My son is a student at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie. Our lives, like everyone else's in the Washington region, have been significantly altered by the sniper attacks.

Throughout this period, members of the law enforcement community have worked round-the-clock, putting themselves at risk, to ensure our safety and bring this to a close. Recently my children have been going to school under the protective watch of volunteer officers who have forgone much-needed rest to see to it that our children are as safe as possible. Every day I have seen police working overtime to safeguard our shopping malls, gas stations, restaurants and business districts so that our community's personal and economic safety is protected. To do this they have had to sacrifice time they would have been spending with their own families, ensuring their safety.

If this is coming to an end, as we all hope it is, I would like to see us as a community do something to recognize the sacrifice of law enforcement officers. I would like to call on members of our business community to partner with Washington area residents in setting up individual programs to show our appreciation.

I would like to see retail stores, theaters, restaurants, grocery stores and all other local businesses establish programs for these folks and their families that people can make donations to.

BRUCE ST. GERMAIN

Bowie

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I am the father of two children, ages 8 and 7.

No words can express my gratitude at the arrest of John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo better than those of Atticus Finch to the man who saved his children in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

To Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose and all those who contributed to the arrests: "Thank you for my children."

WILLIAM A. KEHOE

Rockville

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In their unscrupulous rush to find an all-encompassing symbol of their cause, every interest group and politician out there will probably not miss an opportunity to latch on to the sniper suspects as icons for their respective agendas. But this is neither a catalyst to enforce more stringent gun control laws nor a reason to further validate animosity toward any particular religion or ethnic group.

The power-hungry, sick people who did this deserve to have no more notoriety than should be given to any other ruthless, coldblooded murderers.

MIGUEL A. GUANIPA

Waltham, Mass.