Letter to the Editor: Public cowed by skinhead violence

Dear Editor,

I have been living in Bratislava for two years. I'll be returning in September for my third. It saddens me greatly that 'racist' skinheads, by definition the least brightest individuals in the spectrum of the skinhead movement, are being given de facto control of Bratislava's streets. It is indeed sad that these hate mongers seem to operate with complete impunity. If the police are helpless to stop these thugs, then you might start seeing people carrying weapons to protect themselves. It is then conceivable that Slovakia could end up with gun-carrying individuals enraged by circumstance and perhaps predisposed toward a quick solution to uncomfortable situations.

This is the reality that many of us in the United States face with an alarming degree of frequency. Just look at the last two weeks of headline news in the United States. I hope that Slovakia can show its true colors the next time these ignorant thugs attack an innocent person. How different could this situation have been? Could the headlines have read "Skinhead Thugs No Match For Slovak Bus Commuters"? Or maybe "Skinheads in Jail after Witnesses Testify to Their Brutality"?

I've heard from several of my Slovak friends that skinheads are not synonymous with vilolence and hate. Why then are they the ones getting all of the headline news? More importantly, where are the majority of Slovaks who don't like their message of hate? It is a telling reality that, as Marta Bujňáková, the police spokesperson, said, "There are usually no witnesses to these attacks." The bus was full of Slovaks. Granted, a nondescript picture composite was given, no doubt becuase of a lack of information. If that isn't tacit approval, I don't know what is. I'd much rather see a headline reading, "Slovaks Stand United Against Skinhead Violence". I hope some day that I do.

Phillip Sanchez
Tacoma, Washington

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