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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

May 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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May Day protest violence in downtown Seattle

Protesters have lost credibility

Editor, The Times:

If protesters cannot control the people who are marching, then they need to lose the privilege to protest in Seattle. [“Police move quickly to suppress anarchists,” page one, May 2.]

I know it is a right, but it is not a right to use those protests to destroy property and terrorize citizens who are just trying to work and do their jobs.

Don’t use the excuse of “those people were a faction, and not involved with our group.” Once you allow them to march with you, they are a part of your group, and therefore, your responsibility. The marchers lost all support once the destruction started, and further by allowing the vandals involved to meld back into the masses.

If they wanted to keep support for their cause, the solution is simple: Detain those responsible for the destruction and turn them over to the police. By taking actions to stop the vandalism, they could have raised support for their cause to great heights, but instead, they just lost all credibility with the people of Seattle.

— Ron Hopper, Carnation

Surprise and shock

I was surprised and shocked at the violence and destruction at the May Day demonstrations.

I was surprised and shocked by it last year, and I will be surprised and shocked by it next year. If I lived in Seattle, I would run for public office.

— Tom Tangen, Edmonds

Letter to the mayor

Dear Mayor,

Now that the immediate concerns over the May Day demonstrations are behind us, we would like to report that these activities have, again, cost our firm money. With concern over the safety of our staff, we were forced to close our offices midday.

If you and your office can’t provide an environment whereby we can conduct business during normal business hours, at the same time these demonstrations occur, we will be forced to join the chorus of businesses opting for a location outside the Seattle business core. The media reported the physical damage to several of the city’s buildings; however there has been no mention of the indirect cost to businesses located within the core. We believe it is significant and doubt you or any other entity will put a number to it.

You and your staff give the impression that you have learned nothing from past demonstrations, and in fact, demonstrate the inability to control such situations. Seattle appears to be a “choice” city in which to demonstrate with words such as passive, incompetent and easy mark coming to mind.

We applaud the right of citizens to peacefully demonstrate but encourage you to change your edict. Publicly declare that Seattle is no longer an “easy mark” for every misfit organization, and require groups to secure a $1 million bond to cover potential damage and/or provide the organizers with an uninhabited zone outside the city’s core.

— Michael Kunath, Kunath Karren Rinne & Atkin, LLC, Seattle

Corporate greed is the real anarchy

What was the purpose of today’s (May 2) headline? To marginalize the Occupy movement, or sell newspapers?

The investment-banking corporations in America have ripped off millions of Americans, and almost destroyed the world economy, without consequence.

They have criminally (if not legally) enriched themselves at the expense of everyday citizens and workers in this country. The impact of their personal greed and misdeeds far outweighs the “anarchy” of broken windows and glass. That should be the headline of The Seattle Times and other newspapers throughout the U.S.

We must radically reform and regulate the banking institutions of our nation, and to hold our public representatives accountable. The banks, and the political influence they hold in Washington, D.C., have become the more dangerous anarchists threatening our democracy.

— John Baker, Port Townsend

Where were the police?

Now let me get this straight. About one week ago, the public started hearing news reports about “possible” violent protests in Seattle connected to the Tuesday May Day marches. The Mayor’s office and the police department had at least one week if not longer to prepare for the violence they knew was going to happen.

And yes, right on cue today, the thugs and criminals, who hide behind the banner of anarchism, preformed like the trained circus monkeys they are, smashing out windows damaging parked cars and throwing incendiary devices.

If the Seattle Police Department leadership, with full responsibility directed at the mayor’s office, knew this was going to happen — where were the police?

Parade permits — why are they not required? If you have a group of 25-50 people wearing masks, dressed in black and carrying clubs marching down the middle of the street, even the most naive person among us knows they are up to no good.

Every local news channel had enough time to get its cameras in place to tape the violence, but not a policeman in sight. I have full respect for every man and woman in uniform but whoever was supposed to plan the protection of Seattle sure failed at their task! Just another reason to stay out of downtown Seattle!

— Jim Grieger, Redmond

Police deterred further chaos

I don’t believe anyone was hurt yesterday (Tuesday) during the protests. This speaks very well of the Seattle Police Department strategy. I don’t believe the construction workers at Starbucks used force, only the intimidation of their numbers and resolutely standing their ground to drive away the anarchists. Any other strategy would have incited actual riots producing chaos where many may have been hurt or killed.

What The Seattle Times could do now as responsible journalists is to facilitate community involvement by encouraging active citizen participation; inform and/or remind the public that we have the right to attend the court hearings of these anarchists that would be covered by The Times to support the system we have.

As citizens, we need to consistently attend these hearings to make sure the perpetrators receive punishment that is due. Any other course of action would be playing into their ideology.

We are in the 21st century and need to behave as such — your media could contribute greatly to this goal.

— Kathy Gurko, Bainbridge Island


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