Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Letters to the Editor

Editor's note: We respect your opinion and are privileged to share it via this website. All letters to the editor will be reviewed before being posted. We do allow anonymous comments, yet we will not allow the Southwest Chicago Post to serve as a forum for bigotry of any kind. We also will not allow personal attacks against anyone, including elected officials and other public figures. On this site, all of us need to keep our tone respectful and our criticisms constructive. That's important as we work together to build better Southwest Side neighborhoods for all. So please join the conversation by sending your letter to

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Dear Editor,

Thank you for the video Christmas card you shot on Christmas Eve. I saw it the next day and shared it with my mom, who moved to Florida a few years ago after living on the Southwest Side all her life. You should do more videos like that.

Patti Vaccaro
West Lawn

Editor's reply: Thank you. We hope to produce more quick, upbeat videos like that throughout 2013.

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Dear Editor,

You have me and my husband stumped. We saw your Christmas video and can't for the life of us figure out where the first house is, despite the fact that it looks so familiar. I say it's somewhere in Chicago Lawn. My husband thinks it's in the suburbs---maybe Summit or La Grange. Who's right?

Sue Pavelich
Garfield Ridge

Editor's reply: Neither; but you're close, while your husband is off by at least four miles. (All of the homes in the video are right here on the Southwest Side. Nothing suburban.) Anyway, the house in question is in West Lawn: the Werner home at 64th and Lawndale, which for decades has been---and still is---one of the best maintained and decorated homes in the area. The family decorates not just for Christmas, but every major holiday. Looks like an old-fashioned, all-American home, like something you'd see in a Frank Capra film. Nice people, nice house.

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With all due respect and as a colleague in journalism, I still disagree with your decision to describe those who commit crimes with loaded terms like thugs, crooks, criminals, gangbangers, etc.

As I wrote to you in October, "Most newspapers stick to descriptions like man or male, woman or female. When you express an opinion in your news stories by using loaded terms like "thugs" I think people will interpret that, correctly or not, as you taking sides or even being racist."

What I think you're not taking into consideration is that different people have different motivations for committing crimes. Yes, some people who commit criminal acts are bad. But maybe others have economic reasons, etc.   Just a thought.

C.K. Williams
Rogers Park

Editor's reply: Thanks for your input, Chester. Allow me to reiterate what I wrote before: "If a man sticks a loaded gun in your face, threatens to pull the trigger and robs you at gunpoint---how is that man not a thug?"

Unlike some other news organizations, the Southwest Chicago Post does not pretend that there is some kind of moral equivalence between criminals and their victims. There isn't. One is committing an unlawful (and frankly, evil) act. The other is, usually, an ordinary person who did nothing to deserve being a crime victim.

We also don't try to split hairs by looking at alleged motivations of criminals. Think about a man who walks into and robs a 7-Eleven. Whether that man is doing so because he's a mean-spirited thug or whether he's a desperate man trying to get cash for his grandma's eye operation is neither here nor there to the clerk behind the counter---all that person knows is "There's a nervous, angry man pointing a loaded gun at my face; and there's a significant chance I will never see my wife/husband, children, family and friends again."

Every SWCP reader who's ever been robbed at gunpoint knows that terror. And Chester, I'll bet if I polled them, they'd be OK with us describing armed robbers as thugs, criminals, crooks, etc. In fact, they may suggest that we use other terms, as I found out from a letter we received in response to yours. (Check it out below.)

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Dear Editor,

This is a letter to disagree with that man who thinks you should not call criminals criminals.

Years ago, I was robbed by a man with a loaded gun. The fear that raced through my mind made it hard to think. The fear that gripped my chest made it hard to breathe. The fright went all the way to and through my bones, making it hard to move and follow orders.

Luckily for me, I was not killed in that robbery. The robber lowered his revolver and shot me in the leg before he fled the scene, because I didn't move as fast as he wanted, he said.

My leg healed, but for months after, I had nightmares about the incident---often ending with him pointing the gun at my chest and firing.

So speaking only for myself, I say go ahead and call a criminal a criminal or a thug a thug. If I wrote the crime stories in the Southwest Chicago Post or anywhere else, I'd call them b~stards, sons of b~tches or worse.

Carol (last name withheld upon request)
Archer Heights

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I want to know why all of a sudden these neighborhood newspapers are flooding their pages with pictures of the same politicians, again and again.

Every time I read a paper, I see the latest nonsense from (Illinois Secretary of State) Jesse White or (State Senator Martin) Sandoval.

White even puts out entire articles about his office hours, like "Secretary of State offices will be closed on Thanksgiving."

Gee, ya think?

What next? Jesse White gives directions to the bathrooms?

Lately, Sandoval has put out more pictures of himself than a teenager on Facebook. Sandoval standing next to a suburban fire chief, then next to a senior citizen club president, then with a group of children at a school. What next? Sandoval at your child's birthday party?

I thought the elections are over. Why don't these politicians stop campaigning and get about the business of what they were elected to do?

Finally, why do so many neighborhood newspapers print the drivel from these politicians? Are they in cahoots with them?

William "Bill" Barczak

Editor's reply: We can't speak for other neighborhood newspapers, here or anywhere. You'd have to ask them. We can only speak for ourselves. For our part, we have not printed a press release or a photo from a politician. While we know that all local politicians (or at least their staffs) read the Southwest Chicago Post, we're not on their press release mailing lists. That's their prerogative. It's OK by us.

Regarding White and Sandoval, your guess is as good as ours. Usually, politicians run campaign-style PR operations when they're campaigning for something. Does White want to be governor in 2014? Does Sandoval aspire to statewide office or something else? We don't know. You'd have to ask them. Either way, time will tell.

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Thank you for stopping by to take a photo of our Student Council officers who led our drive to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy. It was well received by the parents and everyone.

We hope you will mention our open house and other Catholic Schools Week activities in early 2013.

Lawrence Manetti
Principal, St. Joseph School

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