Armed Services Teach Discipline, Self-Respect To So-Called Losers

Dear Ann Landers: I’m responding to a recent letter in your column about a teenager who lives with his parents, wrecked two cars given to him before age 19 and was fired from numerous jobs. The boy was a classic underachiever and a drug user who sported the grunge look, complete with dyed hair, pierced ears, a nose ring and a silly-looking, scraggly goatee. He was enrolled in a junior college but rarely showed up for classes. His parents didn’t know what to do with the kid and were ready to give up and throw him out.

Your advice was to get him into counseling immediately, have him take some vocational courses or find a career in the military. WHOA!! I am a retired military veteran. I, as well as several other military personnel, find that advice offensive and very much out in left field. The military doesn’t want him.

It saddens me to see someone who has been writing advice for so many years and has given help to so many people come up with such an off-the-wall suggestion. Why didn’t you tell him to get a job writing for a newspaper? The military has enough problems without being handed 19-year-old losers.

Please feel free to issue an apology to the men and women who serve in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as numerous other military agencies that protect our freedom. - R.M., Foresthill, Calif.

Dear R.M.: Sorry, you’ll get no apology from me. Countless so-called losers who were tagged “hopeless” have found themselves in the Armed Services. They needed discipline, a sense of pride and the self-respect that comes with meeting challenges. Of course, some didn’t make the grade and washed out, but that’s the way it is in college, too. I’ve heard from many young men and women who credit the Armed Services with saving them from going down the tubes.

Granted, this kid sounds plenty far out and pretty far gone, but if he were willing to clean up his act and go into the service, he just might surprise everybody.

Dear Ann Landers: I have been following the loony lawsuits cited in your column these last few weeks and am pleased to call this item to your attention. I hope you will print it.

A group that has named itself “Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse” presented the “Looney Lawsuit of the Month” award to a woman who sued a hospital claiming negligence and infliction of emotional distress after she fell off a toilet and sustained a cut on her forehead that required stitches. She had been brought to the emergency room hours earlier with an overdose of medication following a suicide attempt and was treated with Sorbitol and activated charcoal.

The woman took another fall when the jury ruled in the hospital’s favor in only two hours. The three-day trial cost taxpayers approximately $18,500, based on the cost of $500 for each lawsuit filed in California, plus court operating costs of approximately $6,000 per day.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a non-profit, educational group in the greater Los Angeles area dedicated to putting an end to lawsuit abuse. CALA serves as a watchdog group over the legal system and those who seek to abuse it for unfair financial gain. - L.A. Times Reader

Dear L.A. Times Reader: I agree that the organization fills a need, and I wish there were more like it. Thanks for letting us know about CALA.

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