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Friday Letters: Two facts — opposite, and both true

Police block off sections of the street as thousands of protesters march against police shootings in Chicago on July 11. | Sun-Times

Two seemingly opposite facts can both be true.

Truth One: A significantly relevant number of police officers (and maybe even some departments) do treat people of color with more suspicion and distrust than they do white Americans, often leading to avoidable, tragic violent outcomes. That is the message Black Lives Matter is making. Of course all lives matter, the BLM movement is simply a recognition that black Americans have historically been at greater risk than white Americans when they encounter law enforcement. This is not a racist statement (Mayor Giuliani!). It’s a truth that we all must accept if we are to fix it.

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Truth Two: The majority of police officers are good public servants who have an extremely dangerous job. The officers protecting the protestors in Dallas are more representative of the profession. They ran towards the shooter when the bullets started flying. They do not condone the unnecessary taking of life, African-American or otherwise. And they’re not “pigs.” Are there some bad actors who should not be wearing the badge? Of course. But they should not define the profession.

Michael F. DeSantiago, Niles

That time of year

Here it comes again; the time of year when graphic pictures are held up along busy intersections by people with good intentions. Showing people pictures of aborted babies will not stop abortions. They will serve to shame those who have had to make very hard decisions, and turn the stomachs of many people who will not ever be faced with having to make that choice. If they really want to make a change here are things that will actually help:

1. Provide sex education throughout several stages of child development. Not a quick, embarrassing class that neither the teachers nor students want to participate in, but real dialogue.

2. Provide birth control to those who are not financially able to prevent pregnancy. They are going to have intercourse anyway and if they cannot afford deterrent, they cannot afford to care for a child.

3. Prevent rape. Yeah, this one is a little more difficult, but there it is. Educate our boys/men on alternatives to committing violent acts and teach them how to respect women. All women. From an early age and throughout their lives. And help those women who are violated to come forward and name their attacker without fear or shame, which will in turn, prevent more attacks.

4. Research and educate with regard to preventable diseases or situations that make a pregnancy harmful to the mother.

Mary Nickell, Lake Zurich

Excessive punishment

I agree with the Sun-Times editors. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year jail sentence was way too severe and he deserves to be set free. In fact, I never felt he should have been sent out of state at all. He should have stayed here, free to roam the streets of Chicago as a constant reminder that we all need to pay a lot more attention to who we vote for. He could have been a walking, talking “Choose Wisely” billboard for the state’s voters.

I hope he will be set free by November.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

Not a coyote

I am always unhappy to hear of a canid biting a human. I personally have seen this Worth Park animal myself at least three times within the last three weeks hunting prey on the natural wildlife pond off Westfield and Ridgefield Lane in Tinley Park. I at first saw the animal at a great distance and saw a great deal of white on it , like a collie’s signature white collar, and when I saw it walk and jump over some brush I knew it was in fact a large dog and not a coyote. Coyotes are thinner and do not have any glaringly large areas of snow white (nature’s camouflage to protect them) and they walk with heads low to the ground to sniff out prey. They are also much thinner with longer, bonier legs than even a German shepherd dog. Further, they tend to slink as they walk and their eyes are more slanted and not so oval as a domesticated dog’s. Their vision and sense of smell is remarkably much better than ours, enabling them to see and sniff out even the smallest of rodents yards and yards away.

The second time I saw it was much closer up and it was again hunting. It knew I was there, and the third time I saw it, it was just a few yards away from me, again, with the nose to the ground hunting.

It is my surmise that this large, mixed breed dog was perhaps the victim of neglect and cruelty. It probably escaped its owners or when it could take no more abuse decided to avenge itself with aggression. If the owners realized the danger, they probably incorrectly figured that an animal shelter could not adopt out or rehabilitate an aggressive animal, plus they would have to explain themselves and so decided to release the dog to its own devices, perhaps hoping it would simply get hit by a car to end the matter or just go into the wild and fend for itself by hunting.

I am hoping with this letter and the investigation and testimony of the Cook County Animal Control Officer’s Chief- that there are absolutely no signs of coyotes at all in the Worth park -that people will stop blaming them for attacks that they never committed. Further, any wild animal (even a dog or cat that has returned to the wild) that is at large and tracking game to eat should never be approached. They waste no energy and they are always tracking as they trot along, sometimes covering distances of 50 miles or more per day. A person’s approach can be construed as an attempt to compete with the animal for food and may prompt an attack. This a the law of nature and it has remained the same since the beginning of time.

Animal control should be on the lookout for this very large, mixed breed dog for its own sake and, when apprehended and evaluated by a shelter and a veterinarian, convince people once and for all that the coyote attack reports are all cases of mistaken identity. Additionally, I am hoping that people will never buy or adopt a dog that they cannot properly provide for its physical and emotional needs so this Worth Park scenario will not be repeated again.

Marie E. Roman, Tinley Park

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