William Raspberry {op-ed, Nov. 12} is right. It is heartless and unfair for Mitch Snyder, the "saintly terrorist," to take on Metro, the news media and the power structure over the "trivial" issue of the homeless' sleeping in subway stations. The poor city just doesn't have a chance. Mr. Raspberry's conclusion that the issue is insufficiently important to capture Mr. Snyder's attention and dedication is a little difficult to fathom in the light of recent history and the facts. This winter, as in the past, a number of people unable to find shelter will freeze to death, some almost in the shadow of the White House and the Capitol. Mr. Snyder's fast may save human lives and some semblance of the soul of this city, if it has one.

I remember when Rosa Parks was counseled by older and wiser heads against risking prison over the trivial issue of seating on buses. Martin Luther King Jr. was advised that the trip to Memphis to assist striking garbage collectors, who were being denied the right to use toilet facilities while picking up society's waste, was hardly worthy of his efforts.

Rosa Parks, Dr. King and Mr. Snyder have said that no effort on behalf of human dignity is unworthy of us. As I do not possess the divine power to urge anyone to give his life for another, I am devoid of the requisite chutzpah to condemn him when he offers to. MARK LANE Washington