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America’s truckers put their lives at risk during this coronavirus pandemic

Who is protecting the truck drivers who leave their families behind to take care of the American people? Most people don’t stop to think how the groceries get on the shelves.

Trucks travel along I-35 in Oklahoma City.
Trucks travel along I-35 in Oklahoma City.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Many truck drivers are misclassified by the trucking companies to evade paying state and federal taxes. Company drivers have been classified as independent contractors, and this misclassification can be devastating right now because if they fall sick or need to go home to take care of someone who is sick, they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits or any other government benefits.

No one will answer the question: Who is protecting the truck drivers who leave their families behind and put themselves at risk to take care of the American people? Every one on social media is all about doctors, nurses and first responders, but what about truck drivers? Without them, no one else has the tools to do their jobs.

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The public and the government need to take notice of real heroes. You can find them sleeping beside the interstate highways, waiting in lines to take showers that 100 others used before them, eating what is available and not what they want, working 70+ hours a week — the list goes on. I have asked people this question: What if every truck driver stopped working for one or two days?

Most people don’t know the profound impact truckers have on their everyday lives. They don’t stop to think how the groceries get on the shelves. Maybe if the public was educated on the importance of trucks, we would see billboards that thank truckers instead of billboards that ask “Been hurt by a big truck? Call a lawyer.”

America’s most valuable employee is more often cast to the side and forgotten about. Now more than ever, truckers deserve to be heard and compensated for their service to our country!

Marie Litle, Naperville

Gun violence vs. COVID-19

I regularly read Mary Mitchell’s columns and although I sometimes disagree with her commentary, she has the ear and respect of this reader. However, I am baffled by her Sunday column, “If leaders can curb our rights to fight a virus, why not to fight gun violence?”

To compare our strategy to fight gun violence in this country to the strategy to fight this COVID-19 pandemic is not practical. Is Ms. Mitchell suggesting we impose a lockdown in this country to fight gun violence? Of course not. We can’t even institute stop-and-frisk because it’s unconstitutional. Everyone from political leaders, community activists and columnists keep reminding us of the fact that this gun violence has to be dealt with, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has come up with a solution. I myself don’t have one either.

On a local level, despite contrary belief, our Chicago Police Department leaders are doing everything they can within the law, and within people’s constitutional rights, to fight gun violence. Marches don’t help. They accomplish nothing but disruption.

We need somebody to come up with a plan instead of telling us we have a problem. We all know there is a problem. Where is the solution?

John LaBrant, Norwood Park