Put Down the Pepper Spray

Re: “A Scuffle on Venice’s Skid Row,” news, May 25

Rick Swinger is not going to find a lot of sympathy from what appears to be a pretty fair article. Nor by being a tool for Mark Ryavec, now officially the most discredited and unwanted politico wannabe in Venice.

I’m a physical violence advocate who’s confronted a lot of neighborhood yahoos. But pepper spray in the face of a homeless person? And you want to appear caring because you’re not “mad” at this person? No Sale.

Todd von Hoffmann


We need more Rick Swingers who are not afraid to speak up and speak out.

Nicholas Antonicello

Rick Swinger provoked that man. We need more people who are not afraid to speak up and speak out against the homeless bashers. There is talk going around about using this incident to argue against providing services for the homeless
in Venice.

Gabriel Martinez

Gabriel, you must not live close by. No one is trying to harass the homeless; instead, they harass us. I work in an underserved population and have major compassion for those who need it. The people squatting directly on Rose Avenue, Hampton Drive and Third Avenue have plenty of resources they refuse to take advantage of. Shelters and housing have rules that these people refuse to abide by. We all pay a lot of money to live here, and it’s become increasingly unsafe and intolerable.


By his own words, Mr. Swinger has placed over 100 calls to the police; this sounds like an obsession to me. Then he states that by the time police arrive, the homeless person in question has already moved on. A little patience is needed here. Usually, the problem will resolve itself without you going outside at 4:30 a.m. armed with pepper spray. If he put in some ear plugs and went back to sleep he could have avoided his broken arm. But I do agree that the city has to get off their butts and move their plan along.

Maureen Cotter

Rick, I’m sorry to see that you took the brunt for simply trying to get what state law promises to all residents: the quiet enjoyment of your home. One should not have to put plugs in his ears to get a good night’s sleep. There should be 300-foot buffer between residences and sidewalks where the homeless can camp at night. This would still leave hundreds of miles of sidewalks where camping could occur and give residents a break from the worst late-night noise, defecation and intimidation. Get well soon, and keep up the effort to force L.A. to treat residents with as much care as they are now starting to extend to the homeless.

Mark Ryavec