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Fear of Taggers Keeps People From Action; Importance of English

June 18, 1993

Bob Sipchen's column on taggers nearly made me lose my breakfast ("Two Taggers Leave Their Mark," L.A. Stories, June 8).

Does he really think "nobody cares enough about us to make us behave" is the message left by all the graffiti? That sounds very much like the ridiculous radio and TV pleas that were ubiquitous some years ago: "Don't leave your keys in your car; don't make a good boy go bad."

I can't speak for other citizens who don't smack tagger kids silly, but the reason I don't do it is because kids who are so brazenly disrespectful of other people's property are probably carrying weapons.

JOHN DEGATINA

Los Angeles

*

Bob Sipchen is right that no one cares enough about those boys to make them behave. Including Bob Sipchen.

He ignores his own justified anger and won't take a stand on the bus, which is exactly what is wrong with this city. Everybody stands around and watches it go to hell.

MELISSA MILLS

Sherman Oaks

*

"Two Taggers Leave Their Mark" reminded me of how much times have changed.

More than 40 years ago, I was a fashion model in New York. I was riding the subway when a young man sitting opposite me in the half-empty car took out a pocketknife and began carving up the plastic seat. Without thinking, I slammed him with my newspaper.

"Hey, lady," he yelled. "You scared the life outta me."

"Good," I yelled back. "Put that knife away. How dare you cut up public property?"

The other passengers stared at me as if I were crazy, and I suppose they were right. I'd never do that today.

The elderly man who made a citizen's arrest of two young vandals deserves a hero's medal. Too many of us are complacent about those young punks.

JEAN DESMOND

Los Angeles

We All Need to Know the Basics of English

A Latino family in Modesto is suing a drug company for language discrimination because the company did not put a warning on its label in other than English ("When Warning May Not Be Enough," May 25).

There are about 140 languages spoken in the United States. How in the name of common sense could 140 different warnings be put on an aspirin bottle?

Congress should enact a law that says English is the official language of the United States and no one, including the federal, state or local governments, is required to accommodate those who do not speak English. Period. That would put an end to this nonsense.

FRED RAYSER

Yucca Valley

*

It was reprehensible for the makers of St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children to fight efforts to warn users of the possibility of aspirin causing Reye's syndrome..

Also deserving censure are the FDA for taking four years to act and the Aspirin Foundation of America for lobbying for aspirin manufacturers.

Quite apart from that is the lawsuit objecting to English-only medical warnings. Your article reports that manufacturers should translate "drug warnings into language all consumers can understand," according to the lawsuit brought about by the Spanish-speaking family of a young victim of Reye's syndrome.

In order to maintain a harmonious and cohesive many-cultured society, citizens must conform with this important norm: All must at least learn basic English. A uniform language is essential as a common denominator.

LOUISE HAUTER

La Canada

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My deepest condolences to the parents of Jorge Ramirez.

However, the unprecedented recourse taken by the boy's parents and the four powerful legal groups are unreasonable and unwarranted. Asking the drug manufacturers to spell out the warnings in all the languages spoken in the United States is irresponsible and absurd.

Having emigrated from a multilingual country where a resident of one state is an alien in a neighboring state with a different language, and where the separatists forces are constantly at work, I feel obligated to make a plea to our politicians and lawyers to refrain from charting a course that will eventually lead to the disintegration of this great country.

JAY MENON

Fontana

Gun Control Would Save Lots of Children

I was deeply moved by the May 20 article "It's the Worst Pain," relating the relentless hurt of three families after the senseless shootings of their children. I was amazed that there was no mention of a well-known and proven means of curtailing and controlling this violence. There was no mention that the murder of children at schools and in public places is not commonplace in other countries--that is, countries with handgun control.

Yes, something can be done. Handgun control will not bring back those dear dead children, but it can save other young lives, indeed perhaps your own.

SUSANNE SPANGLER

Duarte

Caring for Our Troubled Teen-agers

Regarding "Success Story" (June 2), I am disgusted that The Times would approve of the kidnaping and brainwashing of Cara Vanni. How dare you print this horror story under the title, "Success Story"?

Instead of dealing with her problems, Cara's parents sent two men to kidnap her in the night and terrify her into being good.

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