Letters: If you were being held hostage, wouldn’t you want your government to rescue you? (2024)

The person you cherish more than anyone on earth has been brutally kidnapped by terrorists. Would you do anything in your power to save the life of your precious loved one who is being held hostage by those who have tortured and killed in an attack on your country and who hold the precarious life of your loved one? It is beyond your control that civilian hostages are being held among civilian inhabitants through intentional and methodical planning by the terrorists. Their intent to lay blame on your country for trying to save those taken from you is their plan.

How can the civilian inhabitants of Gaza not blame the insidious Hamas for intentionally and meticulously planning their destruction by holding innocent civilian hostages among them? How can the world be blind to the desperation of Israeli families to save their own?

The deaths of those Gazans deliberately put in the path of destruction are Hamas’ plan to turn the world against Israel as the military of that country attempts to find and bring its innocent captive loved ones back to their families.

Would you not ask for the lives of your beloveds to be saved?

— Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Chicago

Hamas is to blame for deaths

The Gazans killed and wounded during Israel’s recent rescue of four hostages, during which one of the Israeli rescuers was killed, are the fault and the responsibility of Hamas and Hamas alone. The hostages were held in a civilian refugee camp in which terrorists were hiding them in plain sight. Hamas and the other terror groups holding innocent hostages are fully and exclusively responsible for the civilian deaths that occur during rescue operations.

If you were held hostage, wouldn’t you expect your government to free you, by force if necessary, without regard to the costs in enemy lives imposed by the terrorists who hide among civilians? Of course you would.

The blame for civilian casualties rests solely with the criminals who place innocents in harm’s way.

— Robert J. Kopka, Highland Park

Biden’s action on the border

Regarding President Joe Biden and his decisions on immigration and Mexico: It seems some don’t know that a bipartisan immigration bill was blocked recently in the U.S. House of Representatives. It included resources for the overwhelmed system at the border and additional workers. Why was it turned down? House Speaker Mike Johnson had a conversation with Donald Trump, who didn’t want it. That bill included most conservative requests and was comprehensive in its provisions.

It is not in the best interest of America when two parties can’t agree on ways to address serious problems. Johnson should be focused on the good of America, not taking his cues from a man who uses immigration and the border as a political blame game and is more interested in preventing progress for the country in an effort to make Biden look bad.

Therefore, Biden did what he was able to do on his own. But how much more effective it would be to have the backing of a functioning Congress with a bill that could provide so much more support for the border. I am so sick of Trump first and America last.

— Janice Fletcher, Frankfort

A suggestion for president

Since we were able to produce an exceptional president from Hollywood, there’s no reason the same can’t be done with a dedicated journalist.

With some encouragement, we should get Joseph Lindsley to return home from Ukraine and campaign for the job of president of the United States. It certainly won’t take Joseph very long to prove his statesmanship. The world needs an honorable leader.

— Dean Armentrout, Barrington

Deepfakes threaten democracy

The rapid advancement of technology has profoundly transformed our democracy. While it has facilitated positive change, it has also introduced significant threats to the integrity of democratic processes. The latest and most concerning of these threats is the rise of deepfakes.

Deepfakes — highly realistic and digitally manipulated videos, photos and audio — pose a dire risk by distorting reality and sowing discord. They undermine the very foundation of democratic principles, making immediate and decisive action crucial to safeguard our electoral process.

This threat is not theoretical; it is happening now. In this year’s presidential election, a deepfake was used in the New Hampshire primary. A robocall that faked President Joe Biden’s voice attempted to dissuade voters from voting in the primary. This is just the beginning.

Deepfakes can manipulate public opinion and influence elections in ways previously unimaginable. To combat this, lawmakers must enact comprehensive legislation to regulate the creation and distribution of deepfakes, especially in an electoral context. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and X must also take responsibility. These companies need robust policies to detect, flag and swiftly remove deceptive content.

Public awareness is equally important. Informing citizens about the existence and dangers of deepfakes empowers them to recognize and resist manipulation. An educated electorate is our best defense against digital deception. However, this technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated and harder to detect, highlighting the need for constant vigilance.

Only through a combination of strict legislation, responsible tech companies and an informed public can we ensure that our democracy remains untainted by the threat of deepfakes. The integrity of our elections and the voice of the people depend on our collective action and unwavering commitment to confronting this digital menace.

— Noah Ramirez, Chicago

Corruption is commonplace

Reflecting on a Tribune story from June 12 about convicted former Ald. Edward Burke (“Feds say Burke followed ‘dark path of corruption'”), the path may be dark, but it is well traveled.

— John McAuley, Glenview

Letters: If you were being held hostage, wouldn’t you want your government to rescue you? (1)

Wilmette is better than this

Quite early on a cool, sunny morning, I met a retired Chicago Fire Department officer sitting on a park bench at the beach in Wilmette’s Gillson Park. He was enjoying the sun, the sound of the waves of Lake Michigan rolling onto the beach — and staring at a fence! He told me that he had been coming up there for many years after getting off a grueling shift at the firehouse to seek solace and relaxation in the serene and beautiful natural surroundings of Gillson Park before heading home. He was so dismayed to see the fence go up and viewed it as a “keep out” sign.

I also met a longtime Wilmette resident and Wilmette Park District employee who applauded the new fence and the recently initiated fees. He spoke about many incidents he had witnessed of those who came, usually on the weekends, disregarded clearly posted parking restrictions, and were rude and abusive to park staff, often teenage summer employees, when challenged.

Many Wilmette residents are truly saddened that the fence was the first option used to curtail these occasional problems. We are heartsick to see our suburb being portrayed as elitist and unfriendly to nonresidents. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have always experienced Wilmette as a warm and welcoming place to live and raise our three children. Visitors are always welcome as long as they are respectful of those who reside here. It is Wilmette residents who have helped support the creation and maintenance of this beautiful space for the enjoyment of all.

We are hopeful that we can work with our Park Board officials to find a more agreeable solution to the misuse of our park by a handful of visitors. Let’s start by hiring more seasoned beach security personnel and remove the eyesore created by the unwelcome fence.

— Dilys Rana, Wilmette

Why fence off park’s beach?

I drove to Gillson Park recently and was horrified to see what has been done to this beautiful piece of the shoreline.

It occurs to me that my horror has a story to it. Long ago, I was raised in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood in a big family. Once a summer or so, my parents would squish us into the car, picnic lunch in my mother’s lap (probably a baby, too), and we would take off north to find a perfect spot. We didn’t. Every beach we came to north of Howard Street was private. No admittance. I don’t remember where we ended our search, but I do remember, young as I was, that I sensed it was wrong to keep us out. The lake was for everybody, thought my 8-year-old self, until — it wasn’t.

Years later, I married and moved to Wilmette and every summer purchased passes for my children and me to use Wilmette’s beach. I still felt the sting, but those were the rules, and I caved. It was a heavenly place to take the boys. The boys grew up, and I continued to buy a parking pass for Gillson Park in order to use the tennis courts and because of the beauty of the south beach, where you could be only steps from the shore, where there were perfectly placed benches and where, as you aged, you could choose to sit in your car and gaze at Lake Michigan. Tennis ended. Gazing didn’t.

I recently saw this new fence, which extends the full length of the south beach. There are “stations” where a fee is taken, a fee that will probably deter the families who used to come. The guards explained that there was a safety problem that necessitated the fence and that it was perfectly OK for me to walk the beach without paying, as long as I did not stop or sit down.

I was devastated. I cannot believe that the people of Wilmette approve of this fence. All the people, old and young, resident and nonresident, who used to stroll along the shore, who used to sit on the benches, will now face a fence. Why? I mean, really, why?

— Alicia Ward Resnick, Winnetka

Caseworkers face heavy load

Back in 1988, two Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworkers were indicted by a Cook County grand jury in response to the horrific beating death of 1-year-old Jonathan Campbell and subsequent investigation. They were both ultimately cleared — but only after losing their jobs and suffering through the anxiety, expense and humiliation of a criminal trial.

It appears that since that time, the relationship between DCFS and the criminal justice system has deteriorated and become even more adversarial.

Now, Carlos Acosta, a former DCFS investigator, has been criminally convicted and sentenced for mishandling abuse allegations prior to the murder of A.J. Freund. Young A.J. was brutally killed by his parents, who are both serving long prison sentences. I have no doubt that Acosta made mistakes in the handling of this case. An internal investigation by DCFS resulted in his termination.

It is hard to believe, however, that Acosta did not care about the children and families he worked with. He has reportedly spent most of his life working in social services. It is well documented how out of compliance DCFS has been for decades in managing caseloads and the number of assigned investigations. It is basically an impossible job that those outside of the agency cannot truly comprehend. The pressure to keep up with mountains of documentation and adhere to unrealistic timelines and deadlines is overwhelming and unsustainable.

Acosta will spend the next six months of his life in jail as a result of this conviction. He will also be on probation and must serve community service hours and pay a fine after his release. He will never be employed in his chosen field again. He is indeed paying a very heavy price for the mistakes that he made.

DCFS has had 15 directors during the past two decades, none of whom has been able to successfully address and solve the chronic systemic issues that exist in the department. I don’t think the looming potential to be held criminally liable is going to help DCFS recruit and retain professional staff willing to take on an impossible job.

The consequences of mistakes and erroneous judgment could not be costlier, yet the need to assist troubled families and vulnerable children is essential.

— Greg Newlin, Aurora

Waiting for O’Hare passengers

I make a few trips every year to O’Hare International Airport dropping off and picking up friends and family. It amazes me how many people park while they wait for their passengers along the side of the road or ramps feeding into the airport.

This is getting out of control. Not only is it illegal, but it also is very dangerous when the drivers try to merge back into traffic.

Tickets should be issued.

— Gwen Placek, Western Springs

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

Letters: If you were being held hostage, wouldn’t you want your government to rescue you? (2024)
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