* Re: "Street Beat: Searching For Clues as Gang Slayings Rise" (Aug. 23), William (Blinky) Rodriguez, Pacoima gang mediator, ponders the rise in gang killings thusly: "It's hard to pinpoint exactly why all of this is happening. But it's been a really hot summer and a lot of these guys might not have air conditioning in their houses."
This excuse is better than "the devil made me do it." Better than the infamous candy-bar defense. Better than "I was just following orders." Now we can blame our brutish, thuggish, lowlife impulses on the functioning or malfunctioning of household appliances and get extra points if you don't have an appliance to begin with. Kudos to Mr. Rodriguez for taking the shirking of personal responsibility to a new, all-time low.