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Terror and Violence in Our Own Backyard

January 12, 2002

Re "Our Gangs, Our Terrorists," editorial, Jan. 5: Eleven-year-old Leslie Zepeda was killed by gunfire the day after Christmas. She was not in Afghanistan; she was in Hawthorne. The Zepeda family will never be the same. Unfortunately, there are many Leslies in Los Angeles County. In 2000, 1,067 residents were killed by gunfire, including 149 youths, ages 18 and under.

Women Against Gun Violence believes that, with the help of our community, we can change the culture of gun violence. Make your voice heard on legislation related to guns. Go to our Web site, http://www.wagv.org, for additional information. Encourage your children to talk to you about gun violence and if they know of any student who brings a gun to school. Talk to the parents of your children's friends and ask whether they have a gun in their home.

Don't give up--get involved with your neighborhood, your local police, your school and your community association to learn about gun violence and educate others. None of us has to go to sleep with the sounds of bullets flying, if we all work together.

Roberta Golan Schiller

Executive Director

Women Against Gun Violence

Los Angeles

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On a daily basis, thousands of our children are threatened by senseless acts of street and domestic violence, and unfortunately hundreds of young people are victims of homicide in this country. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice, 1,800 juveniles were victims of homicide in 1999.

The federal government's efforts to protect us from foreign terrorists must equally protect us from our street terrorists.

Robert M. Sainz

Montebello

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