A Good Father, Not a Killer

To clarify the Jan. 5 Associated Press story "Quadruplet's Dad Indicted in Death": Allen Blackthorne, who was indicted for the murder of Sheila Bellush, was not the father of the quadruplets. He was the father of Sheila's two older daughters, but the father of the quadruplets was her husband, James Bellush.

I'm sure this is no small distinction to the grief-stricken Bellush, who reacted with courage and grace following the brutal slaying of his wife. At the time, they didn't know who may have killed Sheila and feared for the quads' lives as well. My sister, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., had the privilege of hiding and caring for the quadruplets while Bellush made funeral arrangements. She was struck by the love and solace the children brought him.

Anyone who knows Bellush is offended by the gross error of your headline.

--Jane Free

Fading Horizon

I'd like to voice my displeasure on hearing that Horizon (The Learning Section) is being discontinued and being replaced with a feature for children. The reason I find the monthly Horizon section so enjoyable is because it is not geared toward the 8 to 13 crowd.

I enjoy reading about paradoxes and perpetual motion. This is the one section of the paper I keep around the house all month long. My whole family enjoys discussing the articles contained within.

I see nothing wrong with having a feature for children, but please keep publishing your informative and interesting Horizon section.

--Robert G. Oslund

Murderers and Victims

In his article deploring the conduct of the "notorious" Tutsi-led army in Burundi toward Hutu civilians [World News, Dec. 30], Karl Vick briefly refers to "[n]eighboring Rwanda, which has a similar ethnic problem and which saw 500,000 massacred in 1994."

If what actually happened in Rwanda in 1994 was the killing of 500,000 Tutsis as part of a systematic campaign by the Hutu power structure to eliminate all Tutsis, would it not promote a better understanding of the region's problems to acknowledge this fact?

--Jeffrey Huvelle

Last of the Belles (Cont'd)

Marilyn Kirk's Jan. 8 Free for All letter challenging the accuracy of the title of Charles Truehart's article on "Gone With the Wind" star Olivia DeHavilland ["The Last Belle of GWTW," Style, Dec. 28] is itself inaccurate. She asserts that "two belles" from the film still exist, including DeHavilland and Evelyn Keyes, who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister Sue Ellen.

She fails to note that Ann Rutherford (who played Scarlett's sister Careen) and Alicia Rhett (who played India Wilkes) are still very much with us, technically bringing the count of extant GWTW belles to four.

--Brian Judge

A Nobler End for Dr. Mudd

I was pleased to see the Jan. 10 correction concerning the Jan. 9 "Deaths Elsewhere" entry for 100-year-old Washington native Stella Marie Mudd Kelley. Her grandfather, Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, who either knowingly or unknowingly set the broken leg of Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was not executed but died of natural causes. He passed away on Jan. 10, 1883, at Rock Creek Farm, near Bryantown, Md.

As your correction stated, Dr. Mudd was convicted of conspiracy in the assassination and sentenced to life. The complete story is that he was sent to Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas Prison, in Key West, Fla., where, in August 1867, yellow fever broke out. When the prison doctor died, Dr. Mudd volunteered his services. As Mudd saved both soldiers and prisoners alike, the officers appealed for a pardon for him, which was granted in February 1869. Dr. Mudd then returned to his home in Charles County.

--Jerry A. McCoy

Married With Tax Burdens

The "marriage penalty" is not a "phony issue," as stated in your Jan. 11 editorial "A Squeeze on Taxes." Most Americans think this issue is significant and represents an unfair tax policy.

As a society we have decided that marriage is a public good. In today's economy it is difficult for a family to survive without at least two wage earners. The problem is that our tax code encourages people to live together without getting married because it lowers their overall tax burden.

When the system works in such a way as to discourage an obvious public good, such as marriage, that system needs to be rethought.

--James C. Thieme