Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Trayvon Martin as a symbol
Re "Playing the race card," Opinion, March 27, and "Florida teen's parents take case to Capitol Hill, '' March 28
What if the inability to view Trayvon Martin so personally, the incapacity to grasp and understand and identify with him, is the very same twisted trait that sees America's middle class, poor and minorities as someone else's people and someone else's problem?
The cold objections of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to President Obama's words reveal a lack of understanding, and their reactions add more wood to the fire of America's chronic problems with race. Maybe Dick Cheney is not the only Republican who needs a heart transplant.
Think of it this way: If Gingrich, Santorum and many of the rest of us were able to look at Martin and say "that could be my son," we might have fewer such tragedies.
Most coverage of the Martin shooting has focused on the complex problems of racism and stereotyping.
Yet the tragedy also highlights a simple fact:
When people who lack professional training, discretion and accountability carry guns, we are all at the mercy of their prejudices and impulses.
In all of the coverage, what I am not seeing mention of is the real reason for Martin's death: the gun.
Guns continue to be a plague on our society. There is no place for handguns that are only used to kill other humans.
Without guns, maybe these young people would have had a fistfight. Nobody would be dead.