Updated: October 30, 2013 6:37AM
Thank you for Friday’s story reporting the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate change is real and a catastrophic threat to all life on Earth. This is the message that must be conveyed to every person on the planet and bring us all to every action we can possibly do to stop the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. I urge you to continue your coverage of climate change on a daily basis on the front page.
We have all been watching the news of the ice at the poles melting and the almost weekly reports of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods and heat waves, around the world. These are undeniable facts. We cannot wait until science unequivocally proves every aspect of climate change. There is plenty of evidence now and plenty of irreparable damage to the systems that sustain life on Earth. The natural systems that support the health and survival of life on the planet evolved over millions of years and have been significantly changed by humans in the wink of geological time.
Frank Costanza, Hillside
Obama’s leadership lacking
If Obamacare is a success and does what it’s supposed to do, the GOP is more apt to say they were wrong rather than if its liberal backers had to admit that it benefitted only a small percentage of the users. These so-called progressives keep backing President Obama’s five-year record of broken promises, failed stimulus packages and a foreign policy that’s made us the laughing stock of the world.
Obama’s leadership has made even Jimmy Carter look like “the Father of our Country.”
Boby Schaack, Oak Forest How can I get through to gang members, cops?
This weekend’s Chicago gang summit at the House of Hope on Chicago South Side aims to stop the violence.
Invited to speak, I’m stumped. What can I say to the assembled gang members, whose principal source of income is from the sale of drugs, to persuade them that society should legalize and regulate drugs to stop gun violence, putting them largely out of business?
Invited to speak to a group of correctional officers, I’m again stymied as to what to say. Can I say and convince them that America should stop building prisons and even close some?
Invited to speak to the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police, I’m daunted too. Can I sell the idea that that we should legalize drugs to stop Chicago gang violence when already in 2013 Chicago police have been paid $42 million in overtime pay policing Chicago hotspots? To the police, the war on drugs means bread and butter even though its downside is that, as Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy acknowledges, 80 percent of Chicago homicides are caused by gangs fighting over drug turf, gang turf and in retaliation.
Invited to speak to drug treatment providers, I’m struggling to find the words that will convince them that we should legalize and control drug markets to reduce the incidents of accidental overdose and death caused by drug use in prohibition darkness.
But back to this weekend’s gang summit, it’s just like the 1994 national gang summit held in Chicago at Operation Push and other Chicago venues, except this year some civil rights leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson will be absent. At the 1994 gang summit, I handed a gang attendee my handout, an article from USA Today that I had written calling for the legalization of drugs to stop the violence. The gangster looked me in the eye and, with a look that could kill, tore my handout to pieces and dropped it to the floor.
Wow, I thought. I’ve got ’em! The gangbanger’s reaction told me in unforgettable fashion that I had the answer to cripple street gangs and, therefore, stop much of the violence associated with illegal drug markets by regulating and taxing “illicit” drugs in a legal market.
The trouble is that none of these speaking venues wants to hear this message any more than the media or the public. As such, I was not invited to speak at the gang summit this year any more than I was invited to the gang summit 20 years ago, or any of the posited venues.
Nevertheless, gang members need to hear is this message: “We, the People, want safe streets, and we are willing to pay the price to get them, even at the cost of ending the drug war and legalizing drugs to put you out of business.”
James E. Gierach
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)