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  •  Local coverage (4.00)
    As one might expect, the Chicago papers have been all over this tragedy. Here's a brief compilation of stuff from the two big dailies. The executive summary is that the police don't know who did it, everyone suspects people associated with Hale, and the city is up in arms. Most of these quotes are from opinion pieces; there aren't too many hard facts beyond the tragically obivous yet.

    -dms

    Chicago Tribune:

    Columnist John Kass:

    We're also tempted to connect Hale to the killings. Hale thought Judge Lefkow was a Jew, or married a Jew, and told me so, when I interviewed him in the federal building, just minutes before he was seized by FBI agents and charged with conspiring to have Judge Lefkow killed. He didn't know that the Lefkows are Episcopalians. Neither did I then, when he spat his hatred upon her.

    Editorial:

    - Zealots and revolutionaries, by contrast, can be extraordinarily dangerous. They do have resources and mobility; many emerge from society's mainstream and would fit in anywhere. But because they don't have lucrative criminal enterprises they're desperate to protect, the government doesn't have as much leverage over them. Put short, they have less reason to pursue the civilized versions of cops and robbers. That relative freedom from fear of a crippling federal crackdown only adds to their potential lethality.

    [...]

    Judges, prosecutors and witnesses understand their vulnerabilities. How do they function? Many say they push the chance of retribution out of, or at least to the back of, their minds. It's not that they look danger in the eye and smile in disdain, upper lip curled, the way a screenwriter would script courage in the face of rational fear. Instead, they try to ignore the danger.

    Why? Because the alternative is paralysis. One former prosecutor of gang murderers stresses that no level of police or federal agency protection can certifiably protect families like that of Judge Lefkow. To think otherwise is folly.

    Reaction from what's left of Hale's group. Link:

    A purported member of Hale's group from Palatine posted this message Tuesday on the Vanguard News Network message board: "While I certainly understand that we are not supposed to be advocating illegal activities, there is nothing illegal or harmful in being happy about this incident. I can barely contain my glee.

    Chicago Sun-Times:

    News on the investigation. Link:

    Hale has not been named a suspect in the murders. Yet subpoenas were being issued to "every kind of organization that has absolutely anything to do with a white supremacist or hate group," a source said.

    Commentary:


    The symbolism is supposed to tell us that justice is blind, that our system of laws is impartial, that all of us will be treated equally in its enforcement, whether we are victims or perpetrators, without regard to time or money or station in life.

    But that's just not true.

    Justice isn't always blind, sometimes for legitimate reasons.

    Sometimes a crime demands to be taken more seriously than the rest, to rise to the top of the stack, based only on the identity of the victim. On occasion, even the killing of one person can be more important than the killing of another, especially when the act is an attack on the fabric of our community.

    In such an instance, justice must be swift and certain and clear-eyed and righteous.

    That's why the murders of the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow demand our attention and society's strongest response.

    We cannot allow criminals to intimidate our judges, prosecutors and police with violence or threats against their families, if that turns out to be the situation in the Lefkow case. These are the people who are our first and last lines of defense, and if there is no security for them, there can be no security for the rest of us.

    Editorial:

    Police caution us not to jump to any rash conclusions about the murders of Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother. Still, there's not a soul in Chicago who isn't wondering whether the shocking slayings of Michael Lefkow and 89-year-old Donna Humphrey aren't somehow connected to white supremacist Matthew Hale. Though Hale himself is in jail, he has a following of depraved disciples who live to hate and who embrace violence.

    No doubt the police's advice is the right one for authorities to give. Still, the coincidence factor here is too high not to inspire suspicions. These suspicions arise from the simple fact that Hale is now sitting in the Metropolitan Correction Center under ultra-tight security awaiting sentencing for trying to arrange Judge Lefkow's murder. The suspicions are amplified by the many noxious hate Web sites providing detailed information about Lefkow and her family -- a further reminder that the Internet for all its wonders also can be a cesspool of racist and anti-Semitic venom in which Hale and his ilk swim.

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