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NRA hands ‘covered in innocent blood’

Hundreds of mourners pay their respects at a prayer vigil for the five people killed two days earlier in a mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Thank you for your editorial on the shooting in Aurora. Our tone-deaf, empathy-deprived president and his Republican Party must be held accountable for their cozy association with the National Rifle Association and all the money they use to lobby politicians. Their hands are covered by innocent blood. I’m not sure if they will bat an eye even when somebody close to them becomes a victim of gun violence.

Elsa Agostinelli, Norridge

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Chicago takes a lead in clean energy push

Kudos on your editorial, “Illinois has a chance to become a leader in green energy” (2/16). I agree with just about everything you wrote — and it needed to be said. One point, though. Last Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a much more sweeping goal than his previously slated pledge to convert all municipal buildings to renewable energy by 2025. At the release of the new Resilient Chicago strategy, he pledged 100 percent renewables powering all buildings throughout the city by 2035.

As such, Chicago joined the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100, becoming the largest city in the United States to do so, and the second in Illinois, following Evanston. Between the city’s new resiliency goals and full implementation of the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act, we have a very good chance of reaching the Paris Accord goals of 24-26 percent renewables by 2025.

A number of bills have been introduced into the state Legislature that could move us further along this track, and hopefully even faster. Because there is little time left.

Cynthia Linton, Streeterville

We’ll never ‘win’ the new Prohibition

Thank you for publishing an excerpt of Jack Riley’s book, “Drug Warrior: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo and the Rise of America’s Opioid Crisis.” It’s enlightening to see the thinking of the former, No. 2 man in the Drug Enforcement Administration and former head of the Chicago DEA Office.

Hopefully, the book, like the excerpt from it you published Sunday, will lead citizens to realize the failed “War on Drugs” is Al Capone-Chicago Prohibition all over again, but, as Riley recognizes, “The violence and corruption generated by Guzman and his cartel [and for my money, Prohibition] far exceeded that of Capone.”

Robert Grant, former FBI officer in charge of the Chicago office, was spot on when he declared: “I think the war on drugs is a complete bust, a complete waste of money.” If former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s silence in response to Grant’s assessment was correctly read by Riley, Holder “tacitly agreed” with Grant.

After watching “the drug problem” grow and transform over decades of “drug war,” from my vantage point as a former Cook County prosecutor — observing “the drug epidemic” mutate from powered cocaine to crack cocaine, from black tar heroin to Afghan white, from LSD to PCP, from marijuana to ecstasy, from heroin to fentanyl, from K-2 to hundreds of newly-invented, synthetic, psychoactive drug concoctions — I know Grant and Holder are correct.

Drug prohibition is Public Enemy No. 1, not a particular gangster, as Riley and the Chicago Crime Commission proclaimed in 2013 — not El Chapo, not Al Capone, not Pablo Escobar, and not former Chicago Gangster Disciples leader Larry Hoover.

As Jack Riley rightly proclaims, drug money funds terrorist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and the lavish lifestyles of Mexican drug cartel leaders. But it is drug prohibition laws and enforcement of those laws that makes drugs worth their weight in gold.

Chicago and America can never have peace and markedly less violence and corruption in and out of law enforcement until we bury the failed policies of the lost “War on Drugs.”

James E. Gierach, Palos Park