To the editor: As a Long Beach resident, I can attest to the troubling destruction caused to store owners during the summer protests. Friends had their shop windows broken and there was looting. ("Yes, they're actually blaming Black people for the violent insurrection by the pro-Trump mob," Opinion, Jan. 14)
But I also know that Black Lives Matter representatives condemned the violence, and some bravely tried to stop it as it occurred. Authorities concluded that most of the looting was unrelated to the demonstrations against police brutality and that it was primarily carried out by opportunists whose main purpose was thievery, not protest.
To compare the unlawful conduct of a handful among thousands of conscientious marchers with an organized mob bent on seizing the Congress of the United States and disrupting a constitutionally mandated process is, well, fake news.
In one, there was unintended destruction; in the other, violent destruction was the very purpose.
Thomas Bailey, Long Beach
To the editor: I was delighted to see the reference to "The Lord of the Rings" in LZ Granderson's column. I agree with everything he says, and I'd like to take the analogy a little further.
The character Frodo Baggins' heavy burden was to cross treacherous territory to destroy the ring that would give absolute power to one willing to unleash armies of destruction to possess it. Frodo, drained and made vulnerable to lies and deceit by having to carry it, was sustained by his friend and stout-of-heart protector, Samwise Gamgee.
Ultimately, his heroic task was made possible by rival kingdoms that put aside their self-interest to unite for the common goal: the destruction of lust for absolute power.
In a similar way, we are all Frodos, carrying a ring — not to be destroyed, but to be protected. It is a ring of integrity. We all need a Samwise Gamgee to help carry us forward when we are beset by fear and uncertainty.
We also have a destination: the "shining city on the hill." Like Frodo, we have a map: the Constitution.
Patricia Berberich, Port Hueneme
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.