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What will it take to end Chicago’s gang violence?

Is jailing gang members not consistent with the political beliefs of Chicago and Cook County? 

Escorted by Englewood District Commander Roderick Robinson (left) and CPD Patrol Bureau Chief Fred Waller, Mayor Lori Lightfoot visits the Englewood District police station on a Friday night, the day after the Fourth of July. Englewood ranked 3rd in most murders per capita last year. Maudlyne Ihejirika/Sun-Times

Gangs in Chicago became increasingly violent in about 1984, when crack cocaine first arrived here. The highly addictive drug meant regular profits for gangs. Fights over drug-selling turf went from fists and bats to shootings.

In 2004, a DVD called “Stop Snitchin” became popular, and before long it was standard operating procedure for gangs. Gang members began to not cooperate with police in shooting investigations, and the police clearance rate for these crimes fell.

Gangs now shoot at each other with impunity, believing they are untouchable under the law. Well, they are not. Sometime after “Stop Snitchin” took hold, the Chicago Police should have started subpoenaing gang shooting victims to the grand jury and forcing them to testify truthfully, or be incarcerated in the county jail for contempt. [Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972).]

But the Chicago Police did not. Why? Has no one in the police department or city administration ever completed a college course in criminology or criminal procedural law?

For 35 years, gun violence has been increasing. How many people have been shot? How many have been murdered? How much of this violence could have been prevented? Is the management of the CPD incompetent, or is jailing gang members not consistent with Chicago’s and Cook County’s political beliefs?

Murdering children is against all my beliefs.

How about you, Chicago?

Lt. Mike Flynn, Chicago Police Department retired, Norwood Park

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Bee-killing chemicals must go

As a child, I learned of monarch butterflys from Arlene Prchal, known as the “Monarch Lady of Mount Prospect.” She raised monarchs at her home. Now as an adult, I’m working to save the bees.

This summer, I’ve been working to ban insecticides called neonicotinoids, more commonly known as neonics. These chemicals are one reason we bees are dying off at such unprecedented rates. Bees are pollinators, thus making them essential to keeping our favorite foods in stock. We lose over 70% of our top crops if we lose bees.

There are many things we can do as individuals to rid our land of neonics, but we need to get government involved to make larger strides.

I urge Illinoisans to take action in helping to pass House Bill 3636, which would restrict the use of neonics on state-owned land. Every voice raised, from you or your neighbor, can help end the terror that neonics bring to bees and our food supply.

Matthew Fox, Mount Prospect