Regarding the article "US Strength Begins in the Classroom," Oct. 23: I disagree with that conclusion. The American family is the fundamental source of this country's strength. But its stability has been suffering considerably with the United State's political and corporate misdirection during the past 25 years. Strengthen the family and we will see better educated children, increased savings, a superior work force, and greater respect for the world we live in.Wayne A. Lawson, Bellevue, Wash.
Continuing the condom quandary The article "Schools in Quandary on AIDS, Condoms," Oct. 9, examines the dilemma schools are in over ways to stem the expanding AIDS tragedy among sexually active teenagers. To curb the spread of the disease, condoms are being offered as a preventative device. But they also are regarded as tacitly condoning sex. As youngsters are encouraged to "Just Say No" to drugs, single teenagers can be prodded to "Just Say No" to sex. Total abstinence for unmarried couples may require a struggle, but the rewards - freedom from AIDS and peace of mind - surely make a prayerful effort to abstain really worthwhile. Our youth's sexual activity needs to be curbed in order to halt the spread of AIDS among them. Charles F. Rasoli, Long Island City, N.Y.
Japan and peacekeeping Regarding the article "Japan's Bid to Dispatch Soldiers Falters," Oct. 8: I am deeply disturbed by Japan's reluctance to send troops to participate in United Nations peacekeeping efforts. The article notes that the Japanese government seems reluctant to take its rightful place with the rest of the world's major powers and assume the responsibility for maintaining world peace. The bill before the Japanese Parliament, which would allow partial participation in UN peacekeeping forces, is an insult not only to all other nations participating in this program but also to the Japanese forces which might participate. Japan's conditions for involving its troops in peacekeeping efforts, such as limiting their forces to small arms which provide insufficient firepower and only joining missions when antagonistic parties have been separated by a cease-fire, are unrealistic and set a danger ous precedent. R. N. Brown III, Florence, Ala.
States' stake in gambling Regarding the article "Three Colorado Towns Gamble on Slot Machines," Oct. 2: I find the spread of gambling in this country to be particularly alarming. It seems to me that the attitude of the 1980s, "spend now, pay later" is still prevalent within our society. Rather than tightening our belts in these rough economic times and exercising "save and invest" principles, we seem to be overindulging in wasteful pastimes such as gambling without much regard for the future. Of course, state governments are not going to discourage this sort of activity because it raises a great deal of money for their coffers, while getting them off the hook of having to raise taxes. But although legalized gambling may help a state's economy in the short term, in the long run it only fills the pockets of a corrupt few. I find the growing trend of legalized gambling disturbing because it signifies a serious lack of committed effort and leadership on the part of our politicians. Douglas K. Parbery, Florence, Ala.