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Letters to the Editor: It really matters who is doing the police work after a hate crime

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department
Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department speaks about the arrest of Robert Aaron Long on March 17.
(Alyssa Pointer / Associated Press)

To the editor: I’m old enough to remember the controversy over the classification of some heinous killings by police as “NHI,” or “no humans involved,” because the victims were sex workers. (“Do you think you have a good sense of who the Georgia shooter is? Don’t be too sure,” Opinion, March 19)

From what little we know about Robert Aaron Long, it seems he was a messed-up young man whose racist, sexist and “moral” prejudices reinforced each other and allegedly led him to commit horrible crimes. It’s also clear from the police attitude toward him — especially that of Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jay Baker, who allegedly posted an image of racist anti-Asian shirts on Facebook — that though they may not have approved of his suspected actions, they support a lot of his prejudices.

Police departments nationwide seem to have a self-sustaining culture that regards some victims as more “worthy” than others and some suspects less “threatening.” Not until we root out and destroy this toxic police culture can we ever have true reform in law enforcement.

Mark Gabrish Conlan, San Diego

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To the editor: In the discussion of the possible racist and misogynistic motives of the shooter in the Atlanta killings, and inspired in part as a counterpoint to the appallingly tone-deaf statement of a Georgia sheriff’s captain with a history of allegedly sharing anti-Asian posts online, I hope it does not get lost that Long had for years been struggling with mental illness, including stints at an addiction center, but could nonetheless obtain guns.

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Stephanie Scher, Los Angeles

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To the editor: What’s wrong with us? Here we go again with another horror story of a young man allegedly murdering innocent people in an attempt to solve his own problems.

Whether his motive was racism, misogyny or something else, the result is clear: fear in the Asian community, anger everywhere and women, once again, finding themselves bearing the consequences of the wrongdoing of men.

Incidents like this one in Atlanta serve to highlight the state of extreme separation and division in which we are living. There is always the “other” that gets marginalized or attacked. Whether it’s Blacks, Asians, immigrants, Muslims, women or Jews, we always find someone to blame for our problems.

The solution is within each one of us if we are willing to acknowledge the truth. As human beings we are all related, all interconnected. If we could begin to live from that perspective, we might find the future looks a lot brighter for all of us.

Joanna Ryder, Hermosa Beach


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