Editor: I have been reading a lot in The Sun about the auto insurance and how the insurance companies are ripping off policy-holders just because they live in a high-risk area.
I am not absolving the insurance companies entirely. But I think most of the blame for these high insurance rates should rest on ambulance-chasing lawyers and judges in our courts who give out exorbitant settlements in contested claims.
I was involved in an accident where there was no visible damage, according to the police. Nevertheless, my insurance company ended up paying out $5,000 to the other person involved and my insurance went up several hundred dollars a year.
Not only should we investigate the insurance companies, but the lawyers, judges and our courts should also be looked into.
Editor: Hats off to Maryland authorities who have finally recognized that teen-age sex and pregnancy are not just the concern or responsibility of young girls.
Males have definitely been excluded from pregnancy prevention for too long.
The various approaches suggested in the program are good. These are areas that need discussion.
I hope, however, that we are not going to be sending what would appear to me to be ambiguous, even contradictory messages.
One approach suggested was to discuss delaying sexual initiation while another approach was to distribute condoms. Are we assuming as a fact that a large number of teen-agers are or soon will be sexually active and that, therefore, we should concentrate on messages of ''safe'' sex? That we should concede that the battle for abstinence has been lost?
There is no shortage of good reasons for abstinence from sexual activity during adolescence (health issues being but one).
While studies demonstrate that many young males are concerned and want to help in supporting their children, I hope that part of the new program stresses deferment of sexual activity until one is developmentally, emotionally, educationally and financially more mature.
Editor: I would like to congratulate you on your excellent articles on the rural poor, particularly the one describing the working poor on our own Eastern Shore who can't make enough to live.
Human beings willing to work should never be reduced to needing hand-outs and charity to survive. It is degrading and murderous to tolerate such conditions -- for any reason. I, for one, would much rather pay higher prices, generated by employers paying a just wage, than higher taxes generated by ballooning welfare rolls.
Your article points out that the minimum wage has only recently been adjusted after remaining the same for nine years. This is wrong. I am therefore suggesting to my elected representatives that the federal minimum wage be indexed to the poverty level for at least a family of three, that it be adjusted each year and that the ''poverty level'' be determined each year on regional if not state-by-state basis.
I might also suggest to the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce that it review this situation critically to see if enough corporate executives and owners have the intestinal fortitude to decide what is a fair way to make a profit and adjust the wages for their lowest paid workers.
John D. Schiavone.
Editor: There are many reasons to avoid war with Iraq. Such a war would kill thousands of young Americans and maim tens of thousands. It would further weaken our already weak economy.
Alienating the Arab and Moslem worlds would increase terrorism. It is likely that such terrorism will be experienced within the United States. The detonation of thousand of tons of high explosives would be a major threat to the environment even if Saddam does not use chemical or biological weapons.
But there is another reason as important as any of these. The United States grows ever more violent. Thousands of young Americans are murdered every year. Violence within families is epidemic. By being too impatient to allow sanctions to work, President Bush is telling every frustrated American that it isn't necessary to be patient in resolving differences; that it is acceptable to be violent even when non-violent means or resolving conflict are available.
President Bush said he wants the United States to be a ''kinder, gentler nation.'' He can be sure it will not be such a nation if he wages this unnecessary war.
The sanctions are having a devastating effect on the Iraqi economy. They must be given a chance to work.
Stanley L. Rodbell.