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Lumes Pancake House in Morgan Park on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side is a regular stop for the after-church crowd. If you don’t know it, you’ve been someplace similar. Friendly. Busy. Open for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant adjoins a residential neighborhood. A hot dog stand and sports center sit a block away, both frequented by moms with strollers and kids on bikes.

If you were at the pancake house Sunday just before 2 p.m., eating eggs or French toast under the outdoor tent, you know what happened: another of this summer’s brazen shootings. It was an unhinged scene from Chicago 2020 that brings to mind—much as you might wish to deny it—the notorious Chicago of Al Capone’s era.

According to police and Tribune reporting, a white Audi pulled up to the restaurant. Three men headed into the tent and started firing.

Does the danger make you think twice about living in Chicago? “The victim was 100 percent targeted,” said Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, as if to assure skittish residents that the restaurant slaying wasn’t a random act. Not that his assertion would help much. How are Chicagoans supposed to keep accepting reassurances that the city is strong and recoverable?

Chicago is not lawless, but mayhem feels like it’s spiraling out of control. The police chief and Mayor Lori Light-foot aren’t running away from the problem. They know the city’s in the grip of something frightening and frustrating. Brown has reconstituted the department’s roving anti-gang task force and says he sees progress. Killings have decreased 50 percent and shootings have decreased 15 percent over the past six weeks. So this is . . . progress?

Print Headline: War zone

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