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CHICAGO'S police force has turned its full attention to fighting gang activity. As many as 400 officers a day, working overtime, have concentrated on 20 small zones — the most dangerous spots in Chicago — in an effort to stop trouble.

Homicides are down 34 percent so far this year.  

Police have identified 400 gang members likely to murder or be murdered, the New York Times said.

"It seems a little soon to know whether this is a long-term trend," Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, told the Times. "I think everyone in Chicago hopes it is very much a trend. I wouldn't pop the champagne yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

Less than 3 percent of homicides in the United States involve rifles, according to the FBI. Going after potential murderers is an improvement over such suggested "solutions" as banning "assault weapons" purchased by law-abiding people.

Chicago's concentration on people most likely to be involved in homicides shows promise.

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CLEVELAND Police Chief Michael McGrath demoted a captain and a lieutenant, suspended nine sergeants and fired a sergeant after a high-speed chase on Nov. 29 left two people dead.

More than 60 cruisers gave chase through crowded residential neighborhoods in pursuit of driver Timothy Russell and passenger Malisa Williams.

Of the 276 officers on duty that night, 104 were on the scene. No fewer than 13 officers fired 137 shots, with 23 shots hitting the driver and 24 hitting the passenger.

The Department of Justice is investigating this leadership failure of epic proportions.  

Russell was a convicted felon who tested as legally drunk. He and his passenger had used cocaine.

High-speed chases by hordes of officers belong in movies such as "The Blues Brothers," not real life. Police officers have plenty of authority. When they misuse that power, there must be consequences.

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THREE juveniles recently vandalized the Trinity United Methodist Church in Bluefield with spray-painted profanities. The Rev. Susan

Rector, pastor of the church, was devastated.  

"It was pretty awful, and I'm pretty hard to shock," she told Metro News.

Rector acted incisively. She invited the vandals in.

"To the individuals who painted our wall; aka Suicidal Monkey, Zombie, and JBAMS$," she wrote on Facebook.

"We are not angry with you. In fact we believe you are talented and gifted individuals whom Jesus has big plans for — plans for good and not ill.

"Knowing one's enemies is a good thing, but knowing one's friends is better. Your enemy skulks around in the dark seeking to destroy all the good things God wants to give you. Now, come meet your friends next Sunday Morning at Trinity Church."

Here is hoping the vandals accept her offer.

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THIS week marked municipal elections across the state, and at least of those two races ended in a tie.

In Hundred, Wetzel County, Mayor Charles A. Sine and Councilman Charles Himelrick each received 36 votes in the race for mayor.

In Friendly, Jerry Hayes tied with Mayor Bonnie Hostuttler with five votes each.

While the outcome could change once votes are

officially counted — it proves that every vote matters.

But the outcomes of these races also are evidence that some towns in the state may just be too small to have a government. Hundred's population was 299 in the last Census, which found only 132 people in Friendly.

If a mere six votes gets someone elected mayor, perhaps residents should consider dissolving that town.

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DESPITE an increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, the New York Times

reported this week that the rise in global temperatures has slowed down since 1998.  

"The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate

scientists," wrote Justin Gillis, the newspaper's environmental reporter.

This reality flies in the face of advocates of limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Michael Mann and others insisted there would be a sudden "hockey stick" spike in temperatures in that period.

Instead the increase slowed.

The failure to accurately forecast temperatures should fuel skepticism.

Before Americans accept any trillion-dollar policy changes, they will need to be convinced that politicians have the science right.


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