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November 24, 2002|Via the Internet

A Human-Rights Issue That Politicians Must Address

To President Bush, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Gov. Gray Davis, representatives, state senators and members of the state Assembly: I challenge each of you to read Fred Dickey's disturbing but not surprising article on prison rape ("Rape. How Funny Is It?" Nov. 3). Then I challenge each of you to explain why "prison rape is the most tolerated act of terrorism in the U.S."

This is not a Republican, Democratic, conservative or liberal issue. This is a human-rights issue located right here in our backyards and not a call for pampering prisoners. As the cliche goes: "You do the crime, you do the time." However, prisons were meant to deprive convicted criminals the opportunity to perpetrate their evils on society. Instead, we have given them freedom to hone their criminal skills and continue their predatory ways without consequences. As we stand guard at our shores looking for international terrorists, our own national terrorists are gaining strength. Wake up! Be brave! This problem can be solved.

Lynn V. Smilow

Via the Internet

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I found the concept of addressing the issue of prison rape completely ridiculous. Next we will hear how sending the perpetrators to Pelican Bay and solitary confinement for their acts would be a violation of their civil rights. Come on now, these are criminals who committed crimes that got them in this situation in the first place. I have no sympathy for child molesters, rapists or other felons who have committed an atrocious act and are now suffering the consequences. I always thought this was one of the deterring ways to keep someone from committing a crime in the first place.

Carmela Blanchard

Torrance

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We are drowning in newsprint and I was going to cancel our subscription, but the article on prison rape was so important that I wanted to let you know we are keeping our subscription to support you. This is real journalism. Congratulations on an excellent article. Our justice system has to confront the unconstitutional reality that we regularly sentence people to cruel and unusual punishment.

Deborah Young

Via the Internet

#S#

Get to Know the Real Echo Park

As a 30-year resident of Echo Park, I was insulted and taken aback by the extremely negative and misleading article on Echo Park ("Echo Park Tableaux," photographs by Gregg Segal, text by Vince Beiser, Nov. 3). The descriptions and photos were more accurate when I first moved here in 1972 than now. Amid the "down-market collage of small dance clubs" etc., the writer and photographer neglected to mention or photograph the thriving antique stores, galleries, coffeehouses, clubs and restaurants that have been here more than 30 years.

Where were photos of stunning and safe Echo Park Lake, with its paddle boats, fishers, joggers and walkers? Or the botanical displays of lovely Elysian Park, filled with picnickers, car shows and soccer games? Beiser forgot to mention how residents can walk to Dodger Stadium and the Music Center. And he completely forgot Angelino Heights, a crucial part of Echo Park and a famous historical center with many restored residences from the Victorian, Craftsman and Art Deco periods. Beiser seemed sad to admit that "many residents say the streets have grown much safer in recent years." If Beiser or Segal care to drive by again, I'll invite them to tea, and inform them that they won't have to lock the car when they park in front of my home. Sorry to disappoint.

Planaria Price

Echo Park

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Consequences of a Teen's Wrong Turn

Thank you for printing the essay by Kerry Madden that exemplifies the injustices and waste of our legal system ("A Voice Inside," Nov. 3). What a shame that a teenager was sentenced to 35 years in prison for something that was circumstantial and based on the fear that underlies our society. Please continue to print essays like this so that our society will become more enlightened and possibly change.

Ruthanne Iliff

Via the Internet

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Madden, like so many liberals, is sympathetic to Michael Duc Ta. And why not? Liberals are always showing more sympathy for evil monsters than for their victims. Poor Michael is serving time for attempted murder. He was only 16 when he drove his gang pals by for a shooting. Let him out. And remember Willie Horton. After Michael Dukakis let him out of prison, he raped a woman.

John Jaeger

Irvine

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