Charles Lane’s Aug. 21 op-ed column, “The right presidential reaction,” was fair in approaching the difficult task of being president. Critics never seem to acknowledge both the weight and complexity of daily, necessary “executive” comments and decisions. The need for them arrives randomly, often with no warning, which further complicates leadership. And at certain times, like now, with highly charged domestic and international crises in front of us, with particular, devastating events, an emotional response is the last thing we need.

Neither Ferguson, Mo., nor Islamist terrorism will be resolved in an afternoon behind a lectern in the Rose Garden. Each, as with other short- and longer-term issues, requires ongoing, thoughtful dialogue involving responsible, not emotional, parties — and ongoing commentary in the same vein.

Tom Martella, Washington