As a Jew and a social studies teacher, I feel it’s urgent that I defend the right of people to use free speech to express hateful thoughts [“Ex-LI man in Va. melee says he’ll surrender,” News, Aug. 24].

The Nazis took away free speech and kept good-hearted Germans from protesting Nazi policies. All tyrants withhold freedom to crush opposition.

We all have different thoughts on what is hateful speech. Many Democrats and Republicans oppose the speech of the other side. Is it acceptable to ban either one?

We cannot take away the right so critical to controlling our government. Without free speech, the government controls us. Just look at North Korea.

All speech needs to be heard so we can examine it, then agree or disagree with it. That is how democracy functions.

Gregg Freedner, Ronkonkoma

President Donald Trump gets it wrong, again. There was no equivalence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The “alt-right” Nazis and fascists must be fiercely combatted. Violently, if necessary.

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They represent the darkest chapter in history, the rise and spread of Nazism and fascism in Europe in the 20th century. Besides many other crimes, their vile actions led to the Holocaust.

The torchlight parade in Charlottesville and the vile epithets the marchers uttered must not be allowed to stand and must be fought with strength and conviction.

Gus Franza, Setauket

Perhaps a museum of Confederate statues could be created for those that are being removed from public display. People who want to see these statues can, and those who don’t won’t!

Beth Rose Feuerstein Macht, Long Beach

In blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, President Donald Trump is basically correct. The original protest was against the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The group had a permit to march; as offensive as some of its rhetoric is, the group did have the right to march.

As I understand, this group was made up of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and some people who simply opposed the removal of the statue.

The violence started when the counterprotesters arrived and disrupted the march. The counterprotesters did not have a permit, but sought to disrupt the original group’s right to march and protest.

Violence ensued, and both sides were to blame.

My question is, where were the police?

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Jack McCaffery, Farmingdale

Oh, beautiful America! Where are you heading? I thought you were leading the fight around the world against terrorism! I thought you did not tolerate terrorism in your homeland. So why do you allow terrorist groups to gather and parade in your streets?

The Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists imply violence and terror! Would you allow the Islamic State group to gather in your streets? The only reason you should let such groups gather in public is to round them up and discard them!

When someone’s freedom infringes on another’s, this is no longer freedom!

Christine Smith, Hicksville

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Statues are erected to national heroes and people who have made positive contributions to our great society. We should not be arguing over Confederate statues and flags.

The Confederacy was a rebellion against these United States that caused more American deaths than any other war to date. Displaying statues and flags of an anti-American movement should be an insult to all Americans, but especially African-Americans.

The question, why eliminate them now, is rhetorical. If not now, when?

Removing statues will not erase history. That argument is ridiculous. Germany has no statues of Hitler, and the history of that individual has not been lost.

Jim Kiernan, Holbrook