Last November, San Francisco's mayor and one of its supervisors - a homosexual - were shot to death.

When the killer came to trial, the prosecutor asked for the death penalty, but the jury said no. It found the killer guilty of voluntary manslaughter, for which the maximum sentence is eight years.

The homosexual community was incensed. It began "a peaceful demonstration." When emerged was a demonstration of how to destroy property, burn police cars and cause injuries to people.

The homosexual riot cannot be dismissed as just one more example of aberrant conduct in California. Quite to the contrary, protests of this kind have now become commonplace all over the country. The phenomenon does not stop at state lines.

"Freedom of expression" has taken precedence over public tranquility and personal safety. We are all so free to demonstrate our displeasure that none among us remains secure in either his person or property.

It must be noted that most of today's demonstrations are not held in support of broad principles of lofty precepts. They are designed to influence the outcome of one specific official decision.

Their base is narrow, not broad. They are carefully orchestrated media events designed to make a small number of people sound like many.

The assumption is that if a street mob is unruly enough it can influence political decisions. That assumption is frequently valid.

The majority of our people think taxes are too high, but they do not take to the streets to protest. The majority of our people think handguns are too readily available to every Tom, Dick and Harry, but they do not smash the doors of city hall or burn police cars to center attention on their views.

Today's demonstrators are, for the most part, single-issue advocates whose sole test in any controversy is: If one of our guys was involved, he must have been right and the other guys must have been wrong.

If a homosexual is killed, his killer must be given the ultimate punishment, otherwise we will stage a riot. However, when a homosexual is charged with killing somebody else, that's entirely different. The police must have framed him because they just hate homosexuals. Or there must have been extenuating circumstances. Perhaps our guy came from a broken home and never really had a chance in life. Obviously, he didn't get a fair trial; our people never do. He needs sympathy, help and medical treatment, but all he's getting is persecution. Besides, he didn't do it in the first place.

Tell me this: If the mayor alone had been killed, would high principle have brought the homosexuals into the streets to protest the jury's decision?

You and I both know there would have been no demonstration, no riot. The homosexuals didn't give a damn about the mayor's death. He wasn't one of them.

When set them off was the fact that a homosexual had also been killed - and in the tradition of modern protesters and demonstrators, they thought that gave them the right to destroy property and smash heads.

Fortunately for the republic, many Americans do not share that belief. One of these days they may decide it's time to demonstrate their own displeasure.

BRIGHTER SIDE

Howard Meincke of Mount Rainier writes that when he and his wife returned home after an evening out, Mrs. Meincke discovered she had lost all her keys. They retraced their entire route but couldn't find the keys.

Howard had just about resigned himself to the expense of changing all his locks when he thought: "What would I do if I found a bunch of keys? Maybe I'd take them to the police." And sure enough, he found the keys at a nearby police station.

Max B. Heppner of Columbia parked his car in a metered Montgomery County garage and returned to find he had been given a ticket. The meter maid who wrote the ticket was still in the building so Max told her he had deposited enough coins, and should not have been ticketed.

She said she'd have the meter's accuracy checked, but Max had no great expectation that anything would ever be done about the matter.

Now he reports, "This morning, one working day later, the Parking Division called to say that the meter was faulty and I could disregard the ticket. They'll take care of the paperwork.Bill, that's real efficient work for a bureaucracy."

Max, that's good work, period, and leave bureaucracy out of it. I wish I could say I am always that efficient, or that The Washington Post is.