Re "The Battlefield at Home," editorial, March 20: Basketball coach and role model Lee Denmon III was shot and killed by a gang member who mistook him for a gang rival. Where are all those "people of conscience"?
Why are they not linking arms and raising their voices in the ravaged neighborhoods of Los Angeles? Why are they not acting as human shields protecting children, the elderly and other innocent citizens from these thugs? Why are they not surrounding the well-known residences of gang members and chanting for them to leave our communities, as we have seen done with child molesters? Why are they not storming the mayor's office, City Council offices and county supervisors' offices demanding expulsion of these criminals?
I guess the weight of conscience is relieved if it is not within walking distance of a Starbucks and TV cameras aren't around.
The Westwood protesters hold up signs that say, in effect, "support our troops and bring them home" (March 21). If you want to support our troops then make sure their families are taken care of. See if there is something you can do to help them. Holding up your signs, chanting and blocking the street, is not support. It is irritating to the military family. Also, blocking the streets does not get you anything but news coverage and angry drivers who will end up speeding later because you held them up in traffic. Will they be stopped for speeding? Probably not, because your actions have taken L.A.'s finest away from protecting our streets.
Please correct me if I'm wrong. If one of the reasons we are at war is because we are fighting for freedom in Iraq, then people should have the freedom to express their views about the war.
As I watched news coverage about a protest at the Federal Building in Westwood on March 19, I was horrified to see a lone, cowardly Los Angeles Police Department officer strike several high school war protesters with his police baton. One person was even turned around, bending down, helping a woman the officer had already hit.
What an affront to free speech. What a disgraceful display against the many other courageous police officers who peaceably put their lives on the line against criminals and deserve our support.
As a veteran of abortion clinic defense and pro-choice marches, I am saddened by the less-than-peaceful behavior of a substantial number of antiwar protesters. Agitating is an inevitable (and thankfully minute) byproduct at demonstrations, but reckless behavior not only dilutes the message, it endangers the public at large. Nothing can be gained by blocking traffic and antagonizing the police except disdain. I urge demonstrators to actively diffuse or isolate those around you bent on causing anything but peace. You must "walk the walk."
I can understand how some people can study history without comprehending its lessons, how some can be duped by a tyrant's propaganda or how others can be so blinded by political fanaticism that they equate the morality of the U.S. administration with that of a despot. What I can't understand is why such people would choose to display their ignorance by blocking traffic.
Thomas A. Patronite
I think that Bryan W. Lockett (letter, March 23) reflects the views of many when he remarks that antiwar protests have changed his mind in favor of war.
To all like-minded citizens who find such complex issues so easily clarified by everyday inconveniences such as traffic jams, all I can say is: You scare me.
These protests are being shown on Arab TV and are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Free speech or not, I will hold them directly responsible for added enemy resistance and unnecessary damage to our effort to remove the tyrant. If we were the evil oil-mongers that the protesters and the Arab world claim, let them look at Kuwait, where we restored the country and the oil to the people.