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War on gangs is a war on terror

January 26, 2007

Re "Racial attacks by gangs rising, L.A. officials fear," Jan. 21

Baghdad has its Sunni and Shiite militias killing indiscriminately. Los Angeles has its Latino and black gangs killing children and adults indiscriminately. Should there be a "surge" in L.A. to put a halt to the carnage? Does L.A. want to be perceived as Baghdad's sister city?

Our battle has been going on longer than the war in Iraq and is escalating. It is time to remove the kid gloves and crack down on these gangs and, if necessary, retake our city on a block-by-block basis. Enough is enough!

IRA M. LANDIS

Los Angeles

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Re "To stop gangs, call the Scouts," Current, Jan. 21

Heather MacDonald would first have us believe that we need to reestablish the norm of marriage for young urban black men. But later she declares that we need to send in the Boy Scouts. Well, she's partly right.

I agree that much of the problem for young urban black men is the absence of an effective father figure. But where are the fathers? Either dead or in jail. Homicide is a leading cause of death for young black men, and drugs and violence lead to the incarceration of a disproportionate number of these men. So why are drugs and violence rampant in predominantly black or Latino neighborhoods? Institutional racism, which results in poor schools, dilapidated neighborhoods, increased drug usage and violence that block the investment of resources by the larger community. Instead, we want to believe that we are a colorblind society in which integration is no longer needed. We must allow young men to take their rightful place in society.

BOB HARRIS

Lancaster

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MacDonald offers some decent academic solutions to stop the growing gang problem in Los Angeles, but in the end it is the same costly solutions that will lead nowhere. The problem is to stop treating these violent thugs as if they were simply misguided youths. They need to be treated as the homegrown terrorists that they are. The solutions:

* Deport violent illegal aliens. This country should offer no opportunity to people whose only interest is to commit crimes. It is time we send them back home.

* Incarcerate these young thugs for long prison terms. Getting them off the streets will alleviate the problem overnight.

* Hold parents responsible. These kids did not become violent thugs overnight. It is negligent parenting that led them to gangs. When irresponsible parents choose to bring babies into this world but not take the responsibility of raising and parenting their kids, they are just as negligent as the gangsters themselves.

JAMES WESTFIELD

Torrance

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Re "FBI joins L.A. policing effort in war on street gang crime," Jan. 19

I see there was a good start to the joint efforts of local law enforcement and federal resources to combat growing gang crime in Los Angeles. The images of flak-jacketed federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents last week shutting down sources of medical marijuana for those with prescriptions in West Hollywood are sure to help the residents in the Harbor Gateway area sleep better at night.

R.L. ROOT

Westminster

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