There are times when it is simply unfair to second-guess the tough decisions cops must make

An overly simplistic consensus is developing that all blame for police-related shootings somehow lies with the Chicago Police Department.

SHARE There are times when it is simply unfair to second-guess the tough decisions cops must make
Protesters march on April 16, 2021 near Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home.

Chicagoans march on April 16 to protest the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia | Sun-Times

I am proud that members of Chicago churches, newspapers, nonprofits, and corporations are speaking out about the growing violence in our city and about the decades of segregation of minorities, especially Black people, from housing, education and economic opportunity. And I cannot imagine the sadness engulfing the Toledo family after the shooting of 13-year-old Adam.

But I am concerned at what I see as the overly simplistic, developing consensus that blame for the current violence lies solely with the men and women of the Chicago Police Department.

I’ve known a number of those men and women. The ones I’ve known, both minority and white, are, in my view, good people. But it is also true they work in a culture that is still very much prejudiced against people of color and punishes members who dare to speak truth against any fellow officer. That culture must change.

At the end of the day, gangs, guns and drugs will continue to proliferate, and Chicago will always need an armed police force of men and women willing to leave the safety of their own (often safer) neighborhoods to spend their nights in some of the most violent parts of the city, to protect families like the Toledos and to run down dark alleys chasing guys with guns who ignore repeated warnings and then stop dead in their tracks, turn and start to raise a hand to either surrender or kill the officer. That officer will have to make a decision in a fraction of a nano-second.

In those situations, unlike the situation involving Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, we have no right to second-guess those officers. I think that’s the “deal” they made with Chicago when they took an oath to do what they do. 

As Chicago continues to speak out in response to the violence in our city, I pray that it will involve the police community in those conversations and respect the sacrifice they and their families make for our families.

Thomas J. Shannon, Lakeview

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Marijuana is an environmental disaster

Virginia recently legalized marijuana, and Altria, a tobacco company that owns a 35% stake in JUUL, registered as a lobbyist for the cause. New York recently legalized marijuana despite a strong statement against it issued jointly by the medical societies of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio and Connecticut.

No one is following the science on this issue. Marijuana growing is an environmental disaster that interferes with the responsible stewardship of the planet.

According to a study out of Colorado State University, Colorado’s indoor cannabis farms produce 30% more greenhouse emissions than the state’s coal mining industry, due to electricity use and natural gas consumption. Indoor marijuana growers use high-intensity lights that must be kept on 24 hours a day. The carbon footprint is massive, generating up to 5,000 kg of CO2 per one kg of flower produced and straining the electrical grid to unreasonable proportions.

Outdoor grows are no better. A single cannabis plant demands about six gallons of water a day, almost twice the amount needed for a single grape vine. In the Emerald Triangle of Northern California, outdoor growers divert natural streams and rob the water supply. Marijuana farmers destroyed the salmon fishing industry there and are poised to do the same in other states like Washington and Alaska. Both legal and illegal growers are cutting down forests, using banned pesticides and rodenticides, killing species and depleting resources with no accountability.

Some people who voted to legalize marijuana in California thought that regulation could be applied to these problems and stop the environmental damage. It hasn’t happened. To stop climate change, we need to stop this industry before it spreads.

One seaside city in California that went in big for marijuana, Carpinteria, is now suffering the consequences of noxious odors that have made life unbearable for those living near the greenhouse grows or even a few miles away. The environmental impact of growing cannabis cancel out any economic benefits.

Julie Schauer, Glen Ellyn

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