Tuesday's Letters to the Editor

EDITOR: Many kudos to Kurt Landgon for putting the numbers about shootings by and of law enforcement officers out there (“Shooting questions,” Letters, Thursday). I’ve been wondering about those numbers, because they tell the real story. Lethal force as the default mode for peace officers is totally unacceptable. Why is law enforcement so resistant to citizen review? After all, those officers work for us, don’t they? Or do they?

If, as Landgon’s numbers support so clearly, our officers are trained on the premise that they have full license to kill based on an instantanous presumption of dire risk to 1) self or to 2) partner, that means that we — the citizens who pay their salaries and pensions — rank at best a mere third in their line of obligation. That’s not what I thought I was paying for. Caveat emptor.


Santa Rosa

Tortured connection

EDITOR: Therese Mughannam-Walrath (“Kristallnacht Lessons,” Sunday) finds irony in comparing the remembrance of Kristallnacht with the experience of Israel’s Palestinian neighbors. I’m struggling to see, let alone understand, the historical connection between these events.

That anyone could compare the principal victims of Nazi atrocities with those who perpetrated it is offensive enough, but it is an affront to ignore the actual history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. To paraphrase Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Mughannam-Walrath is entitled to her own opinion but not to her own facts.

Kristallnacht marked the start of a systematic, government-organized genocide. Far from committing genocide, Israel has consistently and indefatigably sought a peaceful, two-state solution whereby the Palestinian people could enjoy self-determination within the secure borders of their own independent nation.

As for the so-called apartheid system she decries, how does Mughannam-Walrath explain the large Arab and Palestinian community living inside Israel, entitled to the full rights and protections of Israeli citizenship? The Palestinian terrorists who blew up Israeli cafes, nightclubs and buses created the need for the protective barrier that separates the Palestinian territories from Israel proper. Unlike genuine apartheid that seeks to confine a population, Israel’s attempt to protect itself from hostile neighbors is purely defensive. Any other interpretation ignores the facts and insults the victims of actual apartheid.

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