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Let’s not forget who the real victims are

Senators Dick Durb(left) Mark Kirk May | Sun-Times files

Senators Dick Durbin (left) and Mark Kirk in May | Sun-Times files

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Updated: July 10, 2013 6:20AM



This week when Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was talking with a WBBM reporter about the future of CeaseFire’s contract with the city, following Tio Hardiman’s arrest for domestic battery, he said, “Being in the public eye, obviously, perhaps it gets more attention, and it’s embarrassing and I am certainly aware of that.” McCarthy said that his heart goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Hardiman, and then he said, “Anybody involved in some sort of crisis like that, you know, they’re all victims.”

As the executive director of the Chicago area membership organization made up of domestic violence service agencies, I would like to offer a counterpoint to the antiquated one provided by Supt. McCarthy. Our member organizations have spent more than 30 years working with the community, policy makers and alongside law enforcement officers to shift the responsibility of domestic violence off the victim and onto the perpetrator. We encourage those suffering through domestic violence to reach out for help, without the repercussion of shame or embarrassment. As a society, we have seen more and more people believe that domestic violence should move from behind closed doors. It is a crime where those experiencing the violence are the ones that are the true victims.

The superintendent’s remarks foster a culture of victim-blaming that permeates the ranks of the Chicago Police Department and impacts the way in which beat officers respond to domestic violence calls. We all have a role in ending, not perpetuating, domestic violence. It is time that Supt. McCarthy finds his.

Dawn Dalton

Executive Director

Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network

No cuts to Social Security

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid help create prosperity and should be strengthened, not cut. I have worked and paid taxes since I was 16. I’ve been paid less than a man for every job I ever worked. I am now 72 and I’m being told I didn’t work enough. Now in Washington, a new way of calculating the consumer price index for Social Security is threatening my benefit.

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk must take a stand against any sort of “grand bargain” that would cut essential programs. The focus should be on investment. Austerity is dead. We have heard their true intentions — to slash Social Security while lowering corporate taxes — have been laid bare. We need prosperity, not austerity.

Carolynn Ediger,

Uptown

Sidetracked by snooping

The government can register every phone call I make but it can’t register gun owners? Politicians should re-examine their priorities.

Mary Kaye, Uptown

Spending doesn’t make kids smarter

Your editorial on spending more for education ignores a few salient facts and a long line of experience.

We often hear this argument that a good education prevents crime and welfaring. Of course, that is true. But the problem is that many of the people employing this argument equate “good education” with “expensive education,” and research resoundingly demonstrates that, in education, the two are hardly linked. Last summer, for example, Harvard University researchers examined state spending and student outcomes and found no link between the two. In fact, until the recent cuts, Illinois had rapidly increased education spending in the past several decades. Has there been an accompanying reduction in welfare spending and juvenile or other delinquency? Certainly not.

Between 2010 and 2011 Illinois education spending had the biggest drop in the nation, at 7.4 percent, but still
taxpayers provide per-pupil funding above
the national average, according to the Census
Bureau. All of this to say, your sentiments sound reasonable but evidence suggests they will lead people to wasteful, unhelpful conclusions in the future.

Joy Pullmann

Education research fellow,
Heartland Institute

Outcome of pension debacle looks like higher taxes

As usual, Illinois legislators are in denial about the state pension mess. It’s as if they believe the pension fairy will drop by and solve the problems. There are no tough choices being made. Meanwhile, the state gets another financial rating downgrade and the pile of unpaid bills grows. What is needed is an overhaul of the pensions or even abolition and replacement with a 401(k), as in the private sector. School districts should pay their own pension liabilities, rather than give away the store and expect the state to pick up the tab. To fix this mess, another tax increase is on the horizon, no doubt.

Thomas Cechner, Lockport



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