- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2002

Child-free by choice

I read with interest Suzanne Fields' April 15 Op-Ed column, "The new feminine mystique," and find myself, as usual, agreeing with the majority of her arguments. She makes one point, however, that I find troublesome and offensive.

Mrs. Fields makes the assumption that some women don't have children because they choose not to marry or choose to focus on work instead. She ignores an entire group of women (and men) who are child-free by choice, irrespective of marital status and career. Women in this group do not have children because they do not want them. Perhaps they don't like children or they would rather have disposable income to use for other purposes.

This is an issue of interest to me because I continually am surprised by the number of my friends and family who are child-free. This might be a "tiny minority," but I suspect it is growing. Journalists who are covering the issue of women without children ought to give more consideration to this group of child-free women instead of lumping them in with regretful women who simply waited too long.

EMILY MCGEE
Arlington

Editorial bomb scare

As a health physicist (a specialist in radiation safety), I must take exception to the technical inaccuracies of the April 16 editorial "Nuclear nightmare." I can conceive of no instance where a person would be killed "instantly" from the radiation of a Cobalt 60 radio therapy machine; that's just not possible. I also think your editorial was unnecessarily alarming. If anything, the efforts of the enemy to produce a radiological weapon ("dirty bomb" is a silly misnomer) are rather pathetic, and that is good.

Radiological weapons not nuclear weapons are really more "weapons of mass distraction" than weapons of mass destruction. The excellent efforts of the worldwide community of customs officials and other law enforcement agents have helped prevent real special nuclear material (U-235 and Pu-239) from getting into the hands of terrorists.

Thus, the enemy has so far been unable to build a real nuclear weapon. Please give credit where credit is due.

If anything, the basement antics of the enemy in Afghanistan are much more dangerous to them than anybody else. A little less sensationalism, please.


JOHN A LEONOWICH
Richland, Wash.


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