I'm writing to you with many mixed emotions about "Lost in L.A.," printed on Dec. 13, 1987 (just six days short of the date of my son Duane Johnson's death). If this had been an article about the poor Vietnamese people in general, it would have been a good one, but I think to feature Sang Nam Chinh, who is currently on trial for Duane's murder, is poor journalistic judgment. It's hard to understand why a writer with Mark Arax's assumed intelligence would write an article explaining how these people defy authority, carry out crimes, et cetera--and then he actually defends and excuses them because of their background.
According to Arax, Duane was "more soft than muscular." Duane had served four years in the Marine Corps--no soft spots there! Also, don't you think that Arax could have given Duane a little credit for his IQ in surmising the robbery situation? After all, if this shoot-out had involved Arax and a fellow reporter, I wonder how he would have written it. Do you think he would have called the police?
MRS. NORMA L. JOHNSON