Having been horrified by the tragedy of the death of Mr. Lawson I read the editorial with interest ("The Lens of Experience," May 18). I was raised in the Bay Area as well, but my experience was far different. In my high school, class sizes were 300 students and I doubt that even 10 percent were non-white and they were mostly the offspring of university faculty and staff. Since then, I've had interactions and friendships with folks from virtually every minority, though I readily admit that I've never lived in an area where I was a member of a minority group.
That being said, I was indeed troubled by the early allegations by Mr. Chandler and others that first responders' actions were dilatory and unprofessional, allegedly motivated by some inherent racial animus. I also recall testimony regarding the scene at 3 a.m.: Ten or so police and EMTs (reportedly all white) surrounded by more than 100 drunk and angry party-goers (including 20 to 30 blacks) who were hostile, cursing and yelling for the responders to do their jobs differently or "better" instead of asking, "What can we do to help?" It seems to me that some folks are far too quick to see a racial component in the chaos such a situation, one which can readily be explained by stress and an unruly crowd of any racial/ethnic makeup where the crowd itself was the source of any overt racial tension.
Mr. Chandler's own account of his actions acquits him well. But I would ask everyone who was present at the scene, regardless of their race, to ask themselves whether their actions were helpful, or did they act in a way that might have contributed to any delay in Mr. Lawson receiving care. If so, consider whether those unhelpful actions might have contributed in some small way to the tragic result. And for any witness not yet on record, for decency's sake, please speak up!
Bronco Weseman, Eureka