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Letters: Ask those arrested after the mayhem in the Loop and at 31st Street Beach: Why?

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The violence and mayhem that erupted in downtown Chicago and along the lakefront two weekends ago have driven commentary from many sources. Elected officials, police officials, business owners, restaurateurs, civic organizations, community groups and people from all walks of life have spoken out about the chaos that occurred.

But to date, we haven’t heard from those who were arrested and are allegedly responsible for the crimes that took place.

Why did they find it necessary to head to the heart of the city or a popular beach and bring a gun? Why did they engage in violence against motorists and bus drivers? Why did they attack a couple from out of town seeking out a place to have dinner?

Perhaps if we get cogent answers to these and other relevant questions, we can prevent this dark chapter from occurring again.

— Edward M. Bury, Chicago

On April 14, a day before the Loop melee, I walked from my Near North Side apartment to the CIBC Theatre on Monroe Street for a 7:30 p.m. curtain. Walking down Michigan Avenue, I was pleased to see throngs of well-dressed conventioneers. I stopped in at a Monroe Street hotel to use the bathroom, and the large lobby was teeming with folks in Chicago for the convention.

I wonder how many people visiting Chicago were caught up in the terrifying battle royale the next night? That I will never I know, but one thing I do know is that they will not be back.

— J. Gregory Perdue, Chicago

We now know that many police officers were less than proactive in dealing with the mayhem in the Loop two weekends ago, and some citizens who complained were told that what was going on was Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s fault, even though he hasn’t taken office yet.

Before the election, the president of Chicago’s police union warned that there would be “blood in the streets” if Johnson won. Do people not realize what’s going on now?

Our city’s “finest” appear to be engaging in what amounts to a work slowdown in order to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are putting our city and its people, as well as our newly elected mayor, at risk for political vengeance.

This needs to be called out for what it is, and it must be stopped immediately.

— David G. Whiteis, Chicago

Ill-advised statements aside, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson is correct in saying we need to do more for Chicago’s youth than simply lock them up.

If he is really looking for ideas and guidance, he needs to look no further than the urban academy The BASE Chicago at 230 N. Kolmar St. on the West Side. To quote its website: “The BASE Chicago re-imagines pathways to success for urban youth by combining sports and academic opportunities with a distinctive methodology rooted in excellence, belief and love.” I had the pleasure of working with its executive director, Eric Davis, for a short time in 1986 when we served together with the Chicago Police Department.

As we went our separate ways in CPD, Eric never stopped trying to find ways to reach the disadvantaged citizens he served. He knew how to balance enforcement and compassion. He knew that the key to stopping crime was to lead and point to another direction.

Eric and his team have taken their skills and passions and brought them to fruition with their nationally acclaimed organization. A born and bred Chicagoan, I now live on the North Shore where I can clearly see the advantages these kids have over those in the city. The BASE Chicago is trying to level the playing field a bit, and their results speak for themselves.

Johnson should take note. The answer is right in your own backyard.

— Rick Williams, Highland Park

After Fox News’ almost $800 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, it now seems like Fox News is more like professional wrestling: not real but very entertaining for its fans.

— Andrew Kachiroubas, Chicago

I believe the editorial on former Rep. Adam Kinzinger hit the nail on the head (“Why ‘Second Amendment people’ should be at the forefront of gun control solutions,” April 19). Democrats and Republicans, left and right, need to work together on all dividing issues and not automatically against the other just based on political agenda.

The Second Amendment is a real hot issue nowadays. I’m a gun owner and have no problem with background checks and such as long as they’re used for their intended purpose. In other words, use what’s already in place. Too many times, it’s not, leading to a young person or otherwise unqualified person obtaining a gun.

Our politicians need to reach across the aisle and put differences aside. Maybe they could remove the imaginary line, the aisle, altogether. Wouldn’t that be nice?

— David Watkins, Wadsworth

I remember the good old days when “Knock knock” was followed by “Who’s there” rather than a bullet.

— Vin Morabito, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Highland Park parents are asking for metal detectors to be installed in schools to safeguard the lives of their children (“Highland Park students, parents demand action,” April 16). This should be a simple request if we value the lives of our students as much as we value the inventory of our libraries.

Many libraries have electromagnetic security gates that trigger an alarm if a book is taken from the library without being checked out. How much more important is it to have a metal detector to trigger an alarm if a firearm is taken into the school?

What are our priorities? Children or books?

— Mary Ann Kehl, Wilmette

Join the conversation in our Letters to the Editor Facebook group.

Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email letters@chicagotribune.com.

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