and criminals in the White House, the state house, the corporate boardroom and city hall which creates a culture of making excuse for any blatantly abhorrent behavior. If Trump can get away with doing what is selfishly advantageous to him, why can’t some punk on the street? .

Film schedule and new website live for Facets’ 34th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

Thursday, Oct 12, 2017: Chicago – The full film schedule for Facets’ 34th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is now live on a brand new Festival website. The website includes a fully interactive day-by-day schedule for the Festival’s 132 film programs, which contain 280+ films from 40+ countries. Print schedules will be available at all partner venues and retailers around the city.
The Festival runs from October 27 – November 5, 2017 at eight Chicagoland locations: Facets (Lincoln Park), Davis Theater (Lincoln Square), Music Box Theatre (Lakeview), Wilmette Theatre (Wilmette), Alliance Française (Gold Coast), Cervantes Institute (River North), University of Chicago: Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts (Hyde Park), and The Gorton Community Center (Lake Forest).  
The full Festival schedule, ticketing, field trip bookings, and Family Passes are available now at facets.org/cicff. Workshops will be available by Oct. 20, 2017.
Festival patrons can now browse the full film schedule online on a brand new website designed by The Normal Studio, a cutting-edge Chicago design firm headed by Renata Graw. Starting this year, The Normal Studio has been working with Facets to rebrand and complete design work for the Festival and other Facets programs.  For more information about The Normal Studio, visit their website:  thenormalstudio.com.
“We are very excited about our new brand identity and website for the Festival. It has been such a great experience working with the design team at Normal and we are really blown away by what they have produced,” says Facets Marketing Director, Paul Gonter. “The designs are contemporary, intelligent, and fun. Just like the films we program.”
Paul goes on to talk about the new website: “Not only does the website look beautiful, but the browsable schedule  offers our patrons – whether they are parents, kids, teens, filmmakers, or media professionals – an easy way into our over 130 film programs. This makes planning a trip to and sharing information about the Festival much easier.”

Facets and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival would like to thank their media partners, WTTW Kids and WBEZ9.15 Chicago for their support.

Facets’ 34th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival runs from October 27 – November 5, 2017. The full Festival schedule, ticketing, field trip bookings, and Family Passes are available now at facets.org/cicff. Workshops will be available by Oct. 20, 2017. 
Facets’ Chicago International Children’s Film Festival presents the best, most innovative film and educational experiences for kids, teens, families, students, and industry professionals. The Festival is operated by Facets, a nonprofit that connects 30k+ people annually to independent ideas through transformative film experiences.


Paul Gonter


773.281.9075 ext. 3043

You’re invited to our monthly Reclaim Chicago North Chapter Monthly Community Meeting Tomorrow Night @ Sulzer Library! (4455 N Lincoln) from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Reclaim Chicago is building a progressive grassroots organization on the North Side and beyond. We’re organizing neighbor to neighbor to reclaim our city from machine politicians and their wealthy backers. We believe that ordinary people have the power to work together and elect a government that responds to the people’s interests.

Every month we hold a public meeting to talk about the work we’re doing, reflect on why it matters, and plan the next steps. We invite new people to get involved and encourage current members to take leadership roles in our issue campaigns and base building.

If you want government to put human need and the health of our planet over corporate profits, we want you to join us in making it happen. Come to our next monthly meeting on September 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Please check out more details and RSVP HERE.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Andre Vasquez
‘Community Organizer (Reclaim Chicago), 40th Ward Neighbor
Call/Text 312.888.5099


In a producer’s Hollywood office 10 years ago… “Okay, so Sal, I got an idea for a blockbuster movie. First, a madman takes control of America’s nukes, while Nazis slowly take power, and the people fighting them are called terrorists. Then, see, not one, not two, but three biblical-size storms slam into America. We’re talkin’ freakin’ sharks in the streets of Houston! And then, and then, get this, and then the whole entire friggin’ West coast catches fire! Whaddya think, Sal?” “Ahhh, yer outta yer gourd, Max, No one would ever believe it!”

Defending the Defenders

A desperate warning. Hearing a lot of Liberals, the bend-over-backwards appeasers, like Thom Hartmann and WCPT‘s Ben Joravsky distancing themselves from Antifa in the fight against this unprecedented scourge and resurgence of fascism assailing our nation. This is a mistake and only makes us weaker and under greater threat from the forces of destruction. The fascists will not be pacified nor appeased by your compromising nature, just as their predecessors and architects in Germany in the 1930s and 40s were not appeased nor pacified by signs, slogans and diplomacy. Meet them on every front! the fascists believe this is their time, and a President tacitly supports them, while courting them quietly. They have their sights set on the country and power and are closer than ever to having it. Fight them every way and everywhere you find them. The country, your families and your life is at stake. Do not take these people lightly. They are dangerous and they are the enemy of the American people.

A Right not a Weapon

Never before in American history were the worst and most vile elements of our society protected with false claims that the First Amendment of the constitution was designed specifically for their hideous speech. It was not. Talk hosts and blustering politicians would have us believe that the First Amendment is designed to protect the basest, most intentionally and abusively  divisive speech. Telling a Nazi he is unwelcome, shouting down the white-supremacist’s antagonism of other races, religions and genders violates their freedom of expression we are told. That was not the intention of the First amendment.  It does not impinge upon civil and civilized freedoms to have guidelines and rules and expectations requiring people comport themselves with the values a society agrees upon for a functioning and respectful community.

There are always rules of conduct, particularly for acts and actions that a society deems derogatory, improper, overtly divisive and destructive. While admittedly that is a bit vague, to obtuse and intransigent minds, the reality is that societies and communities should, and indeed, must aggressively battle the forces of divisive and dangerous protagonists to civil society.

From the Nazis perspective then, urinating in public curtails the rights of the public urinate-or. No one would sanction discourse about the merits of Dr. Mengele’s data from experiments on Jewish children at Auschwitz. Highway billboards advertising explicit pornography might violate the self expression of the pornographer, yet no where in America is it allowed. Those who now champion the Nazis and White-supremacists, and those who refuse to unequivocally condemn them in the strongest terms, apart from spitting on the graves of millions, including hundreds of thousands of American veterans, of all those who opposed and fell victim to Hitler’s Nazi army are the forces of chaos whose defense of division and hate seek profit and power from that chaos.

Opposing them are millions of regular Americans. They represent the reality of a diverse America, united from shore to shore, all sharing its blessing and fully cognoscente of its shortcomings, while animated to the patriotic duty of correcting those shortcomings and the protection of its universal blessings. It is a perversion and a sickness that anyone, particularly someone assuming the mantle of a national leader, should ever equate those who stand against fascism, racism and hate with those who promote and proliferate in hate and antagonism.

Nazis and White supremacists are free to believe as they wish, in their own home and in their head, but the danger endemic to their sickness is as equally brutal, perverse and dangerous as someone yelling fire in a crowded theater. While no one with an ounce of civility, intelligence and reason would dare defend yelling fire in a  theater as a first amendment right neither should a civil, healthy, diverse and respectful society tolerate filth parading in the streets with messages that openly and gleefully promote its destruction.

The First amendment describes rights for civilized men and women in a civilized society. It is not a tool for a regression to a past unrealistic from that which America is now. It is not a weapon for those intent on unnecessarily and destructively acting and working for its destruction.