Home of the Brave

A big up for the Peter Noel piece "If a Cop Kills My Son, I Will Kill the Cop" [April 11]. It was courageous to print it. More courageous to write it.

I pray, however, that such courage never has to be put into action for any of our sons, brothers, or fathers of any race.

Marc Anthony Thompson

Fatherless Child

Peter Noel's article feeds into the thinking that makes cops feel justified in their profiling policies. And coming from such an obviously intelligent writer, it is beyond disturbing.

As an African American with Jamaican ties, I can understand the passion behind Noel's words, but to advocate violence . . . where would that leave us? Surely a smarter solution is possible. Not one that involves, inevitably, three dead people: Mr. Noel's son, the police officer, and Mr. Noel.

Allen Glover
Flushing, New York

Tracks of My Tears

As I stood on the subway platform reading the final paragraphs of Peter Noel's article, a surge of emotion swept over me and tears filled my eyes. I turned away from the crowd, holding the Voice to my heaving chest. Peter Noel's reporting on the New York Police Department's murderous rampages throughout the city has been continuously spectacular. But his most recent article is by far the most outstanding.

Mr. Noel described the black rage that consumes so many of us in the most eloquent form to date. Will white America ever understand this rage? Will they ever even try?

As a black woman, I fear for the life of my brother, my nephew, and my unborn sons. I too would consider the same actions as Mr. Noel if an officer murdered a member of my family.

Nina Nsilo-Swai

Asking a Lot

I can understand Peter Noel's pain. I'm also a father, and I can't imagine what my reaction would be if one of my boys was taken away like that. I just don't know whether taking out the cop would be the answer. I guess I'm considering all the pain I'd leave behind for my wife.

I know that the anger to actually take out the officer would be there. I don't know if I'd want to subject my surviving relatives to the retribution of the authorities.

Craig Morancie
West Orange, New Jersey

Silent No More

I know the "big-eye boy" of whom Peter Noel speaks. Right now, he's enjoying his morning nap. Oh, to be seven months old again! His brothers—now 15 and 12—napped around this time of day when they were new and unafraid. Before a price was placed on their heads. We have tried to make a happy life for our sons. We have taught them right from wrong. We have challenged stereotypes and discrimination wherever we have found them.

We found the best public schools and sent them there. We used our privileges to make a difference in their lives. We committed to share our gifts with our communities. But still I'm afraid. I become angry when shopkeepers follow my six-foot-three baby through the store. I say, "He's with me" and "What's your problem?" He won't always be with me. I can't always be there. I have taught my sons what to do if stopped by a cop. I demonstrate what "Put your hands on your head" means.

Did my suburban mother teach me this? Repeat after me: I live here. Louder! I LIVE HERE. I don't have a gun. LOUDER! You must not let them kill you. You must not die. How can one be expected to remain calm as our children are taken from us? I will not be calm. I will not be silent.

Kevin Lembo

Blind Rage

As a reader from Canada but a lover of New York City, I found Peter Noel's article about his theoretical retaliation against brutal cops very disturbing. Although it is easy to understand that police are sometimes guilty of brutality and/or racism (Mayor Giuliani's rhetoric has at times seemed insensitive, if not apologetic for such attitudes), there is a problem with Mr. Noel's consciously inflammatory, and dangerous, article.

Mr. Noel uses a lot of irrelevant hyperbole in making his point; for instance, if he is trying to say that his "West Indian" idea of justice is at odds with the American one, then he's surely headed down a slippery slope. And to allude to some outdated "black rage" social theories as reasoning for "copicidal fantasies"—talk about a counterproductive agenda!

Michael Pukin
Toronto, Canada

Look Away

Thank you for Nat Hentoff's "A Sudanese Woman Tells Her Story" [April 4]. It is sad that the world does not look at the black Africans in the Sudan as human beings. There is genocide and enslavement of the native Africans taking place there, but nobody seems to believe or care.

First, the Arab world stood behind the government of the Sudan simply because of their Islamic faith. Now the Canadian oil company, Talisman Energy, is, as Hentoff noted in his column, helping the government to totally enslave and eradicate the native Sudanese from the oil zones.

When will the world talk? Is there nobody who will stand by the weak and the defenseless? Recently, Pope John Paul II publicly recognized the sufferings of the Palestinians and their rights to the Palestinian land. What about the long sufferings of the native African Sudanese? Who is there to help stop their eradication and to recognize their sufferings and rights to their land?

Next Page »