Editorial: How do we curb the violence that claimed Miles Thompson?

  • Miles Thompson

    Miles Thompson

Updated 7/15/2021 5:25 AM

On our front page on Sunday, we carried the tragic story of Miles Thompson, a suburban teenager who seemingly had his whole life ahead of him only to be shot to death last week while visiting his father in Chicago.

"You can't make rhyme or reason of this. You can't," his stepfather Michael Cooper told our staff writer Katlyn Smith. "They killed a superhero."


There is a symbiotic relationship between the suburbs and Chicago. Some see them as somehow separate. They are not. The health of one affects the health of the other.

This is true in all things, including public safety. And including the sense of safety we feel.

It is hard to read that poignant story about Miles without a tear coming to your eye. A popular 18-year-old graduate of Glenbrook North High School, a football recruit headed to St. Ambrose University in Iowa on a full scholarship, the light of his Northbrook family.

It is harder still when you realize Miles is one of hundreds claimed by urban violence. Some of the victims have been from the suburbs; most have been from the city. Many have been young like Miles; many even younger. Some have lived lives beyond reproach; some have not. They all have been human. They all had stories, all had families, all had futures.

How does our society instill such little virtue in us that such precious life can be so heavily discounted?

This is a sacrilege that must be addressed.

Will we as a society address it?

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Or will we bounce it back and forth in bumper sticker solutions that rile everyone up but make the streets little safer?

Gun control is part of the solution, but as much as liberal politics centers on it, it is only a part.

Law enforcement is part of the solution, but as much as conservative politics centers on it, it is only a part.

This is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive response. Not one response. But myriad responses.

It requires not just a response to crime and to gangs, but ultimately a response as well to poverty and to inequity. And ultimately, it calls to us build a culture of virtue.

How do we get at all of that?

Let's start with courage, candor and seriousness of purpose.

Look at Miles' face in the accompanying photo. Look at his proud parents, now heartbroken.

We owe it to them to find the solutions.

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