George Zimmerman, left, and Trayvon Martin. (Getty Images / Associated…)
Thoughts on a teenager's killing
Re "Murder charge is filed in killing of Trayvon Martin," April 12
With the arrest of accused killer George Zimmerman, the demand for "justice for Trayvon" has finally been heeded.
But if it took a barrage of criticism by talk-show hosts, a federal investigation, pleas in Congress, thousands of citizens marching in protest and comments by the president to finally result in Zimmerman's arrest, one must wonder how many other arrests might have been made in other such cases had they received as much attention.
While the Martin family can now be comforted by a sense of justice for their son, justice for the victims in less-publicized cases remains elusive.
I am impressed with the demeanor and behavior of Martin's parents.
After losing a child in such a violent way, they could have easily become bitter and hateful. Instead, they showed remarkable dignity and self-restraint.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
A lot to talk about
Re " 'The Talk' still a reality," April 7
Just as parents of color need to have "The Talk," parents of white children need to have theirs.
This should not be us versus them. This talk needs to speak of advantages of power and class. We must teach and urge our children not to harm others or commit injustice. We should teach that history and future generations will hold each generation accountable and that, ultimately, God will weigh their motives, words, silence and actions.
Our talk needs to include truth about a deceitful human trait, as we all may see clearly in others what we are unable or unwilling to see in ourselves.
This talk needs to give children permission to see differently and to do better than previous generations. Law enforcement needs to have this talk too.
The article laments that it is "painful" that black parents must have "The Talk" with their children about interacting with police officers. The truth is that an ongoing conversation with all children,
regardless of skin color, about the importance of being respectful of others, especially of authority figures, is important.
My dad urged me to pick my battles carefully and to live to fight another day. Men know what boys can do and say and how their words and actions can have consequences far beyond their youthful comprehension.
The simple fact is that being cordial, obedient and respectful of police officers is the best way to avoid or de-escalate a confrontational situation.
I had my "talk" in the early 1960s after informing my grandfather that I would be undergoing training at an Army base in Georgia. He was very concerned about my going to the South after being raised in the predominantly African American city of East St. Louis, Ill.
After I arrived in Georgia, I was told that there were two USO clubs, one for blacks and one for whites. Great, I thought, because I had two USO clubs to visit.
My point: We cannot limit our adventures based on fear. My grandfather's brother was lynched, and his son was shot by whites. I learned of this years after leaving the military.
We move forward by pushing the envelope, not by being sealed in it.
Too much of a helping hand?
Re "Convicts get priority in housing," April 10
Seriously, just what are the members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors thinking? That many convicts would be transformed into sheep if allowed government-subsidized housing?
Many homeless people are not convicts who have already received thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded services. Why not give these law-abiding homeless priority?
Those who have been victimized by our sick economy should have priority. If advocates worry about convicts who have difficulty finding housing because of their bad raps, they must also open their hearts for people who have been forced into homelessness because of their bad credit scores.
As a sober-housing provider working with the criminal justice population in Los Angeles, I assure you that the lack of affordable housing is the single biggest threat to public safety. Opponents of this smart change by the county to make some homeless convicts eligible for government-subsidized housing fail to consider the cost of housing in jails and prisons.
But the city of Los Angeles, under the proposed Community Care Facilities ordinance, may make it illegal for any two former prisoners to share housing in family homes. This policy would be a disaster.
Reducing barriers to housing saves money, boosts safety and slows the revolving door of incarceration.
Dealing with L.A.'s skid row
Re "Enabling homelessness," Opinion, April 9
It is small-minded to assume, as Carol Schatz does, that a program of police harassment toward the homeless is the way to make downtown business-friendly. The federal injunction against this policy is not somehow encouraging people to remain poor.