Freedom of speech does not include obscenity Re: "Federal censorship is obsolete," July 16 Steve Chapman has advocated abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants in previous articles. We are supposed to be protected from pornography, obscenity, profane swearing in public, taking the Lord's name in vain, grossness, etc.

I wonder if Mr. Chapman is willing to have broken glass and bricks thrown at him and all manner of insults for his cause. Those who crusade for decency and the betterment of society suffer all of these things.

The First Amendment is freedom of speech, not freedom of perversion. The Founding Fathers never intended for obscenity to be forced upon the public. Broadcasters do not "have an interest in not alienating their audiences." They have an agenda: to make people so decadent, they will not have the will to resist when America is forged into a world government.

Rocky Drake

Community service is an education Re: "College tax credit shouldn't require community service," June 15 Anne D. Neal is right about the community service mandate, but for all the wrong reasons. Her main argument is that college is about gaining an education and community service detracts from this primary goal. This wrongly implies that classroom time trumps all other experiences.

But initiating and coordinating a community service program or philanthropy event can require budgeting, scheduling, arranging advertising, working with administrators and consideration of liability issues, among other skills. Those are real-world business, public relations, management and law experiences not gained inside a classroom or from a textbook. It is misguided to discredit such hands-on learning opportunities while the student is at the same time fulfilling a community need.

Mandated volunteerism is oxymoronic, so let us leave it at that.

Casey Way
Owings, Md.

New Maryland laws target human trafficking Re: "Human trafficking booming in region," June 28 Thanks to Freeman Klopott for covering the growing scourge of human trafficking in our region. Whether victims are forced into sex or made to work against their will without pay, this frequently invisible crime has been spreading into our area from New York and other East Coast cities. Traffickers often advertise on Internet sites like Craigslist, rent hotel rooms by the hour and vanish before law enforcement can find them.

The good news is that we're making progress in Maryland, thanks to two new laws passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. HB 283, sponsored by Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, expands the definition of human trafficking and makes it a felony. A second bill I sponsored, HB 1322, requires hotels and motels to post bilingual signs in every room listing the National Human Trafficking Hotline so that witnesses and victims might find the courage to come forward.

The bills were priorities of the Maryland State Police, the Montgomery County Police and the Women's Legislative Caucus. The Polaris Project provided very helpful policy and advocacy support. Human traffickers should think twice before bringing their activity to our state.

Del. Tom Hucker, District 20
Maryland General Assembly

Silver Spring, Takoma Park