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Tragic Indifference to Teen's Slaying

April 17, 2002

The community's treatment of 15-year-old Deanna Maran's murder, recounted by Michael Cieply (Opinion, April 14), is a tragic reminder of the nihilistic apathy that pervades our society. Indifference to violence and human suffering defies socioeconomic categorization. And here the pain is being furthered by elite institutions claiming superior moral status and wealthy adult parents, of which surely a large number hold powerful positions in the community. In light of tragedies like Maran's and the recent Catholic Church scandals, should we be looking to our nation's elite for moral leadership?

E. Martin Estrada

Huntington Beach

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If "the law's concern, first and foremost, is to protect and rehabilitate youth," the law has evidently failed miserably in both respects. So too have the schools and communities involved. If a teacher at Santa Monica High School told students who stood by and did nothing while Deanna Maran was being murdered that they must not risk themselves by carrying a burden of guilt, who--what--will they be when they are adults? What will those who participated in the murder and got off scot-free be?

Has anyone been encouraged to do the right thing about what happened? Has anyone discussed what is the right thing to do? Has anyone guided these students about how to deal with a burden of guilt constructively, rather than burying it in their subconscious?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"--Edmund Burke. The students involved may have become "good men" (and women). Instead they've been encouraged to let evil triumph. Will anyone really be surprised when they let evil triumph again?

Loren Reichman

Los Angeles

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Do we tolerate terrorism in Los Angeles? With a group encouraging Maran's murderer, it was just like a classic lynching. Since the deputy district attorney has no plans to pursue the case, it conveys the idea that we allow people to get away with murder. Maybe I should move to Europe, where violence is not tolerated as it is here.

Rod Nelson

La Mirada

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