Chicago mail carriers: We'd rather you not get your mail than get shot

Chicago mail carriers: We'd rather you not get your mail than get shot

You know the standard United States Postal Service motto, right? Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. But that assurance can still be made null and void in some cases, as you’ll note that they didn’t say anything about gunfire. That may be the case shortly in the Windy City, where postal carriers are indicating that delivering the mail in a hailstorm is something they’re totally willing to do, but not in a hail of bullets. And in some parts of Chicago, particularly on the South Side, the worst-case scenario has already played out, with one carrier having been shot while simply making her deliveries for the day. As far as the rest of the team is concerned, enough is quickly becoming enough. (CBS Chicago)

Chicago postal workers, saying it is too dangerous to deliver the mail, are threatening to stop delivering in some neighborhoods one week after a mail carrier was shot on her route.

Postal workers and community organizers joined together for a prayer vigil Thursday near the scene of last week’s shooting.

The 24-year-old mail carrier remains hospitalized. She was shot four times during a drive-by shooting in the Burnside neighborhood.

There is a $50,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooters, but there haven’t been any breaks in the case thus far. And let’s be clear about something here. This wasn’t a case of the postal worker causing trouble for herself or losing awareness of her surroundings. She was following the route she took every day when a group of young men came by in a car at relatively high speed and simply opened fire. It’s believed she wasn’t even the target.

And why would she be? Who tries to kill a postal carrier? What we’re almost undoubtedly going to learn eventually (if the case is ever solved) is that this was just another in a long string of gang warfare shootings. These battles always produce collateral damage, including young children. And now they’ve nearly killed a mail carrier. As a result, her colleagues are talking about stopping deliveries to the neighborhoods most affected by the violence.

The local gang-bangers clearly weren’t feeling terribly sympathetic about the worker’s condition as she lay in the hospital. Less than two days later, more of these thugs went around and shot more carriers with paintball guns filled with red fluid. This cruel trick made them believe they were being gunned down as well. We’re not talking about any sort of citizens in need of public services here. These are animals.

As for the potential work stoppage, can the carriers simply refuse to make deliveries in the neighborhoods plagued by the most gang violence? It’s still technically illegal for USPS workers to go on strike, although there was a wildcat strike in 1970 that drew a lot of attention. But can you imagine any politician at the municipal, state or federal level issuing some sort of order telling them to go back out in the line of fire to make their deliveries? At a minimum, they should all have full body armor and sidearms, but that sort of approach would raise a new batch of questions.

Parts of Chicago have never been safe on the best of days and the gangs in that city are well known to the police. But as with so much else in 2020, the unrest in the streets is leading to new levels of boldness and atrocity among the lawless. It is the responsibility of the municipal government and the state to keep the streets safe for the law-abiding citizens, including the postal carriers. They are failing in this job miserably and it is the responsibility of the people to replace them at the ballot box. If they can’t manage to do that, they shouldn’t expect conditions to improve.

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