Don’t blame Chicago Police for failing to solve homicides — blame a culture of fear

You cannot arrest, let alone convict, without evidence or witnesses.

SHARE Don’t blame Chicago Police for failing to solve homicides — blame a culture of fear
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Police investigate the scene of a shooting at the corner of W Douglas Blvd and S Ridgeway Ave in Lawndale on July 21 in Chicago. Police say this was one of several fatal shootings in the city on the same day.

Anthony Vazquez /Chicago Sun-Times

A Sun-Times report headlined “Over 1,000 victims, 126 dead, just 2 convictions: 6 years of mass shootings in Chicago” could be misread as blaming the Chicago Police Department for the lack of criminal convictions. Yet, the police cannot arrest, let alone convict, without evidence or witnesses.

It is understandable, at the same time, why witnesses will not put themselves in danger and cooperate with a criminal investigation.

It is not the fault of police investigators that an atmosphere of fear has been created by predators, resulting in the guilty going unpunished. Such results are further frustrated by the “bail reform” that puts shooters back on the street.

Terry Takash, Western Springs

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Time to address failing weed management systems on Illinois farms

In the late 1990s, most Illinois farmers successfully managed weeds with just one herbicide application. Now farmers need two or three different herbicides, and some must be sprayed more than once. Why the big change in the herbicide fire-power needed to get a crop through the production season?

The reason is clear — the emergence and spread of weeds that have become resistant to herbicides. The simple and effective weed control systems used on most Illinois farms since the late 1990s have been unraveling in recent years. More herbicides mean higher costs, and more chemicals flowing into Illinois streams and rivers, and reaching drinking water resources.

Public health concerns also are rising. Two relatively high-risk herbicides — 2,4-D and dicamba — are among those farmers are turning to more regularly. Both are “possible human carcinogens” and increase the risk of reproductive problems and adverse birth outcomes.

Is rising herbicide use and exposure impacting women’s health during pregnancy and the health and development of newborn babies? I help lead the Heartland Study, a multi-state clinical research project sponsored by the Heartland Health Research Alliance. While we search for answers, steps should be taken to deepen and strengthen the science supporting pesticide regulatory decisions. One set of key reforms is discussed in HHRA’s recent paper in the science journal Environmental Health.

Our recommendations will help assure for years to come that farmers have access to safe and effective weed control systems, without creating new public health challenges. Farmers, public health specialists and Illinois political leaders should urge Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to reform outdated laws and policies that are holding back scientific advances in pesticide risk assessment and regulation.

Charles Benbrook, executive director, Heartland Health Research Alliance

School requirements

If a parent doesn’t want a child to wear a mask to school, then send the child to a private school. Public schools are for the masses. They require many things, including vaccinations, in order to protect all of the students. The COVID-19 vaccination and masks have been added to those requirements. It’s that simple.

Other children have rights, too.

Edwina Jackson, Longwood Manor

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