Tribes punish

No better account of neighborhood tribalism in the big city is readily available than this in Chi Trib about the Bridgeport Squealer who talked to Feds and even wore a wire when meeting with another Bridgeporter, both in City Hall employ.

There were harassing phone calls and slashed car tires, [his lawyer] said. There was also graffiti on [his] house. And finally, last Easter morning, there was a large bottle tossed through the glass front door of the home he shares with his wife and three young children . . .

. . . .

[His] wife, Christine, who also grew up in the neighborhood . . . wrote of the couple's loss of friends and said that most of the harassment was kept from their twin 6-year-old boys and their 4-year-old until the bottle was thrown through their door and the noise was so loud that one of the twins awoke crying.

Christine Katalinic wrote that she was infuriated. She said she ran to his room to find "a frightened young boy sweating under his covers in fear." Even now, they are sometimes afraid to be downstairs alone, she wrote.

AP in Sun-Times:

Katalinic and his wife and children became the target of community harassment that ranged from phone calls in the middle of the night to slashed tires and graffiti.

[Judge] Coar said he could understand if Katalinic lost friends because he had violated the law.

''But for people to turn against him or any other person because they owned up to a crime and breached this unwritten code of silence is shameful -- absolutely shameful,'' Coar said.

Not what we usually mean by grassroots democracy.

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