February 8, 2008
When you run with a mob, Tom Fitzpatrick explained, stay up front and
in the street.
Or the rocks everybody's throwing might hit you.
The Chicago Sun-Times has always taken pride in being of service to
the public -- and who can't use a few tips on how to run with a mob?
Fitzpatrick took just that sardonic approach in his Oct. 9, 1969,
story describing his night of running in the streets -- as a
reporter, mind you -- during Chicago's infamous Days of Rage.
His story won the Pulitzer Prize, and that got him a daily column.
The brilliance of Fitzpatrick's story was in his decision not to
weigh in on the merits of the Vietnam War -- the nominal reason for
the Days of Rage protests -- but on the protesters' destructive
tactics. He presented the protesters as childish, not principled.
"One girl, who can't be more than 17, has a heavy stick about 3 feet
long in her hand," Fitzpatrick wrote. "She displayed an amazing
technique with the vent windows of cars parked along the street: She
got the first seven she tried, and the man in the white helmet behind
her got four back windows in a row before missing one."