Our Pledge To You


Blaming officers after shootings has become an easy reaction

Protestors chanted outside International House where University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer spoke to undergraduate students Thursday. Activists hoped to disrupt his speech to bring attention to the shooting of Charles Thomas by University of Chicago Police. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

University of Chicago police shot a 21-year-old student who was armed with a long metal pipe and had just broken car and apartment windows. A body camera showed he was armed with a pipe and clearly disregarded all verbal direction. The officer even took a “tactical retreat” and backed up as the armed student approached with the pipe and then started to run at the officer. The officer then fired one time, hitting the student.

The student’s mother and friends are criticizing the police for their actions. One student asked, “Why couldn’t they take the student down gently?” And another said, “To shoot a student is horrifying.” So students can’t be a threat, is that what they’re implying?

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purpose.

The student was an assailant at the time and the officer was justified in using deadly force. If the student was in fact having a psychiatric episode, how was the officer supposed to know this for sure? Was the officer expected to run around the block to avoid doing his job? Family and friends want to blame UCPD and the officer but how about the family and friends take some responsibility here?

These days it’s convenient to blame the police when they are involved in a shooting, but look at the video and the evidence. When you do it’s clear the student’s actions led to him being shot by the police. The student needs to take responsibility for his actions because the officer was doing his job.

Richard Barber, Mount Greenwood

Students can’t relate to U. of C. officer’s situation

In Hyde Park, a pipe-wielding man, disregarding repeated orders to drop his weapon, charged at an armed officer. The officer used his weapon to defend his life, the man was wounded, but survived. Now in protest, one student wants to know why he wasn’t “gently” taken down.

As if “How to Gently Take Down and Armed Assailant 101” is a class taught in police academies. There is no gentle way to take down a person with a weapon charging at an officer. Further, an alumnus of the school wants to disarm the university’s police force. If that were the case before this, it would be the officer in the hospital, not the other way around.

Disarming cops is about the worst idea I have ever heard. These guys put their lives on the line everyday, and the protesting students have no idea what it’s like to be in that situation. Nor do they have the will to try.

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake

Sox season off to a chilly start, last run for ‘Hawkeroo’

The White Sox showed up for their season opener Thursday but it would have been understandable, even forgivable, if they never ventured out of the dugout.

It was cold and blustery and snowflakes hung in the air like those “duck snorts” that broadcaster Hawk Harrelson colorfully describes in his own unique manner.

By the way, it’s Hawk’s last season with the South Siders and he will be missed by all the old-timers who still think that the game is America’s pastime.

But for the newest generation of sports fans, those born since the emergence of cellphones and video games, baseball is simply too slow and too methodical for their fast-paced lives.

Their attention span doesn’t allow for the three and a half hours that is required to watch a professional ballgame. And if baseball doesn’t do something about it (in spite of the Player Union’s objections), the sport seems destined to join boxing, horse racing and bird watching as endangered leisure activities.

Anyone who sat through Thursday’s game of chills (four hours, three minutes) or listened to the archaic ramblings of the “Hawkeroo” in their entirety I applaud you. But at the same time I can’t help wondering … why?

Bob Ory, Elgin

Disability rights advocates need their chance to be heard

Let’s get more support and sponsors to make this year’s national Disability Pride Parade bigger. It provides a chance for 2 million Americans with disabilities to show our lawmakers that we deserve our rights.

We refuse to be a budget scapegoat any longer and be blamed for deficits, when really we have been placed at the top of the chopping block while money is funneled to prisons and guns.

We should be directing money towards tax credits for special higher education, job programs and initiatives to prevent the bullying of people with disabilities.

Mike Rairie, Jefferson Park