I was sad and outraged to read the Oct. 1 Metro story about the death of Jonathan Magbie, a quadriplegic inmate in the custody of the D.C. Department of Corrections.

Regardless of his innocence or guilt, is it not the duty of our government to defend and protect every citizen? Is not this duty amplified when a citizen is unable to defend or protect himself?

Sentencing this young man to prison for marijuana possession made it incumbent upon his judge and jailers to accept the grave responsibility of not only rehabilitating him, but of keeping him alive. They failed in this basic duty.

KAREN S. REINKE

Silver Spring

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I am a nurse who cares for terminally ill patients. The death of Jonathan Magbie, the young man dependent on a ventilator, was predictable.

Able-bodied patients with resources have a hard time getting competent care in our current health system. If Mr. Magbie said that marijuana brought him physical comfort, I believe it.

And if the car in which he was riding contained a gun, it was a good bet that Mr. Magbie, a quadriplegic, was not the one who placed it there and an even better bet that he never would have had the ability to fire it.

SUE EYNON LARK

Silver Spring