City must go ‘all in’ to end gun vi­o­lence

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION -

Sooner or later, Chicago, you will grow tired of bury­ing chil­dren. You will grow tired of wail­ing moth­ers. You will grow tired of liv­ing in fear in­side your own homes. You will re­al­ize that prayer, demon­stra­tions and await­ing gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion is not enough.

Chicago has lost both its san­ity and its sense of sanc­tu­ary. Now is the time for ac­tion.

1. If you com­mit a crime with a gun, you will draw 25 years in prison with­out pa­role.

2. If you are in­volved in a crime in which a weapon was il­le­gally dis­charged, or are a felon caught with a firearm, you will be sen­tenced to life in prison with­out pa­role.

3. If you are ju­ve­nile and you use a weapon, you will be in­car­cer­ated un­til age 18 (un­less you are tried as an adult). A sec­ond gun of­fense af­ter 18 will re­sult in life with­out pa­role.

These leg­isla­tive mea­sures do not in­ter­fere with Sec­ond Amend­ment rights and could be passed to­mor­row.

In ad­di­tion, there must be recog­ni­tion of, and an end to, struc­tural racism. Ster­ling Bay got $1 bil­lion for Lin­coln Yards on the North Side. A re­cent WBEZ study of bank home lend­ing found that for ev­ery $1 loaned to white com­mu­ni­ties, just 12 cents went to Black neigh­bor­hoods and 13 cents to Latino ar­eas. The South and West Sides should demand bil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ments as well.

We also must in­vest in and re­build our schools with smaller classes, des­per­ate­lyneeded teach­ers and sup­port staff along with af­ter-school pro­grams. Fur­ther, we must re­build our men­tal health cen­ters. There must be greater po­lice ac­count­abil­ity.

In turn, we need to sup­port teach­ers and po­lice, who can­not func­tion with­out com­mu­nity sup­port.

With­out these mea­sures, we will lose Chicago. Vi­o­lence is a city­wide is­sue, and it should be all in.

If lib­er­als find some of these mea­sures too dra­co­nian, my re­sponse is, move to En­gle­wood for one week.

Ge­orge Bridge­forth, M.D., Bartlett

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