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by Abigail Van Buren

Veterans Deserve Our Thanks, Wherever They Had to Serve

DEAR ABBY: This concerns "Illinois Victim," who was being beaten by a man in her yard, and the neighbor who didn't even call the police. His comment ("I didn't want to get involved") interested me.

Some time ago, I saw a driver who appeared to be drunk cause a serious accident. I immediately called the police to tell them I had seen an accident; no one even wanted to take my name or telephone number. After 10 calls, one hour later, someone grudgingly took my name and phone number, saying, "Someone will call you."

Nobody called until six months later, when I got a subpoena through the mail demanding that I appear in court. In large letters was this threat: "IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR IN COURT A WARRANT WILL BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST."

Abby, in the school where I teach, if a teacher takes a day off, the teacher must pay the substitute. I got a substitute for the day of the trial, only to be called that morning at 8:30 a.m. and told that the case had been postponed! It was too late to cancel the substitute, so I lost that day's pay.

Yesterday, I got a notice for the next court date, which means I will have to hire another substitute. Now do you wonder why no one wants to "get involved"? I am being treated more like a criminal than a witness! After six months, I hardly remember what happened, and because I wanted to be a good citizen, I am now being penalized. Please comment. -- SUN CITY, ARIZ.

DEAR SUN CITY: As an eyewitness, your testimony could be crucial in this case, so please don't abandon your responsibility as a good citizen.

And by the way, whatever happened to one's constitutional right to a speedy trial? "Justice delayed is justice denied," said William Gladstone, who was prime minister of England in the late 1800s.

But, of course, our courts were not as clogged in the late 1800s as they are today.