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Debating the meaning of 'law & order'

Federal officers deploy tear gas as they try

Federal officers deploy tear gas as they try to disperse a crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland, Ore. Credit: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The editorial “Trump action not about law & order” [July 23] states, “Trump cites anarchy when there is none.” Really! Portland, Oregon, has been under siege for more than 50 days. Police Chief Chuck Lovell said, “Engaging in criminal vandalism and property damage is not peaceful demonstrations.” He’s right. It’s called anarchy.

The federal government has a right to enforce federal laws to protect federal properties. Federal buildings have been defaced and firebombed. Construction crews repairing and replacing fencing have come under attack. On July 7, anarchists held a “Night of Rage” with more than 400 attendees. Law enforcement has been attacked with rocks, bottles, fireworks and lasers. Yet the editorial board calls this an “imaginary crisis.” To me, an attack on a federal building, which is a symbol of justice, is an attack on America. And that is exactly the goal of anarchists.

I say this is an election year with the goal to tarnish President Donald Trump. Imagine life without law and order. We’ve witnessed it in Portland. It’s not imaginary.

Craig Boyer,


I want to thank Newsday for its powerful, incisive and courageous editorial on President Donald Trump’s outrageous abuse of power in Portland and now other Democratic cities. On the imaginary “justification,” protection of federal property, the photo of the Wall of Moms, who were tear-gassed, says it all. But as you rightly point out, the danger to our democracy is what further unconstitutional actions Trump will take before the November election he’s afraid he’ll lose.

“Proactive arrests” violate the Fourth Amendment and smack of fascism. Trump’s reckless attempts to open schools and businesses at all costs have fanned the pandemic (many more daily cases now than in mid-June and rising) and will cause panic, especially if he succeeds in cutting off unemployment relief to tens of millions of Americans on July 31. Trump wants chaos in cities whose citizens will vote against him — if they can.

Arnold Wishnia,


If we have been paying attention for the past 31⁄2 years, we knew this was coming [“More feds deployed,” News, July 23].

The scenes we are seeing from Portland, Oregon, and might soon be seeing from Chicago, Albuquerque and elsewhere, are eerily familiar. We have seen this movie before, and we know it does not end well. In this version, the people sent in to restore “law and order” in any city whose duly elected mayor has been targeted by the Trump administration are called federal agents. In the earlier version, they were called the gestapo.

Naomi Berman,


A life lesson learned at a hospital

I worked as a physician in the COVID–19 intensive care unit at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore during the height of the pandemic here.

As a former ICU director, I knew we rarely had exceeded 25 ventilator patients at once or eight full isolation patients. On April 8, we had 130 patients on ventilators and 330 COVID-19 patients requiring isolation and full personal protective equipment. Northwell Health, which operates Southside, created new ICUs, providing PPE, doing its best to help patients and inform family members prevented from seeing their loved ones, limiting visitation to families of the dying to protect the living. All employees were magnificent, focusing on helping patients despite personal risk. Outcomes improved over time as we learned both from past experience, and ongoing treatment modification.

I implore my fellow citizens to learn from this example. Learn from the past and improve on it. Don’t tear it down. Love and help your neighbors, don’t judge them. Ignore voices of fear, hate and alarm, and work together for the common goal of personal freedom and communal success. Politicians and pundits pander; loving neighbors prevail.

Dr. Gary Wohlberg,


U.S. policies come before tax concerns

A recent letter epitomizes the lack of empathy underlying our current national behavior [“Forget ‘free’ tuition — I’ll pay for college,” July 20]. The writer wants everyone to vote on tax rates rather than plans and policies for the nation.

This “I got mine and the heck with you” belief system has created a country without interest in the health, well-being or success of our fellow citizens. The author seems particularly averse to paying for education other than for his own children. It might surprise him to know that as late as the 1970s, the City College of New York was free, student loans did not accrue interest or require repayment until nine months after graduation, and there were still usury laws on loans. College was free or subsidized, and we all survived it. In return for lower tax rates than Europe’s, we have bankruptcies related to COVID-19, limited access to health care, little assistance for child care, class inequity, a mental health crisis, and a vanishing dream of education and advancement. More than 147,000 Americans are dead from COVID-19, many because we don’t spend dollars on a workable public health system.

Cynthia Lovecchio,

Glen Cove