Opinion | Readers critique The Post: Embrace the girls’ club

Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

The Aug. 11 Style article “Scouting around for friendship” about teen girls who had found outdoor activities in the BSA, formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America, failed to mention that there has been something available to the girls all along: Girl Scouts.

My girls live in cabins in the woods for a week, shoot arrows, climb high rope courses, throw tomahawks and build fires. And they are free to do all this without worrying about catching the eye of a boy.

Though the Boy Scouts have made changes to stay afloat, Girl Scouts continues to offer incredible opportunities to girls without any extra complications or baggage.

Carolyn Brace, Springfield

I am happy for the three young women in the Aug. 11 Style article, “Scouting around for friendship.” However, I wish the article was about the young women who are finding themselves and making connections in Girl Scouts.

We, as women, have to stop defining success in terms that men wrote and perpetuated. Have you seen the “Barbie” movie? Women succeed when we work together and empower each other. The Girl Scouts program and all that it offers have always been underreported and underappreciated. Girl Scouts can travel the world in pursuit of their interests and camp anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

As a Girl Scouts troop leader, I took troops on camping trips that included archery lessons, canoeing and high-adventure experiences, including ziplining. We also went to animal shelters and to community centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods to provide tutoring and after-school programming. Middle and high school girls ran a week-long summer camp with adult support. We spent a night in a shopping mall so the girls could learn about fashion design and budgeting. We spent a night in a science museum. We went on Hershey Park trips. We went to Virginia Beach for marine education and beach play. I’ve watched my Girl Scouts grow into remarkable women who are now engineers, information technology specialists, teachers, professional sports team executives, military and Foreign Service officers, doctors and nurses.

Where’s the article about Girl Scouts?

Kathy Lehner, Alexandria

Send ‘stray bullets’ to the pound

Regarding the Aug. 8 Local Digest item “Girl, 12, wounded by stray bullet, police say”:

I frequently see references to “stray bullets” in articles in The Post and elsewhere that involve gunshot injuries or deaths sustained by people deemed not the intended targets.

This seems disingenuous to me, as it appears to suggest that a bullet went wandering off on its own, as a stray dog might do. Regardless of who was shot, the bullet was fired by someone in a particular direction, and, whether the person shot was the intended target or not, it was the result of an individual’s decision to aim and pull the trigger on a firearm.

To suggest otherwise implies that the harm done by the gunshot was some kind of accidental occurrence that could perhaps have been avoided by either the shooter or the victim, as in an automobile crash.

Daniel W. Keiper, Falls Church

There’s no good comparison

The Aug. 5 news article “U.S. spending is powering Ukraine’s defense, with ‘off-the-charts’ military and humanitarian aid” offered detailed data, via text and graphics, quantifying U.S. military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine: $66.2 billion since February 2022.

The article noted that “it’s hard to put these numbers in context” and offered data on U.S. aid to other allies and international aid to Ukraine by 13 other countries. It also compared costs of other initiatives, including the James Webb Space telescope, $10 billion; President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, $39 billion; and the Marshall Plan, which, “when adjusted for inflation, came to about $150 billion over three years.”

Talk about context. Why no data on the costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? A June 2022 Defense Department report on the estimated “war-related” costs of those wars, from fiscal 2001 through fiscal 2021, provides a basis to estimate the monthly average of such costs to be $6.82 billion, nearly three times the $2.53 billion monthly average of military aid to Ukraine from Feb. 25, 2022, through July 25, based on data in The Post’s report. There is, of course, no way to compare the devastating damage to our troops and our alliances resulting from those other wars with the benefits to Ukraine, our alliances and our standing in the world. Those benefits come from sending military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Herb Martin, Ocean View, Del.

Before Plan B comes Plan A

The Aug. 5 front-page headline “An abortion ban made them teen parents. What came next?” was not suprising; it was also very disappointing. It was not suprising because it’s always someone else’s fault when people mess things up. It was disappointing because it should have read “Unprotected sex made them teen parents. What came next?”

In this day and age of sex education, an abundance of information on how not to get pregnant, and the availability of condoms and other birth control measures, the only blame for unwanted pregnancies goes to the individuals involved. As to what comes next: any of myriad outcomes, almost all of which are not good.

Pete Perry, La Plata

Steps from history

Ann Hornaday’s Aug. 10 Style Appreciation of William Friedkin, “Friedkin’s steps: A monument to cinematic horror,” could have noted one of the other area attractions that did make it into the 1973 movie “The Exorcist.” The meeting of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and Damien Karras (Jason Miller) was filmed at the “mule bridge” over the C&O Canal, steps from M Street. Many Hoyas (including me) visited that site during their years attending Georgetown University.

Michael Nardolilli, Arlington

Ann Hornaday’s Aug. 10 Style Appreciation of film director William Friedkin discussed various Georgetown venues featured in the film “The Exorcist.” She did not mention the scene filmed at the Georgetown University tennis courts.

It took two days to film the scene. The priest (Jason Miller) and detective (Lee J. Cobb) walked around Georgetown University while discussing the death of a priest. They stopped in front of tennis courts, then next to Lauinger Library.

Two women were hitting on the first court. One was Linda Tuero, who was the No. 10-ranked woman tennis player in the world in 1972. William Peter Blatty, who wrote “The Exorcist,” and Tuero later married.

We were hitting on the second court while Miller and Cobb stood outside. After the filming of the scene was completed, Friedkin asked whether he could hit with us. He told us that he was “not very good at tennis.” He was correct!

Jim Martell, McLean

Ralph Nurnberger, Arlington

Irregular coverage

More than one year ago, a young man, driving well above the speed limit, killed two young women walking home from Oakton High School. A few weeks later, he was arraigned on two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Recently, only one local news outlet has bothered to cover the case — and it wasn’t The Post.

Reporting by the Reston Patch said the case was slated to go to trial on July 24, but that date has come and gone, and no local media outlet has covered it since, if in fact the trial took place. Social media posts indicated that Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano was contemplating a plea deal in this case.

Once upon a time, The Post would have covered this. Now, the community is left wondering about the disposition of a case with significant public interest — and with very little action by any local authority to address the public safety issues involved. Blake Lane, where the crash occurred, still has not been named a school zone. Few traffic-calming measures have been installed. And apparently the local prosecutor doesn’t feel the need to answer questions about the case. Unfortunately, the next two graduating classes at Oakton have seen one of their classmates allegedly engage in reckless, dangerous activities while suffering no consequences. The “adults” (the media, prosecutors, etc.) have let them down.

Bill Imbergamo, Vienna

Showcase the good sports

As the father of an Ivy League student-athlete, I really enjoyed and agreed with John Feinstein’s Aug. 11 Sports column, “The con game of realignment is a loss for ‘student-athletes’,” though I confess that heavyweight crew is not a revenue sport. And I loved the reference to “Punt, John, Punt!” I hadn’t thought of that in years.

I wish The Post would have a weekly story on a Division 3 school, sport and/or athlete, because that is where there are true student-athletes. We had one in volleyball, which is a true non-revenue sport! It would not only be interesting to readers, I believe, but it also would offer a wonderful contrast to the huge business of big-time college sports.

Tom Martella, Washington

Close, but no ice

A caption on a photograph that accompanied the Aug. 8 news article “Record glacial flooding sweeps away 2 homes in Alaska’s capital” began, “As the Mendenhall Glacier, pictured June 13.” The photo does not show the glacier. It shows Nugget Falls in Juneau. From the falls, you can look north to see the glacier, but it is not visible in the photo.

Jeff Seigle, Vienna

Identity crisis

I often enjoy reading John Kelly’s Washington column. I noticed his July 30 Metro column, “Busman’s holiday: The story of Annandale’s Walnut Hill estate.” I wasn’t aware of the estate, but I’d like to point out one omission from the history of the Walnut Hill area, although the focus of Kelly’s column was different.

I remember, when I was a college student (I believe November 1980, after the election), reading an article about a tragic traffic accident that occurred right near Walnut Hill when two opposite-bound cars, both driven by young men, collided and tumbled over the embankment, near where the tennis courts are today. Of I believe seven total drivers and passengers (four male, three female), only three survived, one being the male driver of the car at fault. There was a famous case of mistaken identity at the hospital involving two girls who were involved; one died, the other survived. It wasn’t until one of the girls emerged from her coma that the record was set straight. The other parents, unfortunately, had their hopes dashed.

I remember being absorbed reading the story and the outcome; I was 22 and only a little older than the victims. I knew the stretch of Annandale Road very well as a runner. It was the stuff of a made-for-TV movie.

James Scarborough, Arlington

Poor writing risked a bad mix-up

The July 31 news headline “President’s son charged with money laundering” might have caused the reader to assume it was in reference to Hunter Biden, given his legal woes. One must continue reading to reach the clarification that it was the president of Colombia whose son was being charged.

More caution is required.

Joan Yolken, Poolesville

Where’s Morro Bay? We can’t place it.

Thank you for the comprehensive July 30 front-page article about the efforts of the Chumash tribe to have the federal government establish a marine sanctuary off the California coast near Morro Bay, “Tribe seeks to protect its coastline, culture.”

This reader, however, wonders why the map that accompanied the story had the names of six locations: Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Malibu, etc., but not Morro Bay. It turns out that it’s between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. There was adequate space for it to be shown on the map.

John J. Landers, Bethesda

It’s open to interpretation

Regarding Ellis Rosen’s Aug. 7 editorial cartoon depicting two military personnel in an art museum:

The uniform worn by the senior man takes diversity to a new level. He is wearing what appears to be a lieutenant general’s three-star shoulder boards, a Navy ensign’s single stripe on his right sleeve, a Navy lieutenant’s double stripe on his left sleeve and a corporal’s insignia on his right arm. The depicted enlisted man’s uniform is devoid of any rank insignia whatsoever. Obviously, some manner of covert special ops. However, he is saluting British-style, suggesting a joint U.S.-British operation.

I don’t get, it either.

William E. Fallon, Gaithersburg

We’ve been hearing great things about audiologists

The Aug. 1 Health & Science article “Hearing aids may cut cognitive-decline risks by nearly half” reported on a recent study that ran in the Lancet journal. Though the article pointed out the importance of hearing to cognition, it failed to fully explain the role that counseling with an audiologist plays in possibly reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million Americans suffer from some type of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third-most-common chronic physical condition in the United States and is twice as prevalent as diabetes or cancer. Yet Medicare coverage for audiology services does not reflect the vital role audiologists play in hearing health care.

Last month, the American Academy of Audiology along with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, endorsed the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act of 2023 in the Senate. With bipartisan support, it was introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). The purpose of the bill is to provide more timely and robust access to services from audiologists, including Medicare coverage of diagnostic and treatment services from audiologists.

Though audiologists continue to push the importance of hearing health in Congress, large numbers of aging Americans are suffering in silence.

Patrick E. Gallagher, Reston

The writer is executive director of the American Academy of Audiology.

This post was originally published on this site