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Give youths a chance to learn, serve

Juan Elias is president 1st Ward First Ald. Joseph Moreno's (1st) 'independent Democratic political organization. Elias an official Chicago Health

Juan Elias is president of 1st Ward First, Ald. Joseph Moreno's (1st) "independent Democratic political organization. Elias, an official in the Chicago Health Department, received a pardon from Gov. Pat Quinn for theft, pot and vote fraud convictions.

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Updated: October 6, 2012 1:41PM

The South Side of Chicago, and the South Shore in particular, is where I grew up, and it grieves me to read of the violence that fine old neighborhood is enduring. The death and wounding of so many young people is a grievous loss.

Drastic action is needed. Perhaps some wealthy Chicagoan might undertake the initial funding to recruit and train young men in an enterprise similar to the Peace Corps that we might call the Chicago Life Corps. Young men would be trained in various skills and professions. Their only cost would be to pledge a year or two of service building, creating and nurturing in some poor area of the U.S. or in an impoverished country somewhere in the world.

This would provide them a chance to break free from the violence of their neighborhood streets, directing all that surplus of passion and energy toward helping others even as they learn to help themselves.

I believe that residents all over the city, as well as those of us who once lived in the city, would be willing to contribute to such a cause.

This is just one suggestion that I hope will provoke other ideas.

Harry Mark Petrakis,

Chesterton, Ind.

If your side loses, help winners

I know both sides think they’re going to win the presidential election, but if you lose, will you make a reasonable attempt to help the other side move the country and the economy forward?

In the last three years, the answer from the Republican side has been pretty clear.

Will that change for either side?

Ed Stone, Northbrook

A fine example of ‘the Chicago Way’

When the GOP refers to “the Chicago Way” of politics, I believe they speak of scenarios such as Gov. Pat Quinn bestowing amnesty upon Juan Elias, the head of a new 1st Ward “independent Democratic political organization,” who had been convicted of voter fraud.

And the Democrats become angry when called out.

Larry Casey, Forest Glen

GOP extremists insult our war heroes

The ingratitude and degradation of GOP extremists for the sacrifices of genuine war heroes is sickening. If you don’t share their political views, you’re toast.

First the Swift Boat Vetertans for Truth PAC released a television ad lying about the validity of then-presidential candidate John Kerry’s numerous Purple Hearts, while shielding candidate George W. Bush, who during the same war showed up casually for Air National Guard duty on the home front.

Then there’s the current GOP publicity attempt to deny President Barack Obama credit for deciding to send in the Navy SEALS to rid us of Osama bin Laden.

Locally, GOP contender Joe Walsh in the 8th Congressional District questions whether Tammy Duckworth, having lost her legs in Iraq, should refer to her war record as evidence of her willingness to sacrifice in defense of our country!

Instead of gratitude and honor for our heroes — insult and disparagement! This is the Republican legacy as represented by the perversions of its underwriters and conscienceless candidates for office.

Marion J. Reis, Wheaton

Focus on ways to reduce crime in the streets

In response to your Aug. 28 editorial, “Cut off gun pipeline,” we point out that for more than a decade our industry has partnered with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a national anti-straw purchase dealer and public education campaign called “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy,” which has been run in Chicago. We also support mandatory minimum sentences for anyone convicted of being a straw purchaser.

The ATF has repeatedly cautioned that a firearms trace request does not mean a retailer has engaged in wrongdoing. In the past, the public release of trace data led to articles much like those we’ve seen this week, as well as studies, and even lawsuits such as Chicago’s against industry members. This is one reason why federal law now bars the release of firearms trace data outside of law enforcement. Instead of studies, let’s concentrate on measures that reduce crime in the streets.

Lawrence Keane, senior vice president,

National Shooting Sports Foundation,

Newtown, Conn.

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