Hoping to hide truth

Republicans are ready to sacrifice Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. One has to wonder if they are hoping he falls on his sword so that the investigations will stop before all the evidence of White House involvement in this matter comes to light.

It was this sort of misuse of the Department of Justice and other executive agencies that led to the threatened impeachment of Richard Nixon. Nixon abused his powers as president to subvert the Constitution. Then he had his subordinates try to obstruct justice. His criminality cast a shadow over the Republican Party for a generation. Republicans have to worry Bush is about to do the same.

Brandon Bittner
Royersford

A gay ghetto?

Just when I thought I had heard of everything, the city and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community "officially" establish a section of the city as a "Gayborhood."

This is a ridiculous and alarming development. It is ridiculous because this community, which has struggled so hard for tolerance and acceptance, is now endorsing its own segregation. It is alarming because it raises the specter of the European ghettos of the 1930s. What's next? Will the groups ask for armbands?

I. Milton Karabell
Philadelphia

Financing attack ads

I'd be more willing to favor The Inquirer's stance on public financing of political campaigns (editorial, April 17) if I could get a guarantee that the money I authorized on my tax return were used for party organizing or get-out-the-vote drives or even to pay for a candidate's meals, lodging and travel. But, honestly, why should taxpayers bankroll PR firms, printers, mailing houses, TV networks, and their local affiliates just to run another round of disinformation, half-truths, and sleazy attack ads?

Jack Mahon
Elmer, N.J.

Preventing massacres

As a practicing psychologist, I would like to propose this plan to attempt to prevent mentally disturbed individuals, such as the Virginia Tech shooter, from committing massacres:

A panel of three to five mental-health experts should be hired (at a state level) to evaluate individuals who, like Cho Seung-Hui, are brought to the attention of the authorities.

The evaluation would involve 1) a review of reports, from many sources, of the severity of the mental illness, potential for violence, and core level of conscience (that is, lack of it); 2) psychological testing; and 3) an in-depth clinical interview of the individual. Those with psychotic-level mental illness, potential for violence, and lack of conscience would be committed to a psychiatric hospital, required to take medication, and evaluated every 30 days.

This approach doesn't guarantee effective screening of potential perpetrators. But it's better than what we have in place now.

Sidney J. Cohen
Cherry Hill

Help never came

As an immigrant from South Korea, I am particularly shocked and dismayed by the horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech. The perpetrator was a young man who, like me, emigrated to America at a young age. (I came at age 14.) He and I must have shared similar experiences: The difficulty of adjusting to a new culture at an impressionable age, and hoping for a better life after living in poverty.

But how did such hope turn into such narcissistic acts of cruelty? How did a young mind become so sick? His heinous acts are unpardonable. But they also exhibit a mind totally out of touch with reality, sick and lost beyond belief, beyond all cultures, and beyond humanity. Where was the network of his family, churches, and educational and medical systems that might have saved him?
Chungsoo J. Lee
Huntingdon Valley

Vallas took action

The loss of Paul Vallas is a great blow to the public schools and children of Philadelphia. There are two basic elements that make Vallas different from the other leaders of this city: He actually cares, and his work reflects his passion.

The public schools of this city are simply horrible, and blame for their condition rests squarely on every politician, community leader and clergy person who sat around doing absolutely nothing while the schools grew progressively worse. Vallas is a doer, and this city doesn't like doers. We prefer talkers. So let us keep talking about why our children keep killing one another - as the man with the plan leaves town. I'm happy Vallas hung in there this long.

Pastor Cean James
Grace Christian Fellowship
Philadelphia