I READ YOUR recent articles about Bradley William Stone with great sadness. As I read the articles I couldn't help but wonder if this was a veteran in denial with respect to possible mental-health issues he may have been experiencing but didn't recognize or was unwilling to admit he had.

Those of us who work in organizations that offer services to our veterans see this more often than we care to. These veterans may exhibit behaviors that raise a red flag or the veteran may actually present that they believe something in their life is not right, but then fail to seek assistance. Too often they believe it will pass or, in the worst case, refuse to admit they may have a problem. Until a veteran admits that something may not be right in their life, seeks treatment and actively participates in the process of getting well, we unfortunately will see more instances of veterans with broken lives, disconnected families and few prospects of becoming whole again.

It is vitally important then that family members and whoever else might be in a veteran's support system be ever vigilant to any changes in their veteran. Many times, those in a veteran's support system will recognize a change before a veteran does. There are numerous organizations that are available to speak with a veteran or their family members. These organizations will know how to connect the veteran or their family to those agencies that can best help a veteran in distress. Working together, we may be able to avoid horrific tragedies like the one that recently occurred in Montgomery County.

Joe Eastman

United States Navy (Ret.)

Community Liaison Officer,

The Veterans Group

Philadelphia

Cartoonist really got it all wrong ...

Mr. Britt, I think your cartoon would have been more appropriate if the child had said: "Keep us safe from the gangbangers in our neighborhood." I live in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia and there have been many shootings by gangbangers within a 1 mile radius of my house that have resulted in the deaths of not only other gang members, but the deaths of innocent African-Americans - both young and old. I once barely escaped a cross-fire at an intersection while driving home.

What I find highly offensive is the growing number of black Americans who are having deadly run-ins with members of their own communities across the country. What I find disrespectful is the lack of concern and compassion that has been demonstrated by many who refuse to bring about positive changes in African-American communities and instead blame the police who are trying to protect them. African-American lives do matter - as do all lives.

Of course, there are bad cops. But how many good cops have been killed by remorseless criminals in crime-ridden neighborhoods? As the brother of a retired police officer and the uncle of a current Philadelphia Police sergeant, I've heard many stories about knuckleheads they've had to deal with while performing their duties. I don't want to see my niece being put in jeopardy because of people like you who find it convenient to jump on the bandwagon and criticize all police.

I found your overly contemptuous letter to be nothing more than self-serving drivel. Walk in the shoes of a cop for a day before you condemn them all.

Philip Di Bartolo

Philadelphia

The cartoon that depicts children asking Santa Claus to protect them from the police reveals some serious bias. Police leave their houses every day hoping to return to their families safely. I ask, would you print a cartoon of black children asking a black Santa Claus to protect them from black-on-black crime? I do not think you would. Would you print a cartoon of Muslim children that have been Americanized asking a Santa Claus to protect them from all Muslims with the inference that all Muslims are terrorists? I don't think you would. To label all police officers as violent certainly is a disservice to all officers that have sworn to protect the public.

Anthony McLaughlin

Philadelphia