Prompted by the mismanagement and implied corruption of Alderman Pat Dowell, the sweeping epidemic of railroad firearm heists in Chicago has justifiably reached national prominence and more importantly pierced the influential home turf of the sports fan, thanks to the criminal actions of a National Basketball Association alum.
Liberty Park Press shared the plight of the honorable Alderman in late November of 2016 and her reckless approach when addressing a rash of rail yard burglaries featuring a large number of missing guns and culminating in hints of plausible extortion, which prompted a thorough investigation by the ATF. There were reports that Dowell was asked by Norfolk Southern Railroad officials to turn the other cheek to a series of break ins and burglaries at rail yards through out the city.
The April 2015 robbery of 111 handguns from freight cars bound for Spokane, Washington prompted a civic response to the issue of security of the rail yards and once again rekindled the notion that Chicago’s high crime and murder rate is due to the noxious concoction of illegal guns, a police force hamstrung by politicization and incessant bureaucracy and stringent gun laws enforced on law abiding citizens. As the majority of the city’s rail freight depots are located in high crime and gang infested areas of the South and West side, the logical approach to minimizing robberies would be the implementation of increased security measures and the presence of law enforcement personal.
However, the idea of “sensible” and the members of Chicago city government are obviously incompatible. Maybe, the headlines generated by a former professional athlete coerced to the dark side of life will spur increased public interest and thus change the weathered election patterns of a beleaguered voting populace? Enter baller Nate Drigger. According to the Associated Press, only 16 firearms from the 2015 plunder were officially recovered by authorities as of April 2017, until the former NBA player and aspiring star was contacted by law enforcement officials.
Driggers was arrested and charged in September of 2015 with illegally possessing 30 of the stolen guns, unofficially expanding the total of .45 caliber Ruger “freight car” revolvers safely snagged from the streets. WREX-TV reports that after a lengthy trial, the 43-year-old Driggers was found guilty Thursday of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, thus increasing the official total of confiscated weapons to a whopping 46.
Born in Chicago, the once NBA roster member turned crook, enjoyed a cup of coffee with the Boston Celtics in 1996-1997 and appeared in 23 career games. In a society with a love affair for pro sports and bent on awarding second chances, there should exist a semblance of empathy for a young man attempting to overcome a neighborhood and culture, however in this case a complete lack of evidence towards accountability staunches any hope of an uplifting resolution and a “coming to terms” moment. After multiple attempts failed at resurrecting a career in the pros, Driggers turned to crime and first showed up on police radar screens in 2009 when his Air-Jordan counterfeit shoe empire was raided and shutdown by authorities. Obviously, not deterred by the threat of criminal and legal sanctions, the 6’5 shooting guard raised the ante and turned his attention to a reliable illegal firearms cottage industry spawned by failed policy and lack of leadership.
The city of Chicago and former NBA busts should form a powerful collaboration which feeds the entrepreneurial spirit of the failed sports star turned victim and adheres to the local supply and demand free market principles of the criminal underworld and seemingly inexhaustible source of firearms. A possible slogan for the venture resounds high above the shores of Lake Michigan and the vast crooked network of concrete, steel, freeways, railroads and buildings funded by questionable enterprising coercion tactics through out the decades reads as follows – “Catch the action of failed stars scoring at long range and deft thefts from rail cars. It’s Fantastic!”
Read the full WREX-TV story here.