I Never Said That

I am baffled by how your reporter could conclude that I paint myself as a victim of various agencies and individuals -- and state as much -- without my having said so to him {"One Year Later, Troubles and Mystery Still Envelop Root," Metro, July 13}.

Although I found the reporter's selective use of facts to support his suicide hypothesis unpleasant, the offense that compels me to write was his unattributed statement that I have portrayed myself as a victim of prosecutors, the press and even clients. I have not done so, I do not do so and I will not do so. Your reporter's unsupported assertion to the contrary is false. -- Thomas L. Root

The Old Boys Club

Only an editorial staff with the values and perspective of the 1950s could suggest that David H. Souter is "appears very well qualified" to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court {July 24}. None of the man's vital statistics as reported in your newspaper lead me to that conclusion. But neither do I believe that white, 50-something, Ivy League-educated, Protestant males have an inherent right to run this country. The United States I live in is more diverse than that Eisenhower-era view of the world.

Which of Souter's impeccable credentials gives him insight into the realities or need for justice for women, ethnic and racial minorities or the poor? Further, how does three months on the federal bench qualify Souter for the highest position in the legal profession?

We should be able to expect more from the selections our president makes to fill important federal posts. Alas, George Bush seems unable or unwilling to look for and utilize talented people from outside his social class. -- Peter D. Yockel

How'd That Guy Sneak In?

What's going on? The July 20 letters column included a letter by one William Stearman, apparently an average, unaffiliated individual. Every other letter that day was from a lobbyist or an official acting in an official capacity -- a U.S. senator whose forum on the Hill is apparently not big enough; a lobbyist for the lumber mills; and the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Stearman's letter seemed out of place amid the official propaganda.

Usually a newspaper's letters and op-ed pages are a forum for citizens to address their government. Instead, your paper has turned it into a place where the officials harangue citizens. -- Stu Byczynski


Your paper called Mont Blanc "Europe's highest peak" {Sports, July 11}. Fact is Mont Blanc is 15,771 feet high. Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgian Soviet Union at 18,481 feet is the highest mountain in Europe.

Your editorials understandably criticize the lack of geographic knowledge among us, but you should remember that it was written "Let him (or was it her?) who is without sin be the first to cast a stone."

-- Thomas Courtney Lee

Uninformed Opinion

Heng Samrin is the president of Cambodia. Hun Sen is the prime minister. It does seem to me that if Mary McGrory is going to tell us what's best for Cambodia and the Cambodians {"New Policy, Old Hang-Up," July 24}, she might at least get her facts right. -- Arthur J. Dommen

Beyond Black and White

On the front page and on the opinion pages, your paper persists in making an issue of the supposed racial divisiveness of the Marion Barry trial. But to pursue the line that attitudes toward the Barry trial are divided along merely racial lines is racist in itself.

An enormous amount of money was spent on trying to catch Barry. Yet, on a circumstantial level he appears to have been involved in some shady dealings. These are difficult issues for our city to sort out. However, catering to those who would use race to tear our city apart is neither helpful nor productive.

I work and live in a multiracial environment, go to church in a multiracial environment and see entertainment in a multiracial setting. Barry's trial isn't setting people I know against one another, nor need it do so. Please don't try to change that. -- Steven R. Hansen

Try Silence

Richard Cohen censured the government and media for their lack of credibility and competency in feeding lies to our kids about the dangers of illegal drugs {"Crack Cocaine Without the Lies," op-ed, July 20}. He held up Mayor Barry as an example of one who did not turn into "a violent raving maniac" through the use of cocaine and/or alcohol. Barry, he wrote, carried on with the running of the D.C. government with no more difficulty than was posed by the occasional hangover. "Crack is just another drug, and drug epidemics wax and wane of their own accord," he said.

If Cohen really believes that the dangers of illegal drugs have been exaggerated and are untrue, perhaps he is willing to have someone dear to him test the dangers of crack or cocaine. Otherwise, without the background or expertise to preach the safety of illegal drugs to the masses, he should be silent.

-- Joyce A. Novack