Four police officers are out of their jobs - and rightly so ("Four Officers Fired In Police Beating," May 20). I wonder, though, if the three accused shooting suspects will ever face any penalty for their actions.

Lots of people turned out to protest the beating of these three "gentlemen," but somehow the shooting that prompted the whole thing didn't merit even the attendance in court of the witnesses to the shooting of the suspects' three alleged victims.

Perhaps the police should be kept out of some of these neighborhoods, so that outrages such as the taped beating won't happen anymore. I'm sure that would make many residents much happier and - since these residents won't lift a finger to help the police - no more unsafe than they are now.

John F. Wolfington

Philadelphia

Gun laws won't help

I am a retired federal law enforcement officer and firearms instructor, and my son is an active police officer in the Philadelphia suburbs. Most of the active and retired law officers that I know do not favor the type of restrictions on gun possession and ownership that Mayor Nutter has proposed ("New gun laws put to test in court," May 20).

First of all, so-called assault weapons are used in roughly 2 percent of gun-related crimes. The weapons used in the two recent shootings of police officers in Philadelphia were SKS rifles.

They are less powerful than the average deer rifle and are used with other such semi-auto rifles in target shooting and hunting in some other states. Many were brought home as war souvenirs by Vietnam veterans. The weapons used in the two shootings were not legally purchased or possessed by the perpetrators. One was purchased out of state. Thus, none of the mayor's ordinances, had they been in place, would have prevented those tragedies.

The laws proposed by the mayor would strip these legally owned and possessed weapons - as well as pistols such as the Glock 17, a handgun carried by Philadelphia police officers - from law-abiding citizens without justification or compensation. The criminals are not going to register or turn in their weapons. Criminals who use straw purchasers would likewise not be deterred. They would simply use more straw purchasers or obtain them out of the city or in other states.

Richard A. Compton

Supervisory Special Agent (Retired)

Drug Enforcement Administration

Langhorne

Stand up for police

Everybody shakes his head and wonders aloud, "What's wrong with this city?" Take a look: Our police force has its hands tied when trying to do its job. It has been that way for a long time, but now the creeps that got kicked and pummeled by the police are crying foul. How about the three people they allegedly shot before the police caught up with them?

The law-abiding citizens of this city need to stand up for their cops. Not one of us can say how we would act or react unless we were in the situation. We don't have all the facts, so before we judge and condemn, why don't we consider the men and the women and the job?

Fran Kuhnle

Philadelphia

Charters are a drain

In her May 20 letter, "The real story on public charter schools," Janine Yass defended charter high schools by saying there are fewer violent incidents, better daily attendance, and higher graduation rates than in comprehensive public high schools. She is absolutely correct.

She overlooked two important factors, however. Charter schools get to select (and remove) their own students, and families who opt for charters are, by definition, proactive in the educational fates of their children.

Charter schools are a drain on the public school system. They skim from the top of the pool and get to play by a different set of rules. It's no wonder that they compare so favorably.

Anthony Nannetti

Philadelphia