Yes, social conditions should improve. But law-breaking must have consequences.

The weekend chaos caused by hundreds of teens who converged downtown shows that if we lose the distinction between right and wrong, we will lose our youth and our cities, a reader writes.

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Pedestrians cross the street on the corner of E Washington St and N Michigan Ave where hundreds of teens gathered Saturday night.

Pedestrians cross the street on the corner of East Washington Street and North Michigan Avenue where hundreds of teens gathered last Saturday night.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

I couldn’t agree more with the letter from Mike Kirchberg published in Tuesday’s edition of the Sun-Times saying Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson was coddling bad behavior seen over the weekend. We know we are currently living in a world of difficult and oftentimes harmful distractions for our youth, including social media and guns. But once right and wrong is replaced with excuses, we lose our sense of morality and democracy.

We all have to ask ourselves: Would we as parents want our kids to be associated with this type of behavior and would we not want to set parameters for our children with consequences for their bad behavior? As a city and country, we can and should be empathetic and take action to try and improve the social conditions of many of our neighborhoods and youth, but there must be consequences for bad behavior and breaking the law.

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This is no longer a political position of the left or the right, but a human position of right and wrong. If we lose this, then we will lose our youth and our cities.

Barbara Statland, Wilmette

A rough four years ahead

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has yet to be sworn in, yet events and his reaction to them have already shown that Chicago faces a trying four years ahead under his mayorship, which already is looking wrong-headed. The hooligans who raised Cain and injured one another in the Loop and elsewhere are not mere misguided teens who strayed from otherwise model behavior. From news reports, essentially the same cast of characters converging in the same locales bespeaks at least a modicum of coordination for ill intent. With three teens shot, most would call it planned hooliganism, not spontaneous exuberance gone wrong.

Johnson’s spin on it was to characterize them as deprived youth, acting out. The owners of the cars they damaged, and the business property they left in bad condition, have another name for it: Hooliganism, deserving not sympathy but discipline and restitution, and for extreme acts such as shooting, prompt arrest and consequences.

Teenagers are on the cusp of adulthood, and should be treated accordingly. If not, Chicago will see its new mayor as out-of-touch and unhelpful. More of this will surely give the organizers of the upcoming Democrat National Convention second thoughts on their choice of cities. Johnson needs to make up his mind whether to be Chicago’s mayor or a hand-holding social worker for allegedly deprived teens, who are old enough to know better.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Significant pressure for new leadership

The weekend chaos was in addition to another violent weekend in Chicago. Not sure this is what the DNC (or President Joe Biden) had in mind when they issued recent statements about showcasing Chicago during the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Chicago, the new the new mayor and the police superintendent will be sorely tested over the upcoming summer months during holidays and special events.

Fair or not, Chicago and its new leadership team will be under significant pressure to make progress in reducing vandalism and violence.

Robert Whitfield, Hyde Park

Criminal behavior should be demonized

Welcome to “Responsibility,” Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. Hundreds of teens fighting, jumping on CTA buses, kicking cars, firing weapons, shooting at others and wounding two teens in downtown Chicago could very well be classified as an out-of-control riot.

There are no soft words to hide that fact. Witnesses and electronic media captured it. Those who described the event were not “demonizing” those involved in that behavior, as the mayor-elect stated in his statement, it was valid criticism, and rightly so. That kind of behavior should be called out in strong words, there are no excuses.

In my opinion, anyone who shoots weapons in crowds, wounds children and is involved in causing mayhem should be called out in the strongest words possible. Criminal behavior should be demonized in the strongest sense.

Bob Angone, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Austin, Texas

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