LETTER-writer Saleem Ali says, "The media make a big production when a cop is killed. It's on the TV, on the radio, in the paper."

And well they should.

Police are put in place to protect all citizens of a city, and, when one is murdered, it conjures up fears of lawlessness and chaos. A large deal is made because it must resonate throughout every corner of this city that any attempt, successful or not, against a police officer's life will be resolved thoroughly, swiftly and justly.

That black, Latino and poor citizens die daily in our cities is something that should horrify us. We must ask ourselves why this is before we resort to pointing fingers. If we assume "most whites believe blacks are genetically inferior and predisposed to improper behavior," we've put words into the mouths of people who haven't actually spoken. This may spark the emotions, but does little to actually dissect the economic disparities that exist.

For too long, we've pointed fingers at one another without pointing them at ourselves. Why aren't inner-city schools better funded? Why aren't parents taking responsibility for their children? Why do we let our communities be torn asunder by drug use and violence? Why do crooked cops continue to sever the relationship between inner-city communities and municipal bodies? Allow rotting buildings to go ignored for years? Why do we go about our lives and ignore the misfortunes of others? Make assumptions about people we don't know?

And why can't we have more honest discourse about race in this country?

Timothy Rapp, Philadelphia