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by Abigail Van Buren

Long-Distance Love Affair Ends in Trip to the Altar

DEAR ABBY: I can't believe you let the woman who didn't know whether to tell her son that his dad is in jail get by with such flippancy about the nature of his crime. Driving drunk IS a violent crime. On at least three occasions he could have killed people, and if her big city is like ours (Houston), it's unlikely that he was caught every time he broke the law, and likely that he was completely over the edge before the police noticed. That she dismissed his level of wrongdoing by saying, "My husband didn't steal anything, nor did he commit a violent crime," indicates that she still doesn't get it.

I'd rather have a role model for my child who stole to feed the family, than one who takes others' lives in his hands so casually and without redemption. -- DEBRA DANBURG, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, AUSTIN, TEXAS

DEAR MS. DANBURG: The mother wrote asking whether she should tell her 6 1/2-year-old son that his father was in jail for a year for driving drunk -- or would it be better to say, "Daddy is away on business and he may be gone for a long time"?

I advised her to tell her son the truth; I didn't think it was necessary to rub salt in her wounds by reiterating that driving drunk is a very serious crime. She already knows that.