The thousands of shootings, the murders, the carnage, the not-enough-cops, the fetal thing, the politicians in denial, you’ve heard it, or you’ve seen the angry White House tweets.
But now an arrogant (virtual) billionaire is getting into Rahm’s (virtual) face and (virtually) slapping the smirk right off it in a new TV crime drama called “APB.”
Gideon Reeves is the brilliant engineer boss of Reeves Industries. He takes over a Chicago police district to fight crime with technology, a cellphone app, drones, high-tech Cadillacs and panache.
Ayn Rand meets Rahm Emanuel meets Captain Nemo meets Donald Trump.
And thanks to the deep pockets of the tech billionaire, the Chicago police get a fleet of souped-up Cadillac squad cars, Taser blaster guns, tight-fitting superhero uniforms that stop bullets and an army of drones!
Oh, and an espresso machine that costs several thousand dollars, so cops can daintily sip espresso from tiny china cups.
“All Pure Bull(bleep),” writes retired Chicago SWAT team boss Bob Angone, who watched as my technical adviser and thinks the show’s an insulting, stupid waste of time. “Pure and total.”
“I’d rather watch cooking shows,” said Peter Bella, aka The Cooking Cop, who can even make chicken feet look tasty but who hates cop dramas as much as I hate reporter shows.
But somebody has to weigh in on how even our most ridiculous fantasies can tell us about ourselves and our political culture. And that, unfortunately, is me.
If somebody doesn’t weigh in, well, Elizabeth Warren might pull on Hillary’s pantsuits one leg at a time and run for president on the Gender Identity Politics ticket, thanks to the stupidity of Mitch “Silence Her” McConnell.
Is that fantasy?
Or, maybe some rich Democrat named Kennedy might run for governor of Illinois, bravely defend Democratic Boss Madigan and blame all the state’s economic woes on Republicans. And then later run for president of a dreamland nation called “Camelot Too.” Is that a fantasy?
Please, enough of fantasy. Let’s talk “APB.”
The haters who are gonna hate and demand “reality” in their TV cop dramas will no doubt tell us the geography is all screwed up and the writers have no idea about Chicago.
But they did have the “mayor” character backing down at a public hearing like a complete wimp.
What happens is that Gideon Reeves, fresh off another deal making him hundreds of millions by the minute, tells his driver to stop the car so he can have a smoke.
They pull up to a South Side corner store in what Hollywood once called “the ghetto,” and after he buys a whole pack for just one cigarette — the idiot could have bought a loosey — an armed robber shows up: A white guy robber in a leather jacket, with shaved head and facial hair — looking like all the other white-guy criminals in the home security alarm commercials.
The billionaire’s friend gets gut shot. So the billionaire dials 911.
911: “911, hold please … the operator will be with you shortly … hold please”
The friend can’t hold, he’s bleeding out and dies. Later, an angry Gideon Reeves confronts the mayor at a public hearing and says the mayor’s policing strategy is crap.
The mayor, who looks somewhat like Rahm, tells Reeves that if he’s having issues with police, “There are avenues you can take.”
“Those avenues run straight into the bureaucratic black hole that is your office, Mr. Mayor!” Reeves says.
Then Reeves demands he be given the 13th District to run.
Mayor: “Excuse me?”
Reeves explains what we know: The city of Chicago has a budget problem. Reeves says he’ll fill the city’s budget hole out of his own huge checkbook if he’s given the 13th to run.
“You turn me down, and I will finance all your opponents in the next election,” Reeves says. “And you can explain to the taxpayers why you turned down almost 100 million in free money. And then, when you lose, I will present the same thing to the next mayor.”
He gives the mayor exactly 8.5 minutes to consider his proposal before he holds a news conference because, “I have reporters outside, and I don’t want to be rude.”
Naturally, the mayor character caves — just as if Chicago Teachers Union boss Karen Lewis yelled at him — then bravely runs away.
What this nonsense is really about is getting us used to the idea that drones and cameras will spy on us in the name of security and even shock us with a Taser when we step out of line.
This is security technology as god, offered to a nation that once prized liberty.
But sometimes we expect too much of high tech after watching these “realistic” police shows.
Recently at a Starbucks, a reader recognized me and whispered there’d just been a robbery.
A man had walked in, demanded a glass of water, sipped it, a woman created a distraction and the guy stole another woman’s purse. The victim was a law student, mugged by reality.
Because the crime happened on Michigan Avenue, two patrol officers and a sergeant walked in within minutes.
“We’ve saved the cup he drank from!” a witness said. “No one has touched it. His prints are still on it. You can run his prints!”
Many sipped lattes and nodded in agreement. Just run the prints! Run the prints!
The sergeant gave me a weak smile and shook his head.
And you didn’t need technology to read his mind.
Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast with John Kass and WGN’s Jeff Carlin here: www.wgnradio.com/category/wgn-plus/thechicagoway.