Desensitized to Destruction?

So it's come to this: A high school shooting of four student bystanders in Baltimore County is mentioned only in the middle of the May 9 Metro section, near an article about Luray Caverns. Do your paper's editors think that we are so immune to the destruction of our society that such hard news doesn't even rank a paragraph in the A section?

-- Mindy Richman Garfinkel

Bethesda

Adopt a Better Procedure

In the caption under a photo with "Pedal to the Metal" [Style, May 12], Bridget McCain is identified as the "adopted daughter" of Sen. John McCain and his wife, Cindy. The word "daughter" is more than sufficient to describe the relationship, which presumably is why your captions normally don't call attention to how children come to their families.

-- William R. "Mac" McKenney

Arlington

Hone Your Editing Skills

If your paper is going to print letters correcting word usage, at least have your editors check a dictionary first. Urey W. Patrick [Free for All, May 8] had never heard of the term "honing in," and he chastised Nunyo Demasio for misusing the word. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "honing in" as "to move or advance toward a target or goal." Demasio's usage was correct. It doesn't look like your editorial staff is honing in on accuracy.

-- Jim Carr

Phoenix

Like, Totally Wrong

One would expect a newspaper of your stature to maintain a respectable level of grammar. But I suppose I will have to study teenage English usage to be able to comprehend your paper. The May 9 front page carried the following headline: "A Prison on the Brink; Usual Military Checks and Balances Went Missing." "Went missing"? Like, get a life.

-- Larry Maucher

Reston

How to Describe a Suspect

The May 10 Metro section had a story about the stabbing of a Ride On bus driver. While your editors included an abbreviated description of the suspect, they omitted the suspect's race. If your paper's objective is to enlist public assistance in catching the suspect, what is the point of including only a partial description? And if your objective is otherwise, why include any description?

-- Harvey Eisen

Bethesda

Emancipating an Error

Gordon Bullock's April 24 Free for All letter about the Emancipation Proclamation contains two errors. First, Tennessee was omitted from the proclamation. Second, it is incorrect to say that "Lincoln did not have the authority to free slaves" in the 10 "states in rebellion" named in the proclamation. He had de facto authority over whatever territory his armies controlled in those states. Although the proclamation exempted the part of Virginia that became West Virginia, as well as the occupied areas in Louisiana and Virginia's Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads, no other occupied areas were exempted.

-- Charles Orndorff

Dale City

'Cool Hand Luke' 101

The dialogue in "Cool Hand Luke" about who can or cannot consume 50 eggs lasts about 15 seconds, and someone at your paper should watch this segment before another incorrect letter about the film is published [Free for All, May 8]. "Nobody can eat 50 eggs" is uttered not by Luke (Paul Newman) or Society Red (J.D. Cannon) but by Dragline (George Kennedy), when he's dumbfounded at Luke's spontaneous remark that he can. Luke puts the 50 away in an hour, thereby making fantastic cinematographic use of what I have heard is Newman's curious ability to profoundly distend his belly.

-- Jack Hogan

Rockville