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What Chicagoans should know about Albuquerque

Sahem Jaber, the Iraqi woman who was beaten in a Muslim hate crime in Albuquerque
Sahem Jaber, the Iraqi woman who was beaten in a Muslim hate crime in Albuquerque
Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico state tourism officials say that one of the New Mexico tourism objectives for 2014 is to win over Chicago-dwelling travelers. While I now live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I am a Chicagoan by birth (Sox, not Cubs), so I would like to tell you some things you need to know about the current state of wellness of our state before you decide to visit or move to the Land of Enchantment.

Do you recall when our late great Mayor Rickard J. Daley once assured the public at the 1968 Democratic Convention that the Chicago police “isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder?” Well, get this: Albuquerque police officers seem to be doing just that – i.e., preserving disorder! According to a scathing review by the US Justice Department the APD has “engaged in a pattern of excessive force, too often using firearms and tasers against people who pose little to no danger, many of whom are mentally ill.” Albuquerque police have fatally shot 22 citizens since January 2010. The Times of London recently ran the headline “Albuquerque Police Force Deadlier than New York Police Department.” If that isn’t preserving disorder, what is?

Albuquerque’s Mayor Richard Berry in this very Daleyesque way commented on APD officers’ killing of a mentally ill homeless camper in the city’s foothills: “Well look someone died,” said Mayor Berry. “You see these things and anytime someone loses there life it’s just horrific, and it’s all the way around.” And Officers who are involved in a shooting can get reimbursed for up to $500 in hotel costs or travel expenses to get away from the public attention.

Do you also recall when Mayor Daley yelled this at Senator Abe Ribicoff of Connecticut when the Senator challenged Daley's use of force at that same convention? He said. “Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch, you lousy mother-fucker, go home!” How that made us feel at the time? Well, get this: an Iraqi woman refugee seeking peace away from the sectarian violence in her country was recently assaulted in her Albuquerque apartment. She was a hate crime victim of an attacker who punched her in her face and stomach, tore up her US citizenship papers, and yelled obscenities about Muslims. The lady wasn’t a Muslim. Nor was she a Jew. She was a Catholic, and like the Windy City, The Duke City is largely a Catholic town! “My mother just doesn’t feel safe over here, she never thought she would be in a bad situation over here,” said her 26-year-old son, who translated for her because she doesn’t speak English. Click here to read the ABC News report.

While sports have always been Chicago’s “drug of choice,” Albuquerque’s unfortunately is now heroin. “Albuquerque has a large heroin problem. One of the largest I’ve encountered,” said Assistant Special Agent Keith Brown. “The face of heroin is changing, because cartels and drug dealers are targeting high school students in affluent areas.” Click here to read about it. Additionally, RE sports, the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, fired Isotopes catcher Miguel Olivo for biting off part of the ear of one of his teammates. Click here to read about it.

A New Mexico man recently beat, stabbed, and threw his mother off a bridge into the Rio Grande because he believed she was a “clone,” he told police .

On the positive side, a spinoff of the TV series "Breaking Bad," which is about an Albuquerque high school teacher who becomes a meth dealer, titled "Better Call Saul," about Walter White's shady attorney, will also be filmed in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Film Office recently announced.

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