I get a lot of e-mail from readers, and all but the nasty, ignorant ones are appreciated. (Even those are regarded for their amusement value.) As long as they are not profane, riddled with personal attacks or expressing glee that fewer people subscribe to daily newspapers, I read them and consider the points being made. (On the decline of daily newspapers -- much exaggerated. Newspaper web sites are getting millions of hits daily, and in most cities and towns, the leading newspaper's web site is the major source of news and information for that region.) . . . I thought I would use this blog to publish some e-mail -- can't do much of that in the column -- or to report generally on the e-mail response to recent columns.
On the 2005-2006 columns on getting drug dealers and users out of the game, the e-mail ran 10-1 favorable, with the majority saying they could see merit to the effort to help dealers, addicts and other ex-offenders find work or get skills or life training instead of more arrest and incarceration. Dissenters said they were either bored of the topic or didn't think criminals of any level -- including low-level, non-violent drug offenders -- deserved any help. . . . On recent columns proposing national public service for all Americans between 18 and 20, including the restoration of the military draft, e-mail was about 2-1 favorable. . . . . On recent columns about the need to embrace Smart Growth in Maryland, the e-mail was overwhelmingly favorable, critical of local officials for allowing so much sprawl and state leaders for not doing enough to encourage smarter planning. I will publish some of these comments another day. For now, here's the wackiest one -- suggesting that sprawl is good for a very bizarre reason: "I understand your concerns about smart growth, but I am sorry the Eastern Shore needs to be more modern and development will do just that. The area looks like something form the 1800's plantation era, and I thought slavery officially ended with the emancipation proclamation. No wonder Harriet Tubman started the Underground Railroad, to get the hell out of the Eastern Shore. The area very much needs some development because it seems that I am traveling back in time each time I travel in that direction. Until we rid ourselves of the remnants of the institution of slavery, America will never truly be the land of the free. Let growth and development continue."