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Police Chief Bratton Faces L.A. Gang Culture

November 24, 2002

Re "Get Angry, Bratton Tells L.A.," Nov. 21: Yes, gang violence is much bigger than the police, as the Rev. Frederick O. Murph rightly concludes. But the real issue is not lack of jobs and opportunity, the real issue lies in the fact that people's values are formed first and most impacted by their parents and families in their earliest years. Multiple generations of gang members now exist in the same family, passing on their gang culture to the next generation. Quit using lack of jobs as the reason for these murders.

Julia Huntsman

Long Beach

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Police Chief William Bratton is telling it like it is. To quote the chief: "Existing laws are not adequate to control guns in this city. Too many people here are comfortable carrying [illegal] guns." I doubt that when the founding fathers added the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution they considered street gangs to be a "well-ordered militia." Disarmament will be a major step forward in bringing down our city's shameful homicide rate.

Mark Green

Pacific Palisades

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Gee, what a shock. The LAPD anti-gang units have been disbanded and the number of gang-related shootings rise. Then Chief Bratton says L.A. needs more gun control laws.

Really? Since when do gangbangers care about laws? Cut the nonsense -- get rid of ridiculous city expenditures and bring back the anti-gang CRASH units [dismantled after the Rampart scandal].

Steve Reynolds

Los Angeles

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The characterization of the LAPD as a "rogue subculture" is completely unfair ("The Gang-Bratton Face-Off," editorial, Nov. 21). Granted, there have been officers who in the past have engaged in serious misconduct. The large majority of the officers, however, are exemplary professionals whose only goal is to provide the highest-quality service possible to the citizens of Los Angeles.

The eruption of violence over the past few days, and the officers' response to that violence, proves the department to be an organization of courageous individuals willing to face an unprecedented challenge. They are asked to face risk and danger and move to the sound of the guns, frequently having only a fraction of a second to make a decision involving life and death. It is a job that few can do. Far from a "cowboy mentality," the men and women of this department are asked to perform one of the toughest jobs in the country -- that of an L.A. police officer.

Sgt. Daniel Witman

LAPD, Los Angeles

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Re "LAPD May Seek New Quarters," Nov. 20: Let's get real. The only source of funding that will be considered for the new LAPD headquarters will be yet another bond issue. Our so-called city leaders have demonstrated time and time again that their failure to budget money for capital improvements (i.e., schools, health-care centers, community colleges) only leads to higher property taxes via bond indebtedness.

Now Mayor James Hahn says he "can't believe" that the poor condition of the building has been allowed to go on so long, as if he has never entered Parker Center in his many years as a city leader. Well, I believe it. And I believe it will cost us all ... again.

David Whitehead

Los Angeles

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