Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of May 16, 2011

Readers write in condemning sexual assault in the military, clarifying how the poor really are paying their fair share of taxes, and defending rural America from stereotypes.

No excuse for sexual assault

Thank you for the May 2 article "Military's unseen foe: sexual assault." I am a World War II veteran, Women's Army Corps (WAC), and I am incensed at the treatment of women who suffer these experiences and the seeming lack of concern on the part of those in charge. There is absolutely no excuse for the victims not to have the best counsel and for the perpetrators not to be punished.

I am the daughter of a World War II Army officer, mother of a Navy SEAL, and sister of an Army soldier shot down off the coast of Italy in April 1943. I now have several nephews and great-grandnephews who have served, will serve, and are serving in current conflicts.

I never had any kind of sexual assault directed at me but still am incensed that these sorts of actions take place. It is certainly not in accordance with "and justice for all."

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Virginia Littrell Hooke

Albuquerque, N.M.

Poor are paying fair share

Business advocate and US Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Bruce Josten made a concerning statement at the "Monitor Breakfast" recapped in the April 25 issue. On the topic of reforming the tax code to reduce federal deficits, Mr. Josten spoke of broadening the tax base: "One of the challenges that you can't overlook is you've got 47 percent of all tax filers [who] don't pay a penny in taxes."

It's fair to say that this 47 percent refers only to federal individual income tax and really demonstrates just how income poor so large a part of our population is. More important, the federal government levies more than one income tax.

There is a gross income tax that contributes to the support of Medicare and another much larger gross income tax on only the lower "earned" income brackets that supports Social Security.

When the two gross income taxes are taken into account, the 47 percent paying "no" taxes effectively shrinks dramatically. The lower income brackets are in fact contributing a fair share to "the cost of the services," contrary to Josten's assertion that they aren't.

James Van Vliet

Bristol, Ill.

How's this for rural logic?

Walter Rodgers's April 18 column ("What still roams free in rural America? Lawlessness.") doesn't resemble any of my experiences in rural Craig County, Virginia. It's one of the safest places I've ever lived, a place where the game warden described my neighbor, whom he nabbed for poaching, as "the politest person [he'd] ever arrested."

Sure, people out here break the law, but it's no hotbed of scofflaws. Does Mr. Rodgers live in the country himself? Can he quote any statistics to show that lawbreaking is more prevalent in the country than in urban areas? If not, what he's giving us is only his opinion – and a prejudiced one.

Hazel Beeler

Newport, Va.

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