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Residents and Businesses Pay When Protests Clog L.A.'s Streets

March 23, 2003

Re "Attack Fuels Protests, Warnings," March 20: I'm a teaching assistant at UCLA who missed meeting with his students and helping them study for their final exam on Wednesday. Why? Because a mass of protesters around the Federal Building made me fight my way through traffic on already-congested side streets in order to reach campus a few minutes too late to catch my students before they got fed up and left.

And I don't blame them. I'm fed up, too. Fed up with the mass lack of consideration that these antiwar protesters have demonstrated. Fed up with a normally short commute to campus turning into an hour-plus nightmare. Fed up with the fact that they don't seem to care how many people they inconvenience, just so long as they can get their message out. A message that we've heard many times already.

I used to be ambivalent on this war. Do I think Saddam Hussein needs to be ousted? Yes. Do I, in general, agree with President Bush, his agenda, his motivations? No. But have these protests helped me make up my mind? Yes. Contrary to their goal, I am sure, they have made me into a supporter of the war, if for no other reason than that the pro-war majority has not sent my blood pressure through the roof, has not kept me from living my life in what passes for a normal manner these days, has not kept my students from receiving the help they so desperately want and need. So thank you, protesters. You've made things much clearer for me.

Bryan W. Lockett

West Los Angeles

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How much does it cost to close off one of L.A.'s busiest streets in the middle of a workweek? How much does a shop in Westwood, in a down economy, lose because its customers can't reach the store due to street closures? How many packages scheduled for delivery just don't make it due to an unusual amount of traffic in the area? The list is endless.

Yes, war is terrible, but there is a price for freedom. America has fought many battles, but the fight against terrorism is our greatest fight yet. Whether you support or don't support military action, together we all must support each other. To shut down part of the city to express your views on the war is wrong. Should we use our right to protest to infringe on others' rights to seek prosperity, to maintain a business and to do their jobs? I think not.

Tim Byk

Brentwood

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I am very frustrated with the antiwar protesters. At a time when we are under threat of terrorist attack, the antiwar protesters in Los Angeles are engaging the police department on a scale that detracts from its ability to protect the rest of us. There is an enormous monetary cost to controlling this fringe element. The cost is borne by L.A. taxpayers. It seems to me that the protesters are fighting against us, their fellow citizens. They should all go home and let the authorities do their jobs.

John Thatcher

Rancho Santa Margarita

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