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Opinion | The Turmoil in Portland and Kenosha

To the Editor:

Re “Portland Death Inflames Debate on Urban Strife” (front page, Aug. 31):

These are fearful days in America. Parents fear sending their children back to school during a deadly pandemic. Workers fear losing their jobs in a collapsing economy. Hundreds of thousands without paychecks or unemployment payments fear losing their homes. And millions of Black Americans fear that any confrontation with the police could have fatal consequences.

At a time when so many Americans are already living in fear, the last thing we need is a president ready and willing to stoke those fears for his political advantage. Warning that America will collapse into anarchy if he isn’t re-elected, President Trump seeks to cast himself as a savior who can rescue us from pandemics, protesters and immigrants while warning that those who oppose him will destroy America as we know it.

But the nation has faced great challenges many times before. We have survived economic panics, recessions and the Great Depression. We have endured through slavery and Jim Crow, lynchings, the Ku Klux Klan and race riots.

Americans have proved to be a strong people, capable of great courage and sacrifice in the face of threats of all kind.

Americans won’t be fooled by Republican fear-mongering in this election. We’ll once again turn away from fear and install leaders who provide hope for a better future.

Robert T. Koenig
Bartlett, Tenn.

To the Editor:

The group of armed men 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse joined in Wisconsin and carloads of Trump supporters in Portland were looking for trouble. They are vigilantes. No sitting president can justify condoning unauthorized civilians determined to enforce the law on their own.

If President Trump were intent on stopping the violence in either city, he would denounce these free-floating gangs as passionately as he does the Black Lives Matter protesters. If he were serious about sending in federal troops to stop the violence, he would have done it by now despite local objections. But he’s not. Instead he plans to rekindle the smoking embers until Election Day.

Carlyn Meyer
Englewood, Colo.

To the Editor:

Joe Biden should call on everyone in Kenosha to just stay home on Tuesday when President Trump plans to visit the city. The best protest in the circumstances would be just to ignore the president and deny him the confrontation and violence he is obviously hoping to provoke and exploit. Let him posture on his own in empty streets.

Stephen Mercer
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

Every day, on an endless 24-hour loop, I see coverage of vandalism going on in American cities after peaceful protesters go home. What I don’t see is law enforcement descending on these lawbreakers. Nor do I learn if they are ever arrested and, if so, who they are. And if not, why not? If the media are able to film these criminal acts in real time, why don’t the police intervene and put an end to them? We are left in the dark about what is really happening.

Gisèle Huff
San Francisco

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