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VALLEY PERSPECTIVE

North Hollywood Bank Shootout

March 08, 1998

Re "Suit Tarnishes Anniversary of Bank Shootout," Feb. 28.

I object to [Stephen] Yagman's verbal assault on the LAPD.

Anyone can sue anybody for anything. Have at it, Mr. Yagman. But the final court of appeals will be the people. On that infamous day, the people witnessed the truth. That truth is that every LAPD employee who wears a badge or is connected with a badge deserves to be called a hero. Civilians who put their lives on the line should be called heroes, too.

You, Mr. Yagman, seeking notoriety and money, are playing to the few who take advantage of a wounded legal system. No matter the outcome of your lawsuit, those who put their life on the line will always be proud of their heroic and life-saving actions, as will those, like myself, who witnessed their actions via television.

Finally, Mr. Yagman, let me pose a question: If one of your close relatives had been caught up in that hail of gunfire, would you be so quick to draw your legal weapons and file suit? I think not. Your lawsuit cannot and will not tarnish the actions of the civilians who elected to assist outgunned police. Your suit will not tarnish LAPD badges that shine brighter than ever. "Tarnish" can only describe your misplaced actions and our damaged legal system.

STUART A. CANNOLD

Palmdale

* The city should not give one dime in settlement of a lawsuit filed by families of thugs who tried to kill outgunned police in a botched robbery.

Instead the city should file a counterclaim against the parents of these thugs requesting damages for the physical and emotional damage to the police and to city property. The police deserve our undying gratitude for ridding the earth of such scum.

LILLIAN FINAN

Woodland Hills

*

Re "Officer Sues Gun Firms, Bank Robbers' Estates," Feb. 27.

Officer Martin Whitfield (probably on the advice from his attorney) thinks he is entitled to monetary damages from gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers because he was shot by two bank robbers. Whitfield should be suing the justice system since if it were worth anything at all, these two criminals would have been behind bars and quite unavailable for bank robberies since both had prior criminal records. Whitfield's charge that gun makers are liable for his injuries because they should have known that their guns were "ultra-hazardous products" is ridiculous enough to be amusing, since any gun that was not ultra-hazardous would be absolutely useless for defense.

Guns, like cars, matches and gasoline are all ultra-hazardous products that can be used to kill or injure people. Should we permit lawsuits against Ford, Buick, etc. each time someone is killed in a car?

I think Whitfield's energies could be better directed toward the real causes of crime--repeat offenders who escape justice because of our pathetic justice system.

TONY NATHANSON

Encino

*

As usual, the anti-gun zealots at The Times can't get it right. Not a single gun in America comes with a 100-round magazine, as you state, nor can they be "easily modified" to automatic fire (a felony since 1934). More importantly, I noticed that Beretta USA is named in this frivolous lawsuit, the maker of the gun Whitfield used to defend himself during the shootout. Had he shot the robbers dead and ended the shootout, he would have sent Beretta a thank-you card.

Where do I send my check to the "Endangered Legal Products Defense Fund?"

MARC ATKINSON

Tujunga

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