In an editorial last week, you asked what other job, other than police officer, requires people to “take such a risk.” Residents of black, brown, poor or mixed-income communities with high crime rates take those risks every day — in every aspect of our lives. We risk our lives stepping out our front doors, watching TV in our front rooms while listening to shots fired outside, riding public transportation to and from work, and, worst of all, being stopped and harassed or assaulted by those charged to “serve and protect.”
I have been robbed on the L on the way home from work, mugged returning to my office from lunch and assaulted by a drunken security guard at a music festival. I have been a passenger when my partner was stopped for “driving while black.” On numerous occasions, persons who thought my small stature made me an easy target tried to intimidate or maul me on the street or on the CTA. How many police officers have experienced as many dangerous situations as I have? I am not armed, nor do I wear a bullet-proof vest or carry a badge of authority. Nevertheless, I have been able to intervene when I have seen wrongdoing.
Police officers need to quit whining and focus on being part of the solution, not part of the problem. The press needs to stop calling police heroic for doing the jobs they are paid to do. If all police are heroes, so is everybody — residents, teachers, mail carriers, etc. — who live or work in high-crime areas.
Muriel Balla, Hyde Park
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Do away with career politicians
Do we need career politicians? Most constitutional scholars believe the founding fathers intended that elected government officials serve a limited term in office. This concept was fostered by the belief that they would better serve their communities, better reflecting the value of those communities. Unfortunately, we it is not uncommon today for a senator or representative to serve for 30 years or more. There are some advantages in that; veteran legislators are more familiar with the legislative procedures. But the disadvantages are corruption and a loss of ties with communities. The bad outweighs the good now, and we don’t need career politicians.
John Culloton, Norwood Park