Assemblyman Donnelly's rhetoric; the Chowchilla kidnapping; the killing of innocents in Afghanistan

Assemblyman's 'war'

Re "Making law by talking 'war,' " Column One, April 12

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly's (R-San Bernardino) use of violent imagery and his "shoot out" pantomime are offensive to those who must cope with gun violence. If he wishes to have a war with Democrats, may I suggest he begin with just one — me.

I am but one of the many people affected daily by decisions made by Republicans, who use the budget crisis as an excuse to disregard their obligation to the poor and the ill. Donnelly talks of sending his children to private Christian school. I defend his right to do so, but I wonder how his understanding of the God we share can allow him to damage so many lives.

The only wars we can have in a civilized society are of words and philosophy. To that, I say: Bring it.

Marilyn Grunwald

Van Nuys

Like Donnelly, I have a degree in English from UC Irvine. But unlike him, I believe in global warming. I believe in science.

An English program teaches you to look at a piece of literature objectively, and then come up with an argument supported by the textual evidence. One simply cannot make up conclusions unsupported by the data.

The program at UC Irvine exposed me to the thoughts and stories of many groups of people, teaching me empathy — something the assemblyman seems to lack.

Donnelly is not representative of the school. He holds a degree, but in many respects, he failed college.

Zareh Delanchian


No parole in Chowchilla case

Re "Time for parole," Editorial, April 9

I vehemently disagree with your analysis that the Chowchilla kidnapping was not an exceptionally heinous crime. What renders it such is not the public nature of the act, but the exceptionally large number of children kidnapped from a place when their parents and a governmental entity, the school district, had arranged for an adult (the bus driver) to care for the kids.

I cannot think of another situation in which so many children were threatened with losing their lives while their parents had done their best to assure that no such threat could occur. Parole is not appropriate.

Stephanie Scher

Los Angeles

I am a 68-year-old lawyer and administrative law judge who, if I had to define myself, would be called a moderate liberal.

With regard to your position favoring parole and your view on whether this is a "heinous crime," in lieu of my usual moderation and attempt to be nuanced in my thinking, let me just say to you: Are you nuts?

Michael H. Miller

Los Angeles

The moral price of Afghan war

Re "Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy," April 10

The Afghan war is a sad tragedy for our country. A line in the article about the cameraman watching the Afghans and saying, "Oh, sweet target," summarizes painfully that our country does not see well at all in this war; it also shows a large element of bigotry.

Globally, we are all in this when we remain quiet in opposition to cutting the "defense" budget while not at all worried about taking away fathers and mothers from needy children in nameless places.

If the law of providence is true, we have a heavier price to pay down the road unless we atone for what we have done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

M.A. Khakoo


The hesitation of the U.S. soldiers who made these erroneous killings proves we've progressed from the lesson of the Vietnam War, when the U.S. command decided the village of My Lai was full of Viet Cong and massacred all human beings found in it.

Nonetheless, in the confusion of this tragedy, there exists a conspicuous absence: a capable and reliable Afghan sitting next to the drone pilot in Nevada to help sort out the friends from the foes. This strikes me as odd, since even The Times has an Afghan correspondent who assisted with this report.

Do Huu Chi

Garden Grove

Hate after 9/11

Re "Attack shakes community," April 11

Kamaljit Atwal said that hate is a sign that "nothing has changed" in the decade since the 9/11 attacks. I beg to differ.

Before 9/11, haters were not widely accepted in polite American society. They've always been with us, but mainstream Americans held them in scorn. Since 9/11, the haters have come into the light of day. They now seem to be widely accepted.

As a senior white male, I think we have lost something in the transition. America has changed profoundly since 9/11, but not for the better. I think we are weaker as a nation.

My condolences, Mr. Atwal; I hope your father recovers soon.

Hardy Hayes


Concord's virtues

Re "Failed school's leader accused," April 10

Concord International High School has been through some tough times recently, but we are once again a solvent, fully accredited school and continue to offer a first-rate education in Santa Monica.

Concord is a microcosm of America: We have suffered economic reversal, a change of leadership and considerable stress. But, like the nation, our school community also has reserves of good-old-fashioned American optimism, creativity and entrepreneurship.

I am very proud of my colleagues and our students for their refusal to give up. Despite the upheaval, our graduates will once again go to college at UC Berkeley, Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania, among other places.

America has restructured itself, and so has Concord. We offer Los Angeles and the nation a story of hope, determination and success.

Andrew J. Taylor

Santa Monica

The writer is director of academics at Concord International High School.

Immigrant's tale

Re "A family's ride to a new life," Column, April 8

Kudos to Hector Tobar for his column praising his wife's late grandmother Guadalupe Chavira. Her life mirrors so many of the conscientious, hard-working immigrants to this great country. I related to his loving words myself, thinking of my immigrant grandparents and my first-generation American parents.

We can only do what Guadalupe did: live good lives, love our families and hope that our own children and grandchildren feel a small portion of this respect and love for us when we untie these mortal bonds.

May her memory be a blessing.

Susan Black-Feinstein

Mar Vista

Better in Sweden

Re "Jobs lose allure at Ikea site," April 10

This is a sign of the times in the U.S., following President Obama's budget compromises with the congressional right. Ikea's operation in Danville, Va., provides much lower wages than in its home country of Sweden, forces worker overtime and is anti-union — all practices unheard of in Europe.

I appreciate this wake-up call.

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

La Jolla

Prison phones

Re "Blocking cells in cellblocks," April 11

If you have a loved one who is in a prison, then you probably know that receiving a collect call from them will raise your phone bill at least 20%. The companies that are contracted for phone services exploit families of prisoners. This is essentially legal robbery, but it is unpopular to draw attention to the subtle abuses prisoners face.

We need to remember that contact with family and friends on the outside is the only real chance for an inmate to make it once released. The decent solution to the cellphone "problem" is to simply make them legal and allow a little humanity into our prisons.

Alexi Vincent


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