Other junk in food

Re: "Group urges limits on school snacks," April 26. There is an intensifying campaign afoot to protect children from unhealthful junk foods. After accepting this good idea, however, an alarm goes off when it becomes clear that none of the groups promoting this apparently wholesome direction addresses the whole picture.

There is nothing said about pesticide contamination of foods - or about genetically engineered foods; antibiotic contamination; dioxin contamination of dairy products from chlorine bleached containers; foods whose nutrients are damaged by irradiation; or highly questionable artificial sweeteners. All of these things are the products or result of industrial processes.

Essentially, the only things being criticized are natural, non-patented substances: sugar, fat and salt. Mother Nature, with no lobbyists or shareholders, is the villain yet again.

Since children are particularly vulnerable to damage from pesticides and dioxins and food adulterants that disrupt healthy growth, and since the campaign implies that non-organic, pesticide-contaminated, and other industrially altered foods are healthy, this omission is troubling to the point that the campaign loses all credibility.

John Jonik

Not regulated at all

To all of the boneheads out there using Virginia Tech and the Second Amendment as arguments for guns, guns, guns: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." That's the entire Second Amendment. I put it to you that a 23-year-old psycho browsing eBay for ammo is not what I call a "well-regulated Militia."

J. Andrew Smith
Bloomfield, N.J.

Complacent on killer

Mental illness is the pink elephant in the room. The students and staff at Virginia Tech identified it. They sought out the proper channels for remedy and still were left vulnerable. Would the courts and medical professionals have been so complacent had Seung-Hui Cho been spreading the plague? Until the mentally ill erupt, externally manifesting their illness, they are left to suffer. We need to find reasonable ways to deal with this issue.

Judye Reilly

Friendly fire

All combat veterans must be completely disgusted with the hearings in Washington about Cpl. Pat Tillman's death. There were many thousands of friendly-fire deaths during World War II. Men in my own platoon killed other American soldiers, and we were hit by our own people.

In no case did we ever tell the parents of the soldiers that it was death at our own hands. They surely died bravely in the face of the enemy. Tillman's brother wants to find out who fired the shot that killed his brother, and I think that is monstrous.

John T. Fallon
Avalon, N.J.

Poor-memory excuse

Trudy Rubin complains ("Take responsibility? Not this administration," April 22) that Bush administration members seem to have poor memories when called to testify before Congress. What does she expect after I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted for perjury when he gave complete testimony under oath?

I guarantee you that administrators who serve any future president from either side of the aisle also will have leaky memories. Why take the risk? You may look like a fool if you don't remember details, but you can't be arrested for perjury.

Henry L. Lazarus

Bigots on both sides

Where are the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson now? Here in the City of Brotherly Love we have a firefighter/rapper calling for turning our police officers into "bacon bits." This is at least as reprehensible as Don Imus' bigoted comments. At least Imus did not call for violence. Rodney Jean-Jacques should be fired, and criminal charges considered against him for inciting violence. The lack of comment from black leaders in this instance is very interesting.

George Hee

Risking Gaza truce

There must have been a mistake by the headline writer April 25 ("5-month truce at risk as Hamas fires into Israel"). The story says that by firing rockets and mortar shells Hamas "was retaliating for deadly Israeli raids in the Palestinian territories and leaving a largely successful Gaza truce in doubt." Who put the truce at risk?

Libby Frank