Like many idyllic towns in Middle America, Rockford is rife with political corruption, rotten with vice and immorality, and beset by criminal gangs who control an ever-growing drug industry and, in a good year, put Rockford ahead of Chicago in the number of murders per capita. Residents with long memories also remember articles in Life and the daily Rockford Register Star (1984) that celebrated Rockford as a leading center of Mafia activity in the United States. They even named names.
As Jeff Havens of the weekly Rock River Times has shown, the mob never went away, and the deliberate negligence of the Rockford city fathers may be costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in payment for waste disposal. The usual story of no-bid contracts for companies that contribute to campaign war chests is made even richer by the fact that one of the companies is descended from a firm once owned by an identified mob boss.
So, in such a town, it was a relief to see on the evening news that someone is finally cracking down on the mounting crime wave. A joint investigation of federal, state, and local authorities has succeeded, after two years of tough law-enforcement work, in shutting down seven massage parlors probably involved in prostitution. The ghosts of Wyatt Earp and J. Edgar Hoover are probably writhing in envy.
Before getting on to my main point,...