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Free Speech and Terror

March 29, 2003

Re "California Vulnerable to Outbreak," March 22: Do we really need to let everyone know about all our vulnerabilities? Though this may promote the elimination of these weaknesses, it certainly seems like it also would encourage a terrorist attack. If this article does lead to an attack, will you feel responsible for encouraging the murder of innocent Americans? In that unhappy eventuality, you certainly will be responsible.

Leslie and Robert Galvan

Rancho Palos Verdes

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Every day we hear how Washington is ringed with special police, with Air Force patrols overhead and hugely expensive bunkers for the federal big shots. Yet a year and a half after the onset of the war against terror, Los Angeles and other major cities are still waiting for funding for the basic equipment for our first-line emergency people. Police, fire and medical triage personnel don't have anything except their courage and fortitude.

If ever we needed proof of both the indifference and total ineptitude of the Bush administration, there it is. Maybe we'd better pass the hat and buy a ton of duct tape!

Don Shaw

Los Angeles

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Re "Increased Security Straining City's Resources, Mayor Says," March 25: There is an easy solution to alleviating the soaring costs of providing protection in L.A. during the conflict in Iraq. The Los Angeles Police Department has been bogged down trying to control unlawful and violent antiwar demonstrations. Constant riot control and the arrests of radicals blocking traffic have resulted in a loss of police manpower for dealing with real crimes and a loss of police resources that should be spent working on improving homeland security. These unlawful demonstrations have also cost the city money in police overtime.

We need to take strong action against the handful of unlawful demonstrators who are draining government resources and hurting private businesses with their actions. There needs to be a clear distinction between lawful peaceful demonstrators and radical left-wing activists who want to promote violence in the streets to draw attention to their cause. The police need to charge these unlawful demonstrators with serious crimes, such as trespassing, assault, assaulting an officer, vandalism, resisting arrest and conspiracy to commit a crime. If there are serious consequences for demonstrators who choose to break the law, protesters will get the message and we will not have to spend resources on constant riot control.

Jim Bieber

Costa Mesa

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