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Chapter Nineteen of Keeping Score in America: Two Heroes of Chicago
By Michael Moriarty
War zones always create heroes and Chicago is a war zone.
It has been a war zone since the whiskey wars of Prohibition, all the way up to the gang violence that terrorizes the "Toddlin' Town" today.
My profoundly Irish family cut its American teeth in Chicago. The Moriarty's began their American experience in that city's South Side. My two great uncles? One died defending Chicago as a policeman and the other drank himself to death.
My grandfather George Moriarty? 50 years in American league baseball as a player, coach, manager and umpire for the American League.
Tough. My grandfather was tough.
He and his brothers had to be tough. Chicago is still the toughest and most dangerous city in America, which most likely means the toughest city in the entire world.
This article is a tribute to two of Chicago's most miraculous survivors: Pat Hickey and Miles Turner.
America as Home of The Brave!
Why? Pat and Miles live in Chicago! That alone demands the heart of a lion.
Pat Hickey is one of wounded Miles Turner's teachers at Leo High School.
A year ago this month, Miles was shot five times by gangbangers while trying to protect his cousin. A year ago, Dan McGrath of the Chicago Sun-Times described the encounter and its aftermath and in appropriately agonizing detail.
Pat Hickey teaches at Leo High School and, with the help of Leo's Jesuit leadership, he and Miles have been setting indomitably resolute and resolutely indomitable role models for the Leo students to look up to.
Tough and evil are redundant and an historically doomed pair.
Tough ‘n Good and/or Good ‘n Tough are the miraculous adjectives for Pat and Miles, Miles and Pat. They are both good ‘n tough, tough ‘n good.
There's obviously a movie there somewhere.
Pat and I have been corresponding for quite awhile. He knows my family originated in Chicago and makes sure I don't ever forget my roots there.
Pat loves Chicago.
If he didn't, why would he stay there?
I always knew my family history in Chicago but I'd never comprehended the "Legend of Chicago" until I performed in two plays by the equally legendary German Communist, Bertolt Brecht.
Brecht, in a predictably Communist way, seemed to have idolized the lawlessness of Chicago, setting not only his play, Jungle of Cities there but also his other frightening parable about Adolf Hitler, Arturo Ui.
1930's Berlin and 1930's Chicago!
Both legendary war zones.
Why has Third Millennium Chicago returned to the 1930's? You'd have to ask Pat Hickey that question and I'm not even sure he looks at his hometown that way.
He'd simply say, "That's Chicago, pal!"
When the likes of Pat and Miles do leave Chicago, Chicago becomes Detroit… and we all know what has happened to my old hometown.
As Lily Tomlin said, "I left Detroit when I found out where I was."
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.