Too quiet

a response

Re: "No charges for Phila. rape suspect's attackers," Thursday:

What struck me most was something Mayor Nutter said - and how, if I can believe what I hear on the news and read in the paper, the exact opposite is true in crime-ridden Philly neighborhoods. While the mayor does not condone "vigilantism out in our streets, it's indicative of the anger and compassion that many of our citizens have. It's a further demonstration that Philadelphians care passionately about this city, about our quality of life, and certainly about our children."

Where is the compassion about the lives of children when witnesses stay silent after a drive-by shooting? Where is the passion for quality of life when people allow drugs to be sold on the streets and say nothing? The rape of a child is a heinous crime, but so are all the other crimes that people turn a blind eye on.

Cynthia Pepper

Quakertown

Vigilante behavior

cannot be tolerated

The quiet response from city and police officials about the violent way the community responded to a child's rape is disturbing and sad.

I am sure it is hard to ask people to step up to help police and then say no, we don't want that kind of help. Violence and vigilante behaviors can never be condoned. Suppose this was the wrong guy? How would that help this little girl, who has already suffered? Surely, there were other ways to detain this man. No one should collect this $10,000 reward. Those involved should be charged.

Thomasine Farrell

North Wales

Put aside emotion

in abortion dispute

Re: "How can there be common ground?", letter, Friday:

Common ground is not limited to compromise. If intense emotions on both sides of this argument can be set aside long enough to look at the whole picture surrounding abortion, then I firmly believe common ground can be found both in preventing unwanted pregnancies, and by providing pregnant women with viable alternative solutions.

I am tired of the myopic energy given to the abortion argument, while there are teens and adults having unprotected sex because of lack of knowledge, money, or self-esteem. And once a child is born to a young single mother, where is the support?

Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates would advance their causes significantly by addressing these issues together.

Rebecca Hilgen Bryan

Haddonfield

Cheers for saving

school meal program

Kudos to Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, and Rep. Chaka Fattah for their strong support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's maintaining the Philadelphia school breakfast and lunch program that provides free meals to poor students ("School meal program gets reprieve," Saturday).

Apparently, they resolved the agriculture secretary's complaint that it wasn't fair that parents in Philadelphia - unlike parents in other cities - did not need to apply for the meals. When the secretary realized that twice as many children were able to enjoy meals, often their only food for the day, when parents were not required to apply, the government willingly put aside efficiency and conformity to meet the needs of our children.

Sidney Moss

Elkins Park

A caring and

courageous America

Kevin Ferris' piece on the senseless murder of Army Pvt. William Long moved me by showing a caring and courageous America. The sympathy and support the community demonstrated for Long's family is a lesson for us all.

Like Long, my own father completed basic training at Fort Benning, and I still read those touching WWII-era letters to my mother. A passage from Tennyson's "In Memoriam" expresses loss this way: "Dark house, by which once more I stand / Here in the long, unlovely street / Doors, where my heart was used to beat / So quickly, waiting for a hand / A hand that can be clasp'd no more."

James Miles

Collingdale