Views in brief

Seeking answers in my brother's death

IN RESPONSE to "The terrorists in blue": My brother was recently shot and killed by two police officers in their back parking lot. It was three weeks tomorrow, and we have no answers.

What started as police claiming he had a "gun" has turned to "what appeared to be a weapon," to an "object," and now them declining to say.

I don't even have the right to know the officers' names who did it. They are sitting at home while they get free defense and their own investigation--and I get nothing but more questions they won't answer.

It's high time the police had to obey the laws they are supposed to uphold. There needs to be protocols to follow, mental evaluations, drug testing (random and often), training in dealing with people and the accountability WE ALL HAVE TO ANSWER TO.

If you put your hand on a gun, you better be able to look the mother, father, siblings, etc., in the eye and say it was your ONLY CHOICE! There's no "do-overs" when you are the judge, jury and executioner, all in a matter of minutes.

My brother was white. He was a triathlete, a coach and full of love and life. He was also profiled. They will shoot any color.

YES, I'M ANGRY! I obeyed the rules! He didn't deserve to be put down like a dog with an "undisclosed" amount of bullets! IT'S TIME FOR ACCOUNTABILITY.
Michelle Dalton, Greenville, S.C.

Racism of Chicago's trauma system

IN RESPONSE to "U of Chicago's violent crime": I lived and worked in Chicago, and I know the sorry history of Billings Hospital at the University of Chicago (as it was known).

Too many stories proliferated about Black Chicagoans being denied admittance to the trauma units at Billings and Michael Reese. Finally, Billings closed its trauma unit in 1988, and Michael Reese closed completely in 2009.

One of the most tragic cases to reach the mainstream media was the shooting death of Ben Wilson, a high school basketball superstar at Simeon High School, on November 20-21, 1984. (Full disclosure: I had seen Benji at a Bulls-Celtics game, on November 15, 1984. Moreover, my appellate defender office was assigned the case of one of the two convicted killers in this case.)

Benji, who suffered serious wounds, was not taken to the two working trauma units in the area--Billings and Michael Reese--but was dumped, like other Black Chicagoans, at St. Bernard on West 64th Street, where because of the lack of a trauma unit, he received substandard care and died several hours after he was admitted.

The tragic death of Ben Wilson illustrated the racist character of the "world-famous" Chicago medical system. His mother, Mary, fought for years in civil court on behalf of her deceased son, and finally reached a settlement almost eight years after his death.

Fortunately, ESPN has resurrected the tragic demise of Ben Wilson in its recent documentary Benji. Although this fantastic documentary does not focus on the failure to transport Ben to a nearby trauma unit, it does emphasize the belief that with proper care, his life could have been saved.

No longer does Billings have to worry about allegations of racism, so instead they beat protesters who plead for proper medical care in Chicago's South Side. What does Obummer have to say? Over and out.
Rick Faust, Minneapolis

Calling attention to birthing justice

THANK YOU for writing about the study that my colleague Lynn Paltrow and I undertook, documenting the deprivations of pregnant women's physical liberty ("The new Jane Crow"). We appreciate your efforts to call attention to these cases and the injustice they represent.

Do you know what else pleases me? That it is one of my current (undergraduate) students who called the coverage to my attention. The winds of change are blowing...
Jeanne Flavin, from the Internet

P.S.--Julia Oparah (formerly Sudbury)--known for her work on globalization and the prison industrial complex--is doing some really important work around birthing justice in Oakland.

Do the Waltons care about education?

IN RESPONSE to "You can't sell us on charters": If anybody believes the Walton Family--six of whom combined are worth $90 billion--has the best interest of Chicago's inner-city kids foremost in their thoughts, please contact me; I have some prime beachfront property in Bentonville, Ark., I can let you have for a song.

The Waltons want our kids to be just educated enough to work as cashiers and stock clerks in one of their big box stores. They would also prefer our kids to be regimented, compliant and able to follow orders. Where better to learn these lessons than in a charter school that is a cross between a boot camp and a school? Non-union teachers are an added bonus; we don't want our future "associates" getting any funny ideas.
Guy Miller, Chicago

Fighting for union justice in the South

IN RESPONSE to "Making the South union strong": I generally agree with the main thrust of the article. That said, it would have been useful to discuss how groups like Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ) have been building "minority unions" in some workplaces.

BWFJ and other labor activists (International Longshoreman's Association Local 1422 in Charleston, S.C, Donna DeWitt of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, etc.) have been at the forefront of organizing the South for decades.

Another aspect of "organizing the South" is, in my opinion, political. The fight for a workers' or labor party is an urgent task.
Jay Leslie, Bristol. Pa.