Chicago’s leaders fail, over and over, to find a solution to gun violence

A summit including the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, church youth group leaders and anyone else who works with youth needs to be held.

SHARE Chicago’s leaders fail, over and over, to find a solution to gun violence
A memorial for Melissa Ortega in Little Village.

A memorial for Melissa Ortega in Little Village.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A beautiful 8-year-old girl is brutally gunned down in broad daylight by another idiot gangbanger and the usual handwringing by the mayor and police superintendent ensue. Same story, different day, and nothing changes. Justice will be served for her and her family, blah, blah, blah.

So it was with hope that I read Arne Duncan is considering running for mayor of Chicago. As somebody who grew up in Chicago and has worked with Chicago’s beleaguered youth, I think Duncan has a real sense of the urgent need for change in how we address the city’s out-of-control gun violence.

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While I like his plan to free up police officers to address violent crimes, I don’t completely agree with his premise that arresting violent offenders will prevent further crimes by those seeking revenge and retaliation. I believe people living the thug life will continue to adhere to that lifestyle, and the cycle will go on.

As somebody who spent the past 45 years working with Chicago’s youth, I have always been dumbfounded as to how the leadership of this city, whether it was Mayor Daley, Rahm Emanuel or Lori Lightfoot, has failed to devise a comprehensive plan to combat violence.

A summit including the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, church youth group leaders and anyone else who works with youth needs to be held. A strategy needs to be devised to help track, foster and mentor children most at-risk to become involved in the lifestyle that leads to involvement in these violent crimes, from shootings to carjackings.

Then the city and state need to actually devote the resources necessary to make the plan successful. Until then, the same old story will play out again and again, with more handwringing from leaders and blah, blah blah.

Gary Kuzmanic, Edgebrook

Pouting about guns

Jacob Sullum’s Jan. 27 column pouting about a California federal judge’s “disrespect” for the Second Amendment is a fine addition to his library of callous, dishonest and immoral screeds that place more value on gun rights than human life.

Sullum probably has these columns dialed in to a deplorable cut-and-paste exercise. But like his prior columns on guns, he’s only telling half the story. Sullum fails to mention that a clear majority of Americans, across all political parties, support common sense gun safety laws like universal background checks.

Sullum also conveniently never mentions that the Second Amendment was originally intended to allow significant regulation and that limits on gun ownership and use were common for the first 150-plus years of our nation. Or that the GOP, and some of its most respected leaders, supported and passed gun safety regulations for decades.

Sullum knows it wasn’t until the 1960s and ‘70s that the gun lobby radicalized the GOP on this issue, convincing the judges they elect and nominate into approving the expansion of gun rights. There is no historical, legal or moral support for this expansion of gun rights — it was solely to serve the financial and political interests of the GOP and the gun lobby.

Sullum, the gun lobby and the GOP cravenly place more value on the right to own and wield guns than they do on human life. This will never change, no matter how many times Sullum cuts-and-pastes gun lobby talking points and will forever be to their shame.

Barry Owen, Lakeview

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