The danger of dark streets

I share the point of view presented in the article "A Place for Innocence on the Night Streets," March 23. The author's prophecy, that "dark streets breed dangerous men who harm women," might be interpreted as self-fulfilling in proportion to the fear of the woman.

I don't walk our moonlit downtown streets surrounded by crime-infested neighborhoods just to test my courage, but the other night, like the author, I needed to be there on business. When I stepped from the car, a man approached. He carried a large sack that bulged in angles like aluminum cans and a long-handled tool. He looked at me and asked if I could spare a quarter.

I told him I had some cans, but when I opened the trunk, I discovered there were only four. I apologized and said I was sorry that they weren't worth much. Without a word, he opened his sack, put them in, and walked away. After a few steps, he turned, pulled himself up straight, and with a clear voice that projected a sense of dignity, said, "Lady, I'd like to thank you for the cans." What I said was, "You're so welcome," but what I thought was, "My brother, I wish you well." Nancy Kirk Tharpe, Shreveport, La.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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