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'Battering Ram'

March 01, 1985

Your editorial (Feb. 13), "The New Battering Ram," certainly missed its mark. Your characterization of drug addiction and drug trafficking as, " . . . among society's most intractable and debilitating problems," is in my opinion an understatement. As a therapist who has worked many years to assist adolescents and adults in freeing themselves from their deadly addictions, I can tell you that narcotics addiction is the most deadly problem that threatens our society. A fortified house being used as a narcotic marketplace is far more destructive than a motorized battering ram used to put it out of business.

The Los Angeles Police Department is not the enemy; drug traffickers are. The Times in a wishy-washy way acknowledged that there might be occasions when "Gates' Tank" should be used, after guidelines are issued. As a prolific, LAPD critic and watchdog, how could The Times have thought for a moment that the department did not already have guidelines, as we all now know that they did.

On the other hand, The Times has suggested a guideline that could be conceived only the altruistically naive, "walk up to a steel-encased fortress and simply knock." In my view that is not a guideline for solving the narcotic problem, but a philosophy that encourages its cancerous growth.

M. DAVID LEWIS MD

North Hollywood

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