Made-to-order justice

We can shake our heads and deplore do-it-yourself justice while we predict a return to gun-toting frontier days, but the fact remains that if our courts and our police cannot or will not protect us, we had better learn how to protect ourselves - ``The national mood for do-it-yourself justice,'' by Melvin Maddocks [Nov. 7]. The case of Prentice Rasheed, in Miami, is a perfect example of someone who sought to defend himself and his property, in his own way, when the Miami police failed to do so. He should not be called a hero, but neither should he be branded as a criminal. He was simply forced by the failure of the law enforcement system to protect himself and his property in the best way he knew how.

In some wonderful Utopian society of our dreams, laws are always effective and order is always maintained. In the real world, law and order are only relative and often inadequate. In most large cities, crime is simply an unpleasant fact of life. Hugh Bayless Carmel, Calif.

Siding with Syria In referring merely to ``indicators'' of official Syrian involvement in the conspiracy to plant a bomb on an Israeli airliner in London, the editorial ``Warnings on terrorism: from the West to Damascus,'' Oct. 28, has all but rejected the unequivocal British assertion of ``conclusive evidence'' of Syrian involvement in favor of Syrian President Hafez Assad's claim, in an interview with Time, that ``this is merely an allegation without evidence.'' And in calling for US caution because ``some evidence in the British trial relied on Israeli intelligence gathering,'' the Monitor has very nearly endorsed Assad's claim that ``it is logical to conclude that some intelligence services, in the benefit of the Israelis, are behind such acts because they benefit from them.'' R. Danziger American Jewish Congress

New York

Monitor report card Edward Girardet's unbiased Opinion Page article on Zimbabwe's civil rights situation bears the characteristic of the finest reporting and deserves real appreciation [``Zimbabwe - human rights under fire,'' Oct. 22]. Mr. Girardet's objectivity and freedom from the pro-leftist trend apparent in an increased number of the Monitor's reporters make his articles all the more valued. Boyka Zivadinovich Monterey, Calif.

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