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Shock, Anger Over Murder

August 23, 1987

As an Orange County resident, I am shocked and angered by the murder of Garden Grove publisher Pham Tap Van on Aug. 9, and I am hoping that the guilty party will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Whether Van's murder was politically motivated or not, the attack on him is an attack on us all. Americans everywhere should be outraged that a publisher risks death by printing an advertisement a particular organization dislikes. This terrorist activity runs against what our country stands for and cannot be tolerated.

Sadly, the Vietnamese community is especially vulnerable to political violence. Vietnamese immigrants and refugees come from a land where political violence is institutionalized--pretty much business as usual.

For better or worse, and I believe it's the former, the Vietnamese are our newest Americans. Before they can be accorded equal protection under the law, the barriers of ignorance and prejudice must be demolished. The Vietnamese in this country have to take a chance on American mainstream society. They need to believe that this country is different and that officials here are able to help. Vietnamese need the courage to come forward and society can't afford to let them down. The alternative is bleak--we will have to accept this terrorist violence, and the Vietnamese community will have to suffer in silence.

According to stories in the press, there is little evidence linking Van's murder with an extremist group. Should that be the case, those morbid and cowardly few who are taking credit for his death, just to intimidate others, should be charged with obstruction of justice--or something.

GASTON A. CASTELLANOS

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