Automatic Guns in South Park
I found the photo of kids handling an assault rifle very disturbing—like marketing the American obsession with weapons to children ("Guns in South Park," Aug. 17). American-made assault rifles are showing up in murders committed by Mexican drug cartels as well as mass killings here. In contrast to other developed countries, we are armed to the teeth. Our murder rate shows it. There's an arms race going on, and it's a dead end.
The glorification of violence as a solution to conflict is a constant on TV, from the earliest cartoons kids watch. Being a hero often means winning in combat, a seductive role for boys and men. Showing kids a powerful weapon may invite them to want that power—not necessarily a good thing.
If the police want to participate in a family event, they should demonstrate alternatives to violence rather than the bad toys they have and how dangerous the SWAT team can be. They might also look at issues of police brutality and consider stepping back from the military image. The community might then actually be safer.
It is useless to try to use logic with people who have become so desensitized that they don't instinctively react with outrage at the idea of our local police using guns and tanks in an attempt to "reach the community" through its children via the "cool" factor, as was recently done in South Park.
In his letter defending the police, Mayor Ernesto Olivares doesn't mention the brotherhood that exists in law enforcement culture. That usually comes out during stressful situations, like the many unnecessary officer-involved killings of civilians across the country. Our community has seen a lot of those over the years, and like clockwork, the blue wall of silence comes up. I've been part of local groups monitoring these killings since the