SF Weekly Letters

The RAT Takes the Cheese
It's not entrapment, it's an "opportunity": Entrapment? Give me a break ["RAT Entrap," Ashley Harrell, News, 9/17]! Entrapment would look like this: The police approach a person and say, "Hey, see that bum over there? He has a $20 bill sticking out of his pocket. I bet you could steal it and get away with it. I tell you what, I'll be the lookout, you go steal it, and we'll go buy a few bottles and celebrate!" That is entrapment, which is enticing someone to commit a crime they would not otherwise commit.

These criminals — and, yes, that is exactly what they are — took advantage of a situation. What if it hadn't been a police officer? What if it were a person who was simply drunk and stupid? How would that be any different? They are not being entrapped. They are just being given an opportunity to engage in criminal behavior that they would engage in anyway. To paint these thieves as otherwise innocent victims of the police is outrageous. The police are not "creating crime." They are just giving criminals a chance to show their true colors. And yes, even if the Pacific Exchange's vault were somehow opened up, with no cameras, it would still be a crime to take the money. That sort of thing happens sometimes, and the result is called "looting."

And Shakka Clyde Jones denies he took the $20? I guess we should just take his word for it. And while we're at it, let's just empty the jails, as almost everyone there will tell you they're innocent as well.

Jennifer Usher

San Francisco

Monkey on the School's Back
Just say no: Kids like these at San Francisco State aren't the problem themselves, but are indicative of the school's problem ["Higher Education," Trey Bundy, Feature, 9/17]. If they want to be taken seriously as activists, they need to quit drugs, and someone needs to tell them that. It's absolute hypocrisy to think that someone should listen to you and your beliefs when you don't listen to theirs and then hide behind this "living to fight the system" mentality. There will always be a system; they're just trying to create one that supports what is apparently an unsupportable lifestyle.

In the article, when one of the two drops a needle in front of the whole class and no one says anything: That's a problem. Why is it politically incorrect for me to admit that I have less respect for the positions of a self-described junkie? You are automatically less credible in such a case, and with good reason. Respect has to be earned. Sympathy is free for all.

I go to this school, and all I can say is that it is a borderline joke. A 3.64 GPA is easy to pull off here, especially if you're only taking three courses. The professors play heavy favorites (and I bet they love an underdog, too). I'd hope these two guys never give up, but they seem to be the source of their own disadvantages. Hiding behind the "system hates us" mentality shouldn't help, but any sort of "fuck the system" inspires a mass arousal of almost every student there.

M

Web comment

Warning! Reality on display: I was really disturbed, not by the article, but by the photograph of the kid inserting a needle in his arm. What was the point of showing that? How did it add to the story? My memories of living in the Tenderloin and being forced to observe addicts shooting up in the middle of the sidewalk in front of children and traffic does not fill me with the slightest bit of sympathy.

In the future, if the Weekly chooses to run images that can be considered graphic or potentially make a reader queasy, please insert a disclaimer or some sort of warning. Blood and needles is a pretty "normal" phobia. And shooting dope? Many people would consider that a private matter.

Natacha Jeanty

Oakland

Clarification
John Geluardi's feature "Stiffed" [9/10] stated that police called Hugues de la Plaza's death a suicide; homicide investigators deny saying that. Police also say they did not turn over evidence in the de la Plaza case to the French authorities because of a federal court order, but rather that they complied with subpoenas filed according to a diplomatic treaty through the U.S District Court.

 
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