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Terrible Tragedy in Philadelphia

May 26, 1985

This letter is in response to your editorial (May 17), addressing the terrible tragedy in Philadelphia.

The failure of your editorial to focus on the most important issue is alarming. The fact that innocent children were killed by the police action was not mentioned. Since when is it appropriate for the police to jeopardize, not to mention cause the death of, children in a siege situation?

The fact that the adults, who belong to the organization that was so abhored by the community, didn't seek to protect their children is no justification for the police to conduct themselves in a manner that further jeopardizes the lives of innocent children.

Why were the police officials so impatient and callous concerning the childrens' safety? Should an innocent child be held responsible for the acts of his parents? Would the childrens' safety have been a higher priority in a different ethnic neighborhood? These are the bottom-line questions that your editorial miserably failed to address.

It is my opinion that a grand jury investigation should be conducted to determine whether criminal negligence charges should be filed against the mayor and the other city officials involved. The number of homes destroyed and the adult lives lost should not be the only focal point. Instead the local point should be to establish once and for all that innocent childrens' lives are not to be jeopardized in the name of strong and effective law enforcement.

RICHARD CHANDLER

Los Angeles

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