The Sun-Times editorial of Oct. 1 is an accurate call to action on the outrageous violence and shootings that have besieged Chicago. The gun laws in Illinois and the enforcement of them is unresponsive to the problem. The gangbangers and individuals with guns are not getting punished and not getting deterred from the shootings which occur all too frequently. The body count is enormous and can be avoided. We need mandatory minimums for violators of our gun laws, not slaps on the wrist. Prison time, clear and certain. We may need a specialty gun court where the judge and the prosecutors will know the law and enforce the law. The shootings in Chicago are done by criminals who have been convicted but are not in prison. I applaud your call to action and your commitment to continue to focus on this major community problem.
Peter Bensinger, former administrator, U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration; former director, Illinois Department of Corrections; former executive director, Chicago Crime Commission
Street violence starts with parents
There are no easy answers. It appears today that penology is in the hands of those who believe short incarceration will somehow render good citizens of those convicted of serious crimes. Otherwise, why are so many released so early from their sentences? Stiffer enforced sentences are in order for those convicted of a serious crime involving a lethal weapon.
Now for a look at the landscape: Large parts of the South Side and sections of the West Side are war zones because there is absolutely no economic development to speak of. I thought that TIF dollars were supposed to aid blighted areas like those I’ve mentioned. Instead, city council bureaucrats led by the mayor continue to earmark TIF dollars for their pet projects that do nothing at all to benefit the obviously blighted areas. The DePaul stadium is one such diversion of these dollars.
Children are malleable. Why do so many of them grow up to become gangbangers? Influence starts with parenting. It continues with peer pressure and schooling, and once that child is no longer a child, the few rotten ones spoil the barrel, tarnishing the good, sometimes fatally. This should not be tolerated, but unfortunately seems to continue unchecked.
Mike Koskiewicz, Portage Park
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Guns, gangs go hand in hand
I would like to know when we are going to stop blaming guns and maybe take a look in the mirror and ask: “Are we doing all we can?” In other words, are police being deployed in the right manner? Do we need to bring back gang specialists that the community trusts and sees everyday in their neighborhoods? There are lots of questions that should lead to a good look in the mirror. Are cops who were previously assigned to administrative duties up to the task to take on the violence that our city is enduring?
It is reported we are spending over $100 million a year in cop overtime. Are we spending this money wisely? The gangs and their guns are among us and are terrifying our communities. The numbers for those killed and wounded are horrific. The gangs that got to this point can and should be studied for the future, for sure. But the fact is they are here and are not going away. Remember, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” Blaming guns, in my opinion, is like blaming forks for obesity. It’s time to quit blaming and set forth a demand. I believe it’s the only strategy that those urban terrorists will ever understand.
Bob Angone, retired police lieutenant
Limit access to guns
Regarding the shooting in Oregon, have we had enough yet? Hey, NRA, are you proud enough yet? There are a lot of deranged people out here. We need to lower the firepower or we’ll all eventually have someone close to us touched by gunfire! If we don’t limit access to weaponry, we might just as well be back in the old wild west. Is it really necessary to carry concealed weapons? Wouldn’t a single firearm be sufficient for household protection? What kind of world do we live in and want to live in?
Edwina Jackson, Longwood Manor
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