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Letters to the Editor: I went through tear gas training in the military. It was traumatizing

Riot police
Riot police move demonstrators away from St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House on June 1.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: I’m an almost 89-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, who at age 20 went through firefighting school in boot camp. (“Some U.S. lawmakers plan to propose a ban on police use of tear gas, which was deployed during peaceful protests,” June 10)

One exercise had us wear a mask and go through a room filled with tear gas; it was no problem. Then, we had to remove our mask and go back through that same room.

It was a horrible experience that I will never forget. My eyes were burning, I was coughing and had difficulty breathing for some time after. And, I was a young strong sailor in excellent physical shape.

When I saw those peaceful protesters walking outside the White House on June 1, I noticed they ranged in age from young to old. All I could think of was my experience as a young, healthy sailor, and how terrible that had to be for those innocent people.

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Plus, at the same time we went through the tear gas in training, we didn’t have a helicopter sweeping low above us.

Ira Gewant, Manhattan Beach


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