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A 'Scary' Ashcroft Chills Legitimate Dissent

October 24, 2003

Re "Students, Nuns and Sailor-Mongers, Beware," Commentary, Oct. 17: It's horrifying to think that our own Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft would be subverting the law in order to stamp out legitimate protests. With that kind of attitude, no doubt Ashcroft would have prosecuted the lone student who stood up to the tanks in Tiananmen Square. Or maybe he thinks that only citizens in communist countries should have the right to protest.

Beverly Magid

Sherman Oaks

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My wife is a liberal Democrat and, understandably, finds Ashcroft scary. I'm more of a centrist Democrat, and I too find Ashcroft scary. I mentioned this to my brother, who's a high school American history teacher, a Bush supporter and a fairly conservative Republican, and he admitted that he also finds Ashcroft scary. This reinforced my belief that if Ashcroft had the power, and thought he could get away with it, he would be every bit as repressive as the Taliban, or Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin -- name your despot. Our country has a great system of checks and balances. Let's hope it keeps the Ashcrofts in check, if not balanced.

Richard Stehr

Los Angeles

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