Re "A call to mandatory national service" (Forum, July 20): The call for required national service for able-bodied young Americans reflects a letter I sent advocating such a policy as a possible solution for youth criminal activity.
A principal reason for gang activity and crime among today's young people is a lack of technical and real world skills often taught in the military, AmeriCorps or Peace Corps programs. Skills needed to be successful in today's modern world.
Growing up with the draft, I remember that men not only learned to shoot guns but also how to build houses, operate and maintain complex equipment and how to conduct themselves in society.
The draft gave young men time to grow up and a place to do it. Not everyone is cut out for college, but America needs to give all of its children a chance to succeed and a national service requirement could help do that.
-- Jerry Martin, Sacramento