On March 30, my family and I went to tour the Capitol. After standing in line for a long time, we came to a sign that said we had to throw our water bottles and snacks into the trash. The Capitol Police were barking orders at us as we waited to go through the security screening and X-ray machines. It reminded me of a visit to East Berlin in the 1980s, before the wall came down. I wonder how visitors from other countries felt.

I was angry that we were not warned of the rules at the point where we got in line. Had we known, we could have given away our unopened bottled water, chocolate and granola bars to some passersby on the street. I was amazed that we had to throw away perfectly good, unopened food. What a waste. Why can’t the police have a separate bin for these items so they can be donated to the homeless or given to charitable organizations?

I mentioned my concerns to our tour guide, who said he had heard them many times. I plan to write my congressmen, but that seems like the long way around to solve a simple problem.

Pamela Prichard, Los Alamos, N.M.