Readers write, Jan. 31

FEDERAL LANDS

Public ownership

brings benefits to all

The headline startled: “Claim about fed land holdings holds up” (Metro, Jan. 28). But those who proclaim that news as if it was something bad never tell the “rest of the story.”

Anyone who has stood on the edge of the falls at Haleakala National Park and looked down into the swirling mists, or been faced with a buffalo walking down the road toward you in Yellowstone, or who has stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon or the shores of Crater Lake, or climbed the lighthouses along the Pacific or Atlantic shores, is grateful that we do own that land, and that it is accessible.

It is easy to make grandiose statements intended to raise hackles of the uninformed — but those of us who have been lucky enough to explore or camp on these federal lands are grateful for the chance to appreciate the protected beauty of some of it, and the safety of the use of some of it, and we realize that although we didn’t give it our best, there is land set aside for those who need it.

MADELINE G. KORFF, CANTON

WOMEN IN COMBAT

Caution advised when

deciding gender roles

As a former Marine, I can remember with clarity women Marines traversing the same physical challenges that we, their male lieutenant counterparts, struggled with in Officers’ Basic Training. They did so with backpacks, helmets and rifles — the same rifles that they fired on the same range that challenged men. That was then (and is now) impressive, and those who have illustrated distinguished physical strength and mental fortitude have earned the right to fight for our country.

Still, there is cause for pause on the recent decision to open the “combat arms” disciplines to females. On one hand, we are well overdue to recognize that many of our servicewomen have already been, and are today, in harm’s way. Their brave service and sacrifices are well-documented.

To be sure, there is some set of women who are not only willing but also capable of fighting on our battles’ front lines. This, however, is a slippery slope, with a question begged, “If this identifiable set of women is indeed ‘capable’ of serving in these roles, should they perhaps be ‘required’ to do so?”

Equal rights is a tricky business, inviting the question of equal responsibility. We will do well to proceed with care.

GEORGE LEVINS, ALPHARETTA

POLITICS

Republicans, take care

not to lose fiscal focus

Should the GOP take Bobby Jindal’s advice and ditch fiscal focus — to which it has paid lip service but done nothing of significant substance — that will make two major parties out of two that have no interest in fixing our country’s financial problems.

At that point, the Libertarian Party, or some third party, will have to step forward in a major way to save the country.

ALLEN BUCKLEY, SMYRNA

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