In order to find people for the Army, recruiters are now spending hours in someone's home, talking with reluctant parents of a son who is...

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In order to find people for the Army, recruiters are now spending hours in someone’s home, talking with reluctant parents of a son who is a year too young to join up. Does that strike anyone as a good use of time? (“The Surge at Home,” April 27)

In order to find people for the Army, recruiters cruise shopping malls and stores, pretending to be interested in the goods being sold so they can scope out what a young man is carrying, what kind of car he drives, how long his hair is, whether he carries a designer wallet. Of course, the recruiter followed the young man into the store to begin with. Does that strike anyone as possibly illegal? If not, does it strike anyone as a flat-out bad idea?

In order to find people for the Army, the standards for felony convictions and waivers have been rewritten and education levels have been dropped because they can’t get soldiers to join up. The Army is forcing soldiers to stay past their release dates, and we’re reading about statistics on suicide being vastly underreported by the people who are supposed to take care of soldiers when they come home.

Then there was the disturbing image of a recruiter, in uniform, chasing after a young man who saw her come into a place of business and ran away. She not only went after him, but she insults him in front of his friends. We don’t know how old this “kid” is, nor whether he works at Jiffy Lube, but he’s not happy to be dealing with this soldier/recruiter. But her jeering comment as she leaves is, we are told, her way of walking away with dignity intact.

There’s no dignity in chasing someone down and hassling them, especially if your goal is to win their respect and to get them on your side. There’s no dignity in calling someone a “pretty boy” or pretending you care about shop merchandise so you can confront a customer who might be shopping there.

Does it strike anyone that if some kid is so unwilling to talk to a woman in an Army uniform that instead of telling her “no, leave me alone” he runs and hides, he’s maybe not quite ready for the Army?

— Andi Shechter, Seattle

Live-work, old-new

Live-work lofts, although newly constructed, can actually be placed in the “Everything Old Is New Again” category (Northwest Living, “Flexible Made Fun,” April 20). Its architecture and interior color schemes closely resemble those of the elementary school I once attended shortly after its completion in 1958. I was just back in my hometown of Los Alamos, N.M., and, coincidentally, “old” Pajarito Elementary School has been converted to office spaces for one of the Department of Energy contractors — looking timelessly modern as ever.

— Thomas J. Munyon, Marysville

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