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Regarding your readers’ response (April 5-6 edition...

Regarding your readers’ response (April 5-6 edition from Eva and

Derek Shelton) to the photograph of the student holding the “Let’s

Bomb Texas ... They Have Oil Too!” poster in front of City Hall.

Your readers have misconstrued the protester’s meaning and have

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implied some troubling things about the very freedoms that our

servicemen are purportedly fighting and dying for.

The student is in no way negating the importance of Texas, its

people or its servicemen, as your readers suggest. In fact, it is

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fairly obvious that her poster has absolutely nothing to do with

Texas. The student is simply drawing this sarcastic analogy as a way

to illustrate the reasons why shebelieves we are fighting a war in

Iraq. This is a brand of sophisticated political humor that has been

used for most of the 20th century, and anything inferred about Texas

itself is completely erroneous. To say that she is deliberately

insulting people is to entirely miss the point of her protest.

Furthermore, one of the reasons that President Bush contends that

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we are at war is in order to effect regime change so that the Iraqi

people might enjoy many of the freedoms that Americans take for

granted. One of the rights that the Iraqis have not previously

enjoyed is the right to openly disagree with and critique their

leader. Your readers imply that we should fight for this right for

others, but deny that same right to our own citizens.

A free and unencumbered political voice -- whether at the ballot

box or in a peaceful antiwar protest, whether in concert or

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disagreement with the current administration -- is critical to our

existence as Americans. The students pictured (and those around the

country who both protest and support the war) have learned quite

early that as Americans, they possess such a voice.

Instead of the arrogant and presumptuous condemnation of shame

your readers have placed upon that student, I would like to commend

her -- along with the other students pictured and your readers -- for

finding her respective voice and belief, and finding a peaceful forum

to express them. In these extremely hostile and violent times, that

is one of the most American things we can do.

STEPHEN J. PIELOCIK

Burbank


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