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Give gangs no quarter

January 19, 2007

Re "Gang calls off racial turf war," Jan. 17

Is law and order so passe in Los Angeles that criminal gangs believe they can dictate terms of a truce? I expect an equally absurd response from the L.A. City Council. One reason kids are joining gangs is the sense of empowerment. If the city negotiates for a pragmatic truce, it will only enhance the power of gangs in Los Angeles and make them more popular. These are not legitimate organizations. They are criminal entities and must be treated as such.

JIM PAPKE

La Crescenta

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Re "Pair freed in child's killing," Jan. 17

I do not understand how gang members Cesar Zamora and Steven Castanon were released after the killing of an innocent child. According to the article, "Evidence was presented that it was self-defense, and we did not feel we could charge the two people at this time." So it seems that it is all right for gang members to carry and shoot their guns and go after their rivals. This is what passes for behavior in Los Angeles?

BARBARA STARR

Encino

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Re "Alarm on gangs sounded," Jan. 13

It was disappointing to read an article on the gang crisis in Los Angeles seemingly motivated by the fact that safe communities are now being threatened. Is the gang crisis less of a crisis if it can be contained in the "poor minority and immigrant hot zones"?

There is a gang crisis in Los Angeles and in many other major cities across this nation. Unfortunately, it is only when this crisis overflows into the middle-class communities that we as a city sound the alarm. It is only when the safe communities are threatened that we look to a Marshall Plan-like initiative costing $1 billion. We will fail to combat this gang crisis as long as we don't treasure the lives and safety of all citizens equally. Until then, no initiative will save our children and communities.

JORDAN JONES

Pasadena

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Using our resources to target the worst guys in gangs first is wrong. Human-services people know that the way to make the most progress is to work on the newest and youngest potential gang members. You nibble away at the edges of the problem and win with the easiest to wean first before they become hard-core. Those youngest are used by the older ones to do the crimes while proving themselves and still can be prosecuted as juveniles.

JUNE PAYNE

Pacific Palisades

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