Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Editorials

Blood on the streets of Chicago

A hot summer weekend, when Chicago should be at its most livable, brings an undercurrent of dread and horror to this city. Summer is block party season, beach season, baseball season. But in some neighborhoods, summer is killing season — when armed gang members run amok firing at each other and anyone in their way.

The death and injury total from Friday night to Monday morning numbed the senses: At least 74 people were shot, 12 of them killed, according to a tally by Tribune reporters. Those are figures from a war zone; they shouldn’t reflect the reality of an August weekend in an American city.

Chicago is the nation’s bleak outlier, where a culture of violence and bloodshed devastates some areas.

Mass shootings in Chicago often involve gang members targeting rivals. Summer weather brings more people outside, which creates more opportunities for mayhem. Fred Waller, Chicago Police Department’s chief of patrol, told reporters a bad guy with a gun may be aiming at one person but will give zero thought to others in the field of fire. "You shoot aimlessly like that, you are shooting into a crowd," he said.

Waller blames the violence on the proliferation of illegal guns in the city. But he also blames "the culture," because Chicago’s terrible tradition of gun violence is connected to many aspects of life in struggling pockets of the South and West sides. He said gang members engage in mindless violence without any fear of consequence: If they’ve used a gun and are not incarcerated, they’ll do it again. That’s the life they know.

A lack of job opportunities contributes to hopelessness. Families are fractured, creating a shortage of positive role models. Soon, another generation coming of age is lost. "We need parents to be parents," police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Monday. "We need neighborhoods to be neighborhoods," he said, asking for help identifying suspects. "You all know who these individuals are, they come into your homes every day, sleep with you every night. Grandparents, parents, siblings, significant others — you know who they are."

This does not absolve CPD of responsibility for apprehending violent criminals, or the courts from using toughened sentencing guidelines to get repeat offenders off the streets. The police need community members to help fight crime, but Chicago has, along with its gang problem, significant trust issues between police and residents in some neighborhoods. That’s why it’s crucial for City Hall to sign off on a consent decree to start court monitoring of policing reforms.

The violence goes on and on, from killing season to killing season. It is the city’s great shame and cannot be forgotten.

Comments
Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

The Florida Supreme Court reached the right conclusion by ruling that the next governor has the authority to appoint three new justices to the court rather than departing Gov. Rick Scott. That is practical and reasonable, and it reflects the will of ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis wants voters to believe he is different than his Republican colleagues in Congress and President Donald Trump. The Palm Harbor Republican says he pays more attention to local issues than to the president, claims he doesnȁ...
Published: 10/15/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

The Hillsborough County school tax on the Nov. 6 ballot is a smart, necessary investment in the nation's eighth-largest school system. The 10-year, half-penny sales tax would create stronger, safer schools and a healthier learning environment for mor...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Editorial: Tampa water project benefits entire region

Editorial: Tampa water project benefits entire region

A proposal that goes to the three-county utility Tampa Bay Water on Monday could benefit residents, the economy and the environment across the region. The utility's governing board will consider a proposal by the city of Tampa to redirect highly trea...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Editorial: Rays’ purchase of Rowdies good for St. Petersburg

Editorial: Rays’ purchase of Rowdies good for St. Petersburg

The Tampa Bay Rays’ purchase of the Rowdies soccer team adds some stability to the region’s roster of professional sports franchises. It also guarantees that the Rowdies, who have amassed an enthusiastic fan base in a short time, will k...
Published: 10/12/18
Editorial: Remember Mexico Beach when next evacuation order comes

Editorial: Remember Mexico Beach when next evacuation order comes

When the sun rose Wednesday, Mexico Beach was a sleepy town of 1,200 people on Florida's northern Gulf coast. By sundown, it was gone. The pictures show the heartbreaking devastation left by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. Entire neighbor...
Published: 10/12/18
Shortsighted opposition to TECO

Shortsighted opposition to TECO

The destruction from Hurricane Michael is only the latest reminder of Florida's growing vulnerability to extreme weather, rising sea levels and other impacts of a warming climate. But the Sierra Club's opposition to Tampa Electric Co.'s plans to retr...
Published: 10/12/18
Times recommends: Chronister for Hillsborough sheriff

Times recommends: Chronister for Hillsborough sheriff

Florida sheriffs have long hand-plucked their successors from within the ranks. While he is a product of this tradition, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is uniquely qualified to be elected on his own merits.Then-Sheriff David Gee surprise...
Published: 10/11/18
Updated: 10/12/18
Times recommends: Yes on Florida Supreme Court retention

Times recommends: Yes on Florida Supreme Court retention

One justice on the Florida Supreme Court faces a merit retention vote in November, essentially an up-or-down vote of confidence allowing him to remain on the bench. Merit retention votes occur at least one year after the justice’s initial appo...
Published: 10/11/18
Times recommends: Yes on retaining 4 appeals judges

Times recommends: Yes on retaining 4 appeals judges

The 2nd District Court of Appeal judges are on the Nov. 6 ballot for merit retention. Voters are being asked whether the appellate judges should be retained for another six-year term.Two pieces of information are helpful in deciding. First, the Flori...
Published: 10/11/18