Amanda Ripley's piece about surviving disaster was both informative and important [June 23]. But her recounting of the fatal fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club, which I covered as a correspondent for ABC News, omitted two key lessons. One: when someone yells "Fire!" (or anything equally alarming), people must err on the side of caution. And two: exit doors must open outward! Most of the corpses at the Beverly Hills were lumped up against the exits. The people who reached the doors first couldn't open them because they opened inward, and when more people pressed up behind them, the doors couldn't open at all.
Evergreen, Colo., U.S.
You missed an opportunity to promote a critical need: for average Americans to get involved with their local community emergency-response team. Too many people still expect others to take care of them when first responders are overwhelmed in a large disaster.
San Jose, Calif., U.S.
In all disasters, our ability to communicate with our social network underlies everything else we may do to survive. My experience providing mental-health services at disaster sites and hospital emergency centers convinced me that I needed to get a ham-radio license.
Norwich, Conn., U.S.
It's a pity that leadership during crises rarely comes from the top. When Hurricane Katrina hit my home, everyday heroes like policemen, firefighters and neighbors did their jobs admirably. Meanwhile, our dear Federal Government seemingly had no idea what to do. Maybe Washington should read your article for a few tips.
Kenner, La., U.S.
Morgan Stanley security chief rick Rescorla may very well be the greatest American hero no one has ever heard of. Rescorla's many friends from his Army days on have been advocating a Presidential Medal of Freedom for him. But that has gone nowhere, because to celebrate his achievements and sacrifices on 9/11 calls attention to those at the Port Authority and elsewhere who got it all wrong.
Steven R. Hansen,
Jonesboro, Ariz., U.S.
Only in second grade at the time of 9/11 I'm now in eighth I had been utterly confused by the tragic events. However, your article about the heroic efforts of Rick Rescorla and the risks he took for his colleagues sent my mother and me into tears. Rescorla's ability to remain calm and assertive in a dangerous situation is inspiring, and I hope we can learn from his example.
Palo Alto, Calif., U.S.
Where's the Veep?
Re "How To Pick A Veep": try to think outside the Beltway [June 23]. I am a 57-year-old black female. We Democrats must have a white male on the ticket with Barack Obama to guarantee a win in November because this is a white man's world. I say this with no animosity. The Veep must also be smart, handsome, Southern, military and reasonably conservative. We're on a roll.
Marlene B. Feltus-Jackson,
A Nonintervention Policy
In your story about the political situation in Bangladesh [June 30-July 7], you cited an April International Crisis Group report alleging that the United States secretly urged the Bangladesh military to intervene in politics in January 2007. If the author of this story had contacted our embassy, we would have let him know that this is simply not true. The U.S. government has been consistent in its message that Bangladesh should be governed by leaders chosen by the people of Bangladesh in free, fair and transparent elections. This was our message before the declaration of the state of emergency, it is our message during the state of emergency, and it will be our message after the state of emergency is lifted.
James Moriarty, U.S. Ambassador,
People's Republic of Bangladesh