The Minutes of Our Last Meeting – Bridgeport Neighborhood Watch Tackles Gang Violence

The Minutes of Our Last Meeting – Bridgeport Neighborhood Watch Tackles Gang Violence


By Joe Janes


Bridgeport Neighborhood Watch

Community Room, District 9 Chicago Police Station

Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 6:30pm

Attendance: Peggy (Organizer), Joe (guest speaker), Vince, Maureen, Andy, Owen, and some guy that I think is homeless

Notes kept by Peggy. Cupcakes from Cermak Produce.

Peggy – Okay, everybody. Thank you for coming out on a Tuesday night. Welcome to the Bridgeport Neighborhood Watch Meeting. We meet once a month. We share tips on keeping our neighborhood safe. The police have been nice to let us use their community room. They also leave us alone. We have a special guest tonight. Mr. Joe Decker. Retired. Who lives over on Lituanica near 33rd. I asked him to come in to speak to us because he told me he has been doing a great job deterring gang violence in his area. 

Joe – Thanks, Peggy. Before I begin, please look at this video I made. It’s short. Won’t take long. 


Joe - Poor Fred Rogers. Looks like ruffians have taken over his neighborhood. He looks bitter. Bitter and dead.

Hello, Neighbors.

Like you, I live on the south side. Ooh, scary. If you are to believe the news, you’d think I lived in an underground bunker and never risked sticking my head out of my glorified hole. Truth is, my neck of the neighborhood is safe. It’s safe because of people like me. 

Gangs are like cockroaches. You get them and, sure, you can call Orkin and spend a lot of money, but that’s their job. They don’t want to kill ALL the cockroaches. Just enough to make you think they did something. They leave a few to fester so they have return business. You want to squish all the bugs, you have to strap on your rubbers and stomp on them yourself. 

How do you keep your neck of the neighborhood safe?

Follow the golden rule.

“If you see something, say something”. 

I have that tattooed on my inner thighs. Gave it the old stick and poke myself. Gang bangers try to mark their territory like the feral creatures they are. Just like scaring off a wild beast, you have to get all alpha male – or alpha lady- and let them know who’s boss. A few weeks ago, I saw some gang graffiti and you better believe I said something. I called my neighbor Phil. I said to him, “Phil. Guess what I saw? Gang bangers done tagged the underpass. Has some flying yellow bears, fluffy clouds, and some shooting stars on it and takes up the whole length of the tunnel wall.” Well, this got Phil riled up. He hates gang bangers more than I do. We went by the Ace Hardware, bought several gallons of eggshell white and gave that wall a new coat of paint. I have yet to see any bangers hanging around there. You’re welcome. 

You have seen those signs in people’s windows that say, “We Call Police”? I made my own sign. “I Call Me.” I am the police. I’m not. Officially. But I am. I am the self-appointed cop on my block. I have several guns and so does Phil. We have more guns than appendages to hold them. If I see you while I lean out my second story apartment window and you look suspicious – hoodie, walking, wearing Nikes – well, I’m going to come down and have a speak to your face with my gun at the ready.  

Illinois doesn’t have a “Stand Your Ground” law, yet, but it’s my God-given right to defend myself and no court in the land will convict you for doing that. You aim your phone or a bag of Skittles at me, your cold, dead lips will be kissing the pavement. Adios, my brothuh. Over half the states in our country have a “Stand Your Ground” law. Snowflakes complain that it has led to an increase in homicides. Duh. That means it’s working. 

Thinking of moving into my neighborhood, banger? Think again. If we peg you for gang activity, you are not going to know what hit you. First, we are going to put barricades on your block. Then, early on a Saturday morning when you are trying to sleep from your nocturnal criminal shenanigans, we’ll set up a grill, a bouncy house, and blast music from The New 93.9 Lite FM – The best variety from the 80s, 90s, and Now for Chicago. We will Rick Roll your ass out of your crib and onto the curb. You can call the real police, if you want. They’re just going to tell you to be a good neighbor and enjoy the par-tay. Pack your bags and grab a hot dog on your way out. Don’t try anything funny. Phil will be inside an inflatable castle with his AR-15 aimed right at your head – stomach-head-stomach….

You might be saying, “Joe. This all sounds too dangerous. Why not let the city handle it?” Well, the problem there is that the city has its collective head shoved up its ass all the way to the curve of its big shoulders. Ram Emanuel closed so many public schools that he may as well have set up a gang recruitment center in city hall. You can leave it to the cops, but they don’t do anything until something has happened. They end up shooting up the block more than the bangers. What I am talking about here are preemptive strikes. 

Afterschool activities do help keep kids off the street and that’s where the city has truly failed. Ram’s Readers? Ha. Kids don’t want to read a book. Hell, I don’t know anyone who does. Knowledge is power? Well, I know-ledge this. My gun can cut a bad guy at the knees in two seconds whereas my copy of John Grisham’s latest is only going to bounce off him like a DVD because I don’t read books. I wait for the movie. 

It’s my neighborhood. It’s where I live. I want to keep my friends safe. I want to keep my family safe and will, if they come back. 

You got bugs in your house? Buy a gas mask and bug bomb them yourself. Got trash in your street gutters? Pick it up, take it out on Thursday. Dogs pooping in your yard, buy a pooper scooper. And a gun. They shouldn’t be pooping in your yard. 

I tell people, you want to live in a safe place? Move to Bridgeport. All are welcome. 

Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?

Unless you’re a Latin King, Black Disciple, or an abortion-loving social democrat, then stay the hell out. 

Any Questions?

Officer Murray: I have a few questions. Come with me, Sir. Keep your hands where I can see them.

Peggy: I think we’ll call it a night. Help yourself to cupcakes!


Can you see Phil? If you were a bad guy, you’d already be dead.

Can you see Phil? If you were a bad guy, you’d already be dead.

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