Too frequently for comfort, the Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Police Department is riven with cops sworn to uphold the law but who have joined or are consorting with groups whose views are inimical to proper law enforcement and the public good.
One such group is the Oath Keepers, which has ties to far-right extremists (“Chicago police with extremist ties have troubling records” — Oct. 22-24 editions).
What could go wrong? One shudders to think.
Extremist groups are extremist groups: ticking time bombs liable to cause harm eventually, because they are openly or secretly dedicated to scurrilous principles that are inherently antisocial, if not outright racist.
If newly installed police Supt. Larry Snelling isn’t savvy enough to fire any cop associated with them or any group like them, he is as unfit to head the department as were his predecessors who likewise ignored them as a fifth column inside the department.
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Sooner or later, members of that group shall embarrass the department, the superintendent and the city of Chicago, and likely cost big bucks to settle. It’s the nature of the beast, as the saying goes. Old saying: No man can serve two masters. The same for cops. Nor should future applicants with such ties be hired as cops. They are a clear and present danger to normal society and responsible law enforcement.
Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park
No place for Oath Keeper cops
My thanks and congratulations to the reporters who have given us the story about the CPD members of the Oath Keepers. Excellent reporting and facts that all Chicagoans should be aware of. There should be no place in the CPD or any other city agency for these bigoted, racist, selfish people. We need people who care about all people regardless of race, color, creed or sexual preference.
Jennifer Miller, Gold Coast
Find alternatives to guaranteed income program
Mayor Brandon Johnson’s interest in bringing back a pilot guaranteed income program appears ill-advised, to say the least. Five thousand residents have already each been given $500 per month for a year’s time, and the only evaluation reported in Saturday’s edition of the Sun-Times was apparently based solely on their descriptions of how they spent the money (on food, bills and medical debt) and “that cash had a positive impact on their mental health.” No kidding!
No rational and caring person among us denies the terrible effects of poverty and prejudice on the people living with such, and I, a fellow Chicagoan, want to help. Instead of “freebies,” however, I suggest Chicago spend those tax dollars on three different activities that, combined, would certainly help people help themselves out of poverty.
First, construct a program that provides local leadership in starting small local businesses. Second, create local job training programs to support those local businesses, and third, set up community programs to help families prosper and manage their own lives more effectively.
It wouldn’t take lots of extra funding or thinking to combine these activities into one program to eliminate poverty. Most important, though, is this blend of community-based programs also assuredly promotes self-help along with city help, two sides of the same coin.
Jeanine Tobin, Galewood
Why are guns so easy for toddlers to use?
Wednesday’s Sun-Times ran yet another story where a 2-year-old girl shot herself with a gun (“Dad charged after girl, 2, shoots herself in South Shore”). There are so many different viewpoints when it comes to “gun control” that it seems like agreement is almost never attainable.
One thing I’ve never heard discussed is how easy it is to pull a trigger. It seems to me that no toddler should be strong enough to pull the trigger of a gun. Even with “safeties,” these guns are injuring children. There need to be talks between manufacturers, safety advocates and any other interested parties on how to produce guns where the trigger is harder to pull.
John Farrell, DeKalb
Put world pressure on Hamas to release hostages
The diabolical, unthinkable atrocities perpetrated by Hamas is a reminder of Nazi Germany, which I never thought would enter our psyche again. The ongoing nightmare for the 200 hostages being held in Gaza, including women, children, babies and Holocaust survivors, is a constant reminder.
Even though the magnitude of the Holocaust is much greater than the current tragedy, the world’s reaction is a snapshot of humanity at any point in time. During the Holocaust, most of the world, including the U.S., turned their backs on the Jews and closed their borders.
Now the world has an opportunity of a partial second chance of sorts. Hostages are being held in Gaza while their lives and those of their loved ones hang in the balance, including Americans, Europeans and other foreign nationals. The countries of the world could bring all of their diplomatic might to pressure the terrorists to release or at least allow Red Cross visitation under prisoner-of-war procedures.
The European Union along with the U.S. and other countries could help free the hostages by introducing the issue to world organizations such as the U.N. as well as the Hague, world court and other international bodies.
Israel is a small country that has given much to the world, including first responders to world catastrophes, from floods to earthquakes to tsunamis, and even has helped enemies. They have treated Hamas leaders’ relatives in the best hospitals in Israel.
Helping Israel free the hostages will not affect any country’s immigration, housing or job market. They only want these nations to stand with them for good against evil, put diplomatic and economic pressure on the sponsors of terror, and stand up for Israel at international forums.
The countries of the world now have a second chance by rescuing the hostages, These nations, through their status on the world stage, economic might and diplomatic power and connections, can help save lives. I hope they don’t repeat the mistakes of the past, and I hope they take full advantage of their second opportunity.
Larry Frazin, Evanston
Help Israel defeat Hamas
I champion members of the American government for waking up to the death of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old from the Plainfield area allegedly murdered by his landlord who turned Islamophobic following the news he’d seen of Hamas’ terrorism.
The sooner the conflict ends between Israel and Hamas, the sooner innocent lives can be saved from chains of prejudice, the sooner false rhetoric surrounding Muslims can be put to an end, and the sooner marginalized groups all around the world, even in Chicago, can stop viewing their identity as a burden.
I urge U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to support the budget to maintain aid for Israel in defeating Hamas. America will either be remembered as the bystander or savior in cleansing the roots of global prejudice. History is being written as I speak, with one of its pens in our government’s hand.
Deepak Peddinti, Aurora
The pain of pregnancy loss
Thank you for publishing Katie Drews’ opinion piece on the need to draw attention to and raise awareness about pregnancy loss (“October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Can we please talk about it?”).
Before reading her Oct. 24 column, I didn’t know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but I understand too well what she described as a “heartbreak like no other.”
My third and fourth babies’ hearts never had a chance to beat. Even people who know what I went through when I lost my pregnancies don’t get these are losses I continue to live with and always will.
As a fellow writer (and former journalist) and as a fellow woman who’s suffered multiple miscarriages, I am grateful Drews bravely put to words some of what she experienced and why we need to make it easier to talk about pregnancy loss. And I’m grateful to Sun-Times editors for publishing her piece and helping raise awareness of this issue, which affects so many women and families. It helps to know we’re not alone.
Emily Dagostino, Oak Park
Praise for the DMV (really)
On Oct. 19, my 90-year-old mother and I walked, nay glided, into a recently opened seniors-only, full-service secretary of state facility at the Evanston Civic Center. From the moment we parked to not even 30 minutes later when we left having accomplished all we intended, we were practically giddy.
Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.
As we entered the first floor, stair-less entryway, we passed an elderly man walking with a cane on his way out, telling the pleasant security guard how painless and easy his experience had been. “Really?” I asked. “Really!”
We entered, and Dan warmly welcomed us with a smile, “Hello! How can I help you today?” He asked to go through the documents with us to make sure all was in order. He complimented my mom on her organization. He told us to have a seat and wait just a few minutes until her name was called. I was ready to tuck in with my Kindle.
Not a minute later, someone walked over to the maybe eight of us scattered among a few rows, patiently calling, “Ruthie? You need to take a vision test for your license.”
Three steps away, my mother was guided to the vision test device, and before I knew it, my mom was being escorted to the parking lot for her road test. I was so flustered at the speed and efficiency that I accidentally gave my mom my car keys instead of hers.
She walked back in a minute later and with a teasing smile, loud enough for all to hear said, “Suzy, you really don’t want me to take this test, do you?” We exchanged the keys.
Overheard while I waited:
“Evelyn, how many years young are you?”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Hernandez, take all the time you need.”
My mother returned, bragging she did very well. When she asked who made this paradise happen, someone pointed to the picture of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. “He did a good thing. We should thank him.”
Thank you, Secretary Giannoulias. You have done a good thing.
Suzy Weinberg, Lake View
Rent business facilities for migrants
In Chicago, there are several empty AT&T/SBC telephone central office buildings. As winter rapidly approaches, is it possible to rent these facilities for the migrants?
There are many advantages. We will not have to build tent cities, and we can better organize migrant programs such as providing food, shelter and clothing, day care, language classes, and introduction to American life and history.
James Goodwin, South Shore