Preparing for the Fourth of July Weekend, Chicago Police were cautiously optimistic. The two previous Fourth of July Weekends saw a decline in shootings. A recently conducted sting operation on that preceding Friday arrested 58 potential shooters. Top police brass recruited 1,300 additional police officers to work each day of the holiday weekend. Chicago also received support from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for its weekend peacekeeping mission. But by the end of the 2017 Fourth of July Weekend, 102 people had been shot in Chicago, 15 were killed, and the 12,000 officers of the Chicago Police Department were out-manned, out-gunned, dispirited, beleaguered and resigned.

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Are we asking the Chicago Police Department to do what no police department can do?

We are asking the Chicago Police Department to make up for a century of Chicago being the most segregated big city in America with all the associated ills. We want the police to compensate for schools that have failed to properly educate hundreds of thousands of black students. We want the police to serve as spiritual guides for wayward youth when ministers and pastors in our faith organizations don’t.

We are asking the police to substitute for many decades of bad parenting. We want the police to mitigate the fact that 89 percent of young black men between 16 and 19 are out of school, out of work, hopeless and desperate. We want the police to fix economically devastated communities, which even economists can’t do. We want police to act as social workers to diagnose communities’ problems, and devise and enact viable solutions to address those problems.

On top of all that, we want the police to stop young black men from killing mostly other young black men!

The police are not miracle workers; they are police. Their primary training and function is to serve and protect people in the city of Chicago. Instead, our society expects the police to be responsible for that over which they have no control. We put the police in a no-win situation and then blame them when they fail. They will never succeed in their core mission because we have expanded their mission far beyond its original and logical scope.

Yes, police need to stop shooting young black men in the back. Yes, police need to change the way they patrol most African-American communities. Yes, police need additional and higher quality training. Yes, police need to work better and more cooperatively with the communities they serve.

Even so, the police can’t stop the violence that emanates from our households, our blocks, our neighborhoods and our children’s spirits. They cannot be mental health professionals, drug counselors and surrogate parents while preventing crime and apprehending rapists, robbers and murders. By being charged to do both, the police don’t do either well.

We must stop asking and expecting police to do what they cannot do.

Phillip Jackson,
founder and chairman of the board, The Black Star Project

It’s Illinois leaders’ turn to foot the bill

As a taxpayer I am sick and tired of footing the bill for politicians’ ego battles. During the two-plus years of the budget stalemate, Illinois has racked up billions of dollars of interest on unpaid bills. Now the taxpayers are expected to pay for this via an income tax increase. Never mind that Illinois should have adopted a progressive income tax years ago, which would be much more equitable. I think Gov. Bruce Rauner, Speaker Mike Madigan and the rest of the political egomaniacs should be footing the bill for the interest debt and not the already-strapped taxpayers of the State of Illinois.

Regina Gomory, Crystal Lake

Grow up and pay your taxes

If you are complaining about the income tax hike just passed by the State of Illinois, it is my humble suggestion that you grow up. It was the adult solution to the problem, which is why Gov. Bruce Rauner has been avoiding it like the plague for two years.

I would say that if you don’t like it you can just move to Wisconsin, but you would be in for a mighty big surprise when you got an even higher income tax bill from them.

Don Anderson, Oak Park