Messages in Editorial Cartoons

The cartoon of Nov. 22 raises a critical problem with the public misperception of "community service."While the cartoonist cannot be blamed for the term itself, his cartoon reinforces the connection of community service with guilt and with doing some inconsequential work. It was a mistake from the beginning for the justice system to name a public penalty or act of restitution "community service." Such a misnomer simply reinforces public confusion regarding the nature of selfless acts of service on the part of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Americans. The concept of service as a means of restitution, of reintegration into the community through serving it, is a healthy one. But let's hope the "service" truly is service. Nancy Geyer Christopher, Washington

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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