Readers React

Charleston shooting: the flag debate

To the editor: Is a flag more symbolic of racism and hatred, or are oppressive actions more symbolic? Taking down a hurtful symbol is helpful. But what really makes a difference is results. ("No more Confederate flags," editorial June 23)

We need a legal system that doesn't punish us for being poor or having skin a few shades too dark. We must end civil forfeiture for a “suspected” but unproven crime and truly abolish debtors prison.

What would really make a difference would be for blacks who do have a lot of money to stop getting pulled over for driving a nice car in a nice neighborhood. What would truly make a difference would be returning to a nation that respects freedom and justice for all.

Basically, it gets back to treating people like humans, even if they have been convicted of a crime

Shane Algarin, San Diego


To the editor: No matter what the Confederate flag means to any person on the planet, there is one overriding reason it should never fly over any U.S. or state building: It is, by definition, a foreign flag.

The Confederate states proudly claimed to be outside the jurisdiction of the United States from day one. Abraham Lincoln's administration adamantly disputed their legal right to separate. Millions of Americans fought for four bloody years to settle the issue.

We don't fly the flags of foreign countries over our national and state houses. They should only fly on battlegrounds, at reenactments and in museums, where appropriate.

Perhaps it is time for a federal law outlawing foreign flags from flying over government buildings, period.

Tamara Smith, Bonita, Calif.


To the editor: Your comment about embracing history honestly smacks of condescension. So embrace this: The old Confederacy is the only part of the United States that was invaded by military forces and defeated in battle. It was then occupied by the conquerors, who imposed their capricious and arbitrary revenge for more than 10 years.

The battle flag, then, was the only symbol from which Southerners could derive some pride. In the last few decades, though, it has been hijacked by hate groups of all types, and it should rightfully come down because of that.

California should also learn how to embrace its history honestly. Los Angeles has had two race riots since the 1960s, and the city is racially divided. Many immigrants faced blatant discrimination, especially Chinese and Japanese.

And maybe you should read the history of the Bear Flag revolt.

Thomas Michael Kelley, Newbury Park


To the editor: As lawmakers in South Carolina and elsewhere hurriedly address the removal of the Confederate flag, and as retailers Wal-Mart, Sears and others ban the sale of such flags, I'm relieved to see that these influential parties have the American peoples' safety and protection in mind.

Because after all, “Guns don't kill people, flags do.”

Silvia Gutierrez, Gardena



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