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Security, Institution failed great writer

Editor, OBSERVER:

Like many others, I was greatly saddened and angered that Salman Rushdie was attacked while visiting the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York last month. It seems like the media has given the Institution and its security partners — the FBI, New York State Police, and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office — a pass on their collective failure to protect this great writer and champion of free speech and thought.

Yes, Salman Rushdie is still alive. But look what was done to him! He was stabbed repeatedly, in the neck, hand, abdomen, thigh, and eye which he may lose. One can only ask: Where was his armed security detail? Close proximity of law enforcement to Rushdie was essential for protecting him.

It is a shame that the Chautauqua Institution refused to promptly release the “security plan” that was devised for Rushdie’s visit. The institution would be better served by speaking openly about what went wrong.

None of the above is intended to excuse the responsibility of the perpetrator. He and extremist religious leaders in Iran who called for Rushdie’s assassination bear ultimate responsibility. But when you invite someone like Salman Rushdie to speak, you must protect him. When you fail, all parties should come clean.

WALTER SIMPSON,

Amherst

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