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Presence of Insurance Should Not Affect Laying of Liability Dear Editor: I am writing with regard to your editorial, “Shallow End, Deep Pocket,” in the Nov. 25 issue [ 170 N.J.L.J. 678]. My view differs from yours, because I believe that people need to accept responsibility for, and be accountable for, their actions. If someone knows that he is diving into the shallow end of a pool and does so anyway, or if someone eats fatty foods from a fast-food restaurant or drinks hot coffee in an open cup while driving, then they need to be held responsible for their actions. The existence of insurance (or as you put it, “the reality of available liability insurance”) should not change the fact that people need to be held accountable for their own knowing decisions and ought not be enabled to lay off blame when they are confronted with the foreseeable consequences of their acts. In my view, the question is not whether there is available liability insurance coverage. Certainly I am no fan of the way in which insurance companies often conduct themselves, but it begs the question of personal responsibility to allow someone to pass through blame and liability onto third parties for their own willful conduct. If your editorial was intended to endorse the idea that available liability insurance should allow a person to avoid responsibility for their actions, then I respectfully disagree. Nathan M. Edelstein Lawrenceville War on Terror Is War Dear Editor: In your Dec. 2 editorial, “Targeted Assassinations,” you condemn the U.S. killing of Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen on Nov. 3 [ 170 N.J.L.J. 754]. Presumably, the Law Journaleditorial board would have had the United States merely serve an extradition request on Yemen. This ignores the fact that there are areas of Yemen that the central government does not control. When the government attempted earlier this year to arrest several suspected Al Qaeda terrorists in a remote tribal area, the local tribesmen killed a dozen government troops, and the suspects escaped. As editorial board vice chairman James Hirschhorn notes in his brilliant dissenting commentary, Al Qaeda cannot be viewed as a purely law enforcement matter [170 N.J.L.J. 755, Dec. 2]. It is an international organization with thousands of combatants, millions of supporters and millions of dollars. Since declaring war against the United States on Aug. 23, 1996, Al Qaeda has been waging war. To treat Al Qaeda as merely a criminal conspiracy is inappropriate under both international human rights law and common sense. Richard Gutman Montclair Megan’s Law ‘Hysteria’ Dear Editor: In Tony Mauro’s article about the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on Megan’s Laws [ 170 N.J.L.J. 572, Nov. 18], Chief Justice William Rehnquist analogized the postings [of convicted sex offenders] to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 Most Wanted List, on view in post offices. He asked skeptically whether the 10 on the FBI’s list should be entitled to a hearing to seek removal of their names. I find it quite disturbing that a chief justice of the Supreme Court is incapable of seeing there is a considerable difference between posting the pictures of someone wanted for a crime and the posting of people’s pictures because there is a remote possibility they may commit a future crime. The fact remains that the vast majority of convicted sex offenders are never convicted of a second crime, the research finds the recidivism rates to be under 15 percent. When this court approves the punishment of people because some of them might commit a future crime, we will know the Constitution is no longer a meaningful document. This Supreme Court appears to be allowing the hysteria over sex offenders to be used as the vehicle to gut the Bill of Rights, making it just an interesting document from the past. Mark Fritz Aurora, Colo.

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