An L.A. child-abuse case; gun control and the Washington police shootings; the debate over breast cancer screening

A brutal legacy

Re “Abuse begets abuse in a family’s brutal legacy,” Nov. 29

Until society starts to realize that not everyone can be a parent, there will be more work than social workers can handle -- and more dead children.

As a worker, I have absolutely no objections to paying my fair share of taxes to support the social workers and others who do their best to try to protect at-risk children. However, at some point society must start asking some fairly unpleasant but pertinent questions, such as how many more dead/abused children can we keep paying for before we start to look at how many children these parents keep having?

Karen Weston

Thankfully, this poor family has a $2.6-million judgment pending. And as Tylette Davis’ mom stated, “We’ll be able to buy a five-, six-bedroom house so all my grandkids could be under one roof, and Tylette [who recently pleaded guilty to trying to stab her current boyfriend] can get custody of her children again.”

I only hope the family saves some of that taxpayer money for the essentials of living: whiskey, cigarettes and crack cocaine.

Rich Siegel
Los Angeles

I am truly dumbfounded. How can someone even think that that lifestyle is OK for children? And why didn’t the authorities get involved sooner?

A little boy was murdered because a mother couldn’t take care of her children properly. If you’re living in lesser means, then why in the world would you have children? Better yet, why wouldn’t you take care of them? It’s just baffling.

I’m glad that those kids are getting a chance to have a normal life now; they deserve it. I am thankful that their family members are caring enough to take the children in, and I wish them all the joy and happiness the world has to offer.

Alexandra Sherwood

Coto de Caza

After reading your article, I’m sending a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Kate Nelson
Manhattan Beach

All right, I know I’m going to sound very politically incorrect, but here goes: This is not an issue of race. This legacy of children having children and abuse running rampant through families generation after generation is an issue of ignorance. Pure and simple.

When a 13- or 14- or 15-year-old has a couple of children (with more likely on the way) and social services have been called over and over, something needs to be done. The government should step in and offer a monetary incentive to the birth mother to have her tubes tied and the birth father to have a vasectomy.

Katy Evans
Pacific Palisades

Guns, gun rights -- and 4 dead

Re “Crazy about guns,” Editorial, Dec. 1, and “Four police officers slain in Seattle-area ambush,” Nov. 30

As is usual when The Times editorializes against guns, you focus on guns and miss the real point.

Yes, the shooter used a gun to kill four police officers in Washington, but the real crime was that the legal systems of two states turned this criminal loose again and again to prey on society.

In case you haven’t noticed, our California legal system does the same thing -- most horribly in the death of Lily Burk last summer.

Jim Dodd

San Diego

Your editorial hit the bull’s-eye. We need to stop crazy people from getting guns -- but we should go a step further and keep crazy fugitives in jail rather than pardoning them and putting them back on the streets so that they can get their guns and go “even more crazy.”

Michael L. Friedman

Thank you for the spot-on editorial about the sick love of guns that permeates our society. Expect a noisy backlash.

A large sector of America confuses its loss of relevance, whether through aging or cultural change, with a philosophical threat against its political beliefs . . . and reaches for its guns.

If Americans are “wired” to love guns, it’s because the “electricians” were the gun manufacturers themselves, who relentlessly promoted their lethal products in the 19th century.

Michael Jenning

Van Nuys

“Knife-Wielding Assailant Kills 4 (or 13)” is not a common Times headline. Your editorial makes it clear: There is a direct correlation between guns and murder rates.

As long as Americans tolerate the NRA’s inane platitude, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people,” we must wipe away our crocodile tears, bury our dead and admit that death is the price our society is willing to pay for the right to bear arms.

Or we could send a message to the NRA: Our right to life comes before the right to bear arms.

If the NRA response is the defiant mumbo-jumbo about prying guns from cold, dead hands, then my point is made: Guns = Death.

Arch Miller

The tragic shooting of the police officers points out two failures of our criminal justice systems: Gun laws’ inability to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Criminals just do not obey laws; that is why they are called criminals. The bigger failure in this case was the inability to keep a dangerous criminal locked up. Is the situation in our state any better?

Murry I. Rozansky

After previous mass murders, the anti-gun-control advocates often argued that if the victims had guns, the number killed could be limited because gun-toting honest citizens would blaze away and stop the criminal. Now that four police officers -- all well trained, armed and wearing bulletproof vests -- have been killed, have we heard the last of that argument?

Jim Corbett
San Clemente

The debate about breast cancer

Re “A cancer anecdote speaks up,” Opinion, Nov. 29, and “Cult of pink,” Opinion, Dec. 2

Hooray for Barbara Ehrenreich for an overdue iconoclastic blast at the debate regarding the timing and frequency of mammograms.

It is amazing that otherwise radical women unquestioningly lock step to slogans before checking facts. We fight political, social and religious dogma, yet do not hold the medical industry accountable when misusing science for the sake of public relations.

Good medical professionals shall benefit along with us once they replace the God complex infecting their field with the inoculation of true, cutting-edge science.

Lorraine Carpinelli
Huntington Beach

Ehrenreich’s Op-Ed is brilliant. We do need a new women’s health movement.

Breast cancer and pink have become so popular and implied that many have forgotten about other medical and psychological issues holding women back -- domestic violence, rape, unwanted pregnancy and actually discussing proactive healthcare for all women and girls, on a family level.

Pink is pretty, soft and harmless. Domestic violence, rape and unwanted pregnancies call up feelings and thoughts that many would prefer to run away from.

Carmen Matthews
San Diego

Linda Ellerbee’s anecdote is a perfect example of what is wrong with the debate on breast cancer screening guidelines. First, the guidelines apply to screening asymptomatic women. Ellerbee went for a mammogram after finding a lump. Second, she mocks the recommendation against the teaching of breast self-exams because she detected a lump by such a method. Despite her anecdote, women who receive such instruction are no less likely to die of breast cancer. Finally, I have no idea why she suspects this change in guidance is driven by sexism; the reality is that prostate cancer guidelines also have been changed to limit screening in certain groups of men due to fears of false positive screens for a disease for which treatment remains debilitating for many men.

Bimal Chaudhari
Closter, N.J.

Kudos to Ellerbee on her article about the recent studies on the value of mammograms and self-exams.

I’d like to ask if studies have been done to show the value of PSA screening for prostate cancer. I’m sure they have, so what a pity that women’s screening is so much more expensive than a simple blood test.

As for the manual testing, the essay reminds me of my own experience years ago when a gynecologist didn’t want to do a manual breast exam because I said there was no history of breast cancer in my family.

Judith Terzi