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Letters to the editor

Florida's so-called stand your ground law; L.A.'s attempt to bring more civility to the airwaves; and the response time controversy at the L.A. Fire Department

March 26, 2012
  • Tony Heris, 79, left, is tutored by Alice Simmons, right, 20, a Pace University sophomore student.
Tony Heris, 79, left, is tutored by Alice Simmons, right, 20, a Pace University… (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles…)

Harder than it looks

Re "Making connections," Column One, March 21

Making connections by teaching elders to use computers is a wonderful idea.

However, I seriously object to the "sensitivity training" given to the university students in preparation for their teaching experience. Simulations — using props such as earplugs, gloves, tape and diapers — do not provide a sense of the "lived experience" of being older.

Many in the disability community reject these simulations as demeaning. Considerable training and months of practice go into learning how to use a wheelchair. This isn't "fun" but hard work.

Better ways to understand the "lived experience" are to have people who have a particular impairment lecture about their experiences living in the world, read autobiographies or watch films, or become an "escort"
for an elderly person.

Ann Neville-Jan

South Pasadena

The Trayvon Martin case

Re "A shoot-first mentality," Editorial, March 22

The Times' editorial points out the problematic nature of the so-called stand your ground law, which is being invoked by the Florida police and George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin.

The released 911 tapes indicate that Zimmerman was in pursuit of Martin. Though the details of what occurred in the shooting are not yet clear, it seems likely that Martin either stood his ground or was cornered by the armed Zimmerman. Unfortunately, Martin was killed.

Application of the stand your ground law in this scenario would logically identify Zimmerman as the aggressor, not the other way around. Zimmerman should be arrested and brought to trial on murder charges.

Michael F. Dunn


The Florida law regarding use of force in self-defense matters is not a "get out of jail free card." A person using force, especially deadly force, cannot merely say "I felt endangered" and not be charged. The totality of the facts must be considered.

Whether the Florida case was properly investigated now is a matter for federal authorities to determine. If a crime was committed, then charges should be brought.

I understand the outrage of those who feel that a poor investigation was done and who are demanding federal involvement. However, I have a big problem with the push of those assuming guilt, demanding that an arrest be made and that a conviction be obtained.

Robert Braley


Re "Thousands rally for slain teen," March 23

My son is currently reading the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" in his 10th-grade literature class. The prejudice in the story bothered him.

While discussing the novel with him, I explained that conditions in the South then were quite different than those today.

I guess now I have to let him know that nothing has really changed.

Cindy Baker

Simi Valley

My African American son was a teenager in the late '80s, and every day I feared for his safety — not from gangs or a car accident but from the poorly trained, minimum-wage "rent-a-cop" with a loaded gun who patrolled our Pacific Palisades neighborhood.

The private security guard always stopped in front of our house and watched my son pull into the driveway and enter our house with his key.

When I asked the guard why he didn't stop and stare at Caucasian neighbors, he responded, "You mean white people?"

Racial profiling is dangerous; Trayvon Martin paid for it with his life.

Donna Myrow

Los Angeles

The writer is the publisher of LAyouth, a newspaper by and about teens.

Bigger issues for L.A.'s council

Re "End to racist talk on radio urged," March 22, and "NFL hits Saints hard for bounty program," March 22

The coverage of "Bountygate" and the L.A. City Council's call for an end to racist and sexist language on the airwaves may not seem related, but I believe they are. I think both speak to the erosion of civility in our society.

In one case, it's professional football players causing intentional injury; in the other, a pair of

so-called shock jocks

intentionally trying to use their broadcast to inflame emotions and to create controversy.

We can suspend, punish, fine and educate the perpetrators as much as we want, but they are a reflection of societal values. Until we as a society reassess what types of behavior we expect from ourselves and others, nothing will change.

Art Verity

Sherman Oaks

It's amazing to me that this City Council continues to waste tax dollars voting on issues that do not pertain to the betterment of all residents of Los Angeles. These votes are a distraction to make our council members look like they are being productive.

Also, I'm not sure why these words coming from KFI-AM talk radio hosts John and Ken were so shocking. If you have

listened to any rap music lately, these words are mild.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that John and Ken are white. I view this as reverse discrimination.

Vickie Casas

Los Angeles

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