My son was killed by gun violence. Pass Protect Illinois Communities Act to stop more deaths.

We need to level the playing field between the rights of responsible gun owners and all of our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,

SHARE My son was killed by gun violence. Pass Protect Illinois Communities Act to stop more deaths.
Maria Pike, the Chicago gun violence lead for Moms Demand Action whose son Ricky was fatally shot a decade ago, waits to speak before the Illinois House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on the Protect Illinois Communities Act in the Loop, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. The act would prohibit the sale of assault weapons and ammunition magazines that have more than 10 rounds, and require most state firearm owner identification holders to be 21 or older.

Maria Pike of Moms Demand Action, whose son Ricky was fatally shot a decade ago, waits to speak before the Illinois House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on gun safety legislation on Dec. 15.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I take no issue with responsible gun ownership. I am a member of a family who used guns to hunt when we were children. My friends are responsible gun owners, and I know fellow survivors who are members of the NRA.

However, as an advocate who witnesses the daily devastation of gun violence in our communities, and a mother who has experienced it first-hand, I stand unequivocally on the side of common-sense legislation like the Protect Illinois Communities Act under consideration in the Illinois General Assembly.

No community in Illinois, or anywhere in America, is immune to gun violence. This will remain true so long as we fail to make the changes needed to level the playing field between the rights of responsible gun owners and all of our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as written in the Declaration of Independence and implicit in the Constitution.

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It is our civic duty to defend those rights. We deserve to live without fear of death because guns are too easy to access, even among irresponsible, abusive, criminal or otherwise dangerous players to themselves or others. We owe it to our children to take this action now to protect their futures. HB5855 must pass.

My son Ricky is dead, but now I act in his memory. He was murdered in Logan Square on Aug. 3, 2012. He was shot with a semi-automatic gun trying to park in front of his apartment. He was 24 years old.

Honor your children while they are still alive. Support the Protect Illinois Communities Act. I honor Ricky with action.

Maria Pike, Pilsen

Unvaccinated troops at fighting disadvantage

The science-guided medical establishment urges everyone to defend against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. The authorities say nearly all COVID-19 deaths result from failure to get vaccinated, yet the hard-core political right insists on refusing to be vaccinated and pays with their lives.

That doctrinaire avoidance of vaccination has now resulted in active-duty members of the military no longer being required to be so protected, even though recruits routinely are required to get shots against cholera, typhoid and tetanus. This craziness potentially has made our military vulnerable to mini-epidemics in the ranks.

Imagine one of our military units having to stand down at a critical moment when facing an enemy because, let us presume, the unvaccinated half of the squad or battalion was too sick to fight, leaving the enemy victorious by default.

Would right-wing hard-heads simply shrug at this defeat of the weakened unit? Before a COVID-19 vaccine was developed, we saw entire cruise ships kept offshore because the virus ran amok among the passengers. That is the potential disadvantage right-wing ideology has foisted on common sense and on our military.

Who would ever have thought such kooky QAnon notions would overrule logic? Yet more proof that as a nation, we seem to be coming apart at the seams.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

New West Side homes too pricey for residents

Thank you for the article on new home construction in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in this week’s Sun-Times. Having grown up in that neighborhood, at California and Armitage, I can tell you that these homes are not in Humboldt Park but in north Garfield Park.

The developer, Tim Swanson, may want buyers to connect with the cachet of gentrifying Humboldt Park, but if you look at a map of the area, you will find Laura S. Ward Elementary is three blocks from Garfield Park.

Also, while new construction in Humboldt Park will attract buyers who can afford a $375,000 price tag, residents of Garfield Park cannot touch that price and will struggle to afford even the $150,000 to $245,000 quoted in your article.

This is not affordable housing, not matter how many area residents are employed or what the developer says about “building generational wealth through home ownership.” While it is exciting that new construction is finally coming to the West Side, what the developer and the city consider “affordable housing” is out of touch with area residents. Just sayin’.

Nancy Alexander, Oak Park

Restaurant workers in the money

Between tips and hourly rates, Illinoisans will be guaranteed wages of $13 an hour. Absolutely no reason for tipping anyone who earns that much money. Factory workers who make the same money don’t get tips, so why should restaurant workers that don’t work nearly as hard? I don’t eat out much anyway because one restaurant meal costs as much as a week of home-cooked meals.

On top of outrageous menu prices, tips are added. But no more since they are in the money now thanks to Illinois’ minimum wage bill. Thank you, J.B. Pritzker.

Mike Zaczek, Orland Park

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