When editors chose the front-page photo (above) for Thursday's print edition, they knew the image of dead Syrian children would be difficult for readers to view. But they also considered it newsworthy, and wanted to show the horror of what was suspected to be a poison-gas attack.
Jim Packer was one reader who was horrified:
"Please rethink your cover photo. Kids dead on the cover page is so wrong. So wrong I want to cancel my subscription."
But reader Mark Shoup of Apple Valley offered commendation rather than condemnation:
"No doubt you will receive criticism for publishing on the front page Thursday a graphic photo of dead Syrian children lined up in makeshift body shrouds. In my view you should be commended for showing this to us.
"Somehow the lack of blood, and the simplicity in which the photo shows the ghastly effects of chemical weaponry, if that's what it is, are more telling than any words. To those of us who want to know what's really going on in the world, the photo was the best evidence available, and you did the right thing by printing it."
Still others used the photo as an opportunity to make a political statement.
For Jeanine D'Elia of Granada Hills, it was gun control:
"What a devastating front page photo. My heart bleeds for the gassed victims in Syria. Any life snuffed out is tragic, yet to see the lifeless bodies of children chills deepest. It brings to mind Sandy Hook Elementary School. Were we to have seen photos of these dead, perhaps more gun control legislation would have passed. Of course, it wouldn't."
And Roxwell Hafdahl of San Juan Capistrano argued against the Obama administration's use of drones in the Middle East:
"I suggest that The Times print a front page article with photos, if possible, addressing the hundreds of innocent men, women and children that the Obama administration has killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen with the drone program. Contrast this with the killings in Syria and tell me where is the difference? Both are inhumane and despicable. In Obama's case, it undermines what I would think most Americans believe if confronted with the truth of what is happening.
"Is this what we want as a country? Killing innocent children in the name of national security? I don't think so."