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Sneed: McCarthy’s heart attack a shocker — but not a surprise

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy take questions from mediafter Antown Carter was charged with Chicago Police Officer Michael Bailey's murder

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy take questions from the media after Antown Carter was charged with Chicago Police Officer Michael Bailey's murder at the Criminal Courts building 2600 s California. Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 7, 2014 6:40AM



The fact Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy had a heart attack Thursday morning was a surprise.

But it shouldn’t be a shocker.

The toxic mix of gang crime Chicago style; indiscriminate shootings, a recalcitrant criminal justice system, and finger-pointing at police performance is a deadly brew.

Add a dollop of an acerbic, hyperactive Mayor Rahm Emanuel who wants quick solutions — and it packs a wallop.

McCarthy, who is incredibly calm under fire and works out five days a week, showed no signs of ill health Wednesday at two public events.

“He seemed in terrific shape,” said Ald. Ed Burke (14th), who sat at his table for the SOS Children’s Villages dinner at Millennium Park Wednesday night.

Was street stress the culprit? Who knows?

But here’s a question: Why so much finger-pointing at police?

What about the rest of the criminal justice system, parents, religious leaders, school leaders and neighborhood groups?

One prominent pastor indicated it’s beyond police work to shore up crime.

“If we’re not going to put up, if we’re not going to roll up our sleeves, if we’re not going to build relationships with these kids, then we need to stop the photo-ops,” Rev. Corey Brooks told WBBM News Radio Thursday.

“We need to stop the drama,” said Brooks, pastor of the New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn, who is hoping to place 5,000 volunteers on 500 blocks in neighborhoods where violence is the norm.

Although vigilantes aren’t the answer, Brooks did say:

“People talk about how they love the community, and how they love the people in the community. Love is an action word where you do things, and so we have to start doing the stuff that we talk about. We have to start putting up or shutting up,” Brooks said.

The bottom line: It takes a village to solve our city’s problems.

◆ Is anybody holding the Cook County Circuit Court accountable for these laughable penalties for weapons violations upon a conviction?

◆ Why do so many Cook County state’s attorneys charge weapons violators with midemeanors rather than felonies?

◆ Why aren’t parents being held more accountable for their children?

Of the many offenders who are arrested with illegal guns, only a small fraction of those arrested went to jail.

New York has enacted a gun law that made mandatory prison time for illegal firearm possession and seen a significant drop in violent crime.

Our Legislature has shelved deliberation on a similar law for future consideration. Meanwhile, people are still getting shot.

◆ Free shot: If a person is arrested for possession of a gun on the streets of Chicago, they are usually given a low bond or probation upon conviction — and if arrested soon after with another gun violation, they could again get a low bond or added probation — rather than jail time.

Sneed sources say all of these things must weigh on Chicago’s top cop.

While we await the return of McCarthy, who is still in the Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, let’s all reaffirm that we have some responsibility for what’s happening in our own city.

The forgotten mayor . . .

Our campaign to memorialize the legacy of Jane Byrne, the city’s only female mayor, netted this note from Wendella Boats CEO Bob Borgstrom, who suggested the city’s legendary fork in the river, Wolf Point, be renamed “Byrne’s Bend.”

The forgotten mayor mail bin . . .

“I am a retired Chicago Police officer. Back in the day, we didn’t have a union, no one in the administration was interested — but Jane Byrne took a stand and I love her to death for that. Every Chicago policeman retired or otherwise should have that attitude; otherwise, we’d be running around looking for clout.”

Johnny A.

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: Former Bears coach Mike Ditka dropped by Jack’s Restaurant in Skokie for breakfast with some buddies on Sunday . . . Friday’s birthdays: Paul Giamatti, 47; Bjorn Borg, 58, and Natalie Morales, 42.



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