It makes no sense that law enforcement organizations refuse to support gun safety laws
Until they do, their lives are at greater risk, and mass shootings will not abate.
I am incredibly distressed and depressed by the never-ending scourge of mass shootings in this country. Particularly disturbing is that some law enforcement individuals and organizations have not taken a proactive position on gun safety and, in fact, have the opinion that restrictions will have no impact on crime.
In a survey of law enforcement officers on gun control, there was generally a total lack of concern about the necessity for measures that might impact gun safety.
In contrast, the International Association of Police Chiefs has issued a serious and comprehensive statement on approaches to gun safety. Embedded in this statement is the statistic that from 1995 to 2004, when the assault rifle ban was in effect, there was a 66% decrease in the criminal use of assault rifles.
It makes no sense that our law enforcement officers refuse to support gun safety laws. Until they do, their lives are at greater risk, and mass shootings will not abate. No one wants to be unsupportive of our officers, but they must do what is right for the citizenry.
Addison Woodward, Streeterville
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When police leave work, their guns should stay at the station
As a long-time Chicago resident, I care about the mental health challenges facing Chicago police officers. I applaud efforts to make mental health services available to officers. COVID-19 has reinforced the message that everyone should have ready access to these services.
However, I cannot help but notice the absence of any mention of certain basic common- sense precautions in Tom Schuba’s recent and otherwise commendable article. When Chicago police leave work, they should leave their guns at the station. This would reduce suicides and incidents of domestic violence. Other jurisdictions keep weapons in the station and on patrol, without seeing an increase in violent crime.
The first response to this suggestion is always that American law enforcement has a unique need for readily available weapons. In fact, many jurisdictions that do not arm their police while in their own home share our deep commitment to individual rights and freedoms. They just don’t sacrifice as many officers or civilians in that cause.
Rebecca Janowitz, Gold Coast
We must do better for those who serve and protect
In the last two weeks, three Chicago Police officers have committed suicide.
Chicago Police suicide rates are 60% higher than the national average. Police work is one of the most caustic and toxic of professions. More cops die by suicide than in the line of duty. Hour by hour, day after day, month by month of dealing with dangerous and high-stress situations, intense scrutiny and having front-row seats to man’s inhumanity to their fellow man is a perfect formula for PTSD.
For those who serve and protect, we simply have to do a better job. I’m not a mental health expert, but I would recommend mental health professionals attend roll calls on a frequent basis, to stress that it’s okay to seek help and nobody is alone.
Bob Angone, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Austin, Texas