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Sept. 11 Compensation: Greed-Filled Free-for-All

January 22, 2002

Re "Sept. 11 Fund's Fine Print Angers Many Relatives," Jan. 17: The federal fund for Sept. 11 was created to assist families in recovering from the tragedy, not to create a new class of millionaires. I don't believe that taxpayers and donors intended for these families to get millions on top of insurance settlements and lawsuits.

Of course, lawyers will take offense that families cannot sue if they take money dispensed from the fund, because they cannot extract their pound of flesh from the families, government or airlines. We hold life insurance for this very situation. This has degenerated into a greed-filled free-for-all.

Do we really want to bankrupt our airlines for something that was and is extremely difficult to guard against? People are already complaining of rights infringement while we try to protect against this reoccurring.

John Lynch asks, "Is a lack of a father for the next 20 years only worth $50,000?" What is the value of that lost parent? Five million? One hundred million?

I lost my mother when I was 6 and I could not say that a million dollars would have brought her back or made the hurt less. Most taxpayers and donors can't imagine what $1.6 million would look like, let alone what to do with it.

Last month we had a victim's wife who said she wanted $1 million for herself and each of her two children even though the deceased made only $28,000 annually. This has become about greed and not what was intended: support and subsistence.

Kerry O'Shea

Thousand Oaks

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The debate over compensation for victims' families is starting to sound like an argument over a lottery ticket.

M.J. Johnson

San Luis Obispo

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