Ads vs. news
Your television critic, Michael Hill, criticized ABC for using advertising commercials during its coverage of the war against Iraq (Evening Sun, Jan. 17). Not only am I surprised by his criticism on the basis of my own observation (although I did not check the other commercial networks because I have only one set to watch), but also because he did not provide his readers with the ad lineage dropped by The Evening Sun so that it could expand its coverage of the war.
Please inform your readers what your ad losses were as you provided your readers with enhanced coverage of the news.
Herbert D. Andrews
On Jan. 18 you ran two stories, one above the other. The top story read "7 anti-war demonstrators are arrested at armory." The other, as if antithesis, said, "Signs of patriotism flash in Baltimore."
Those who witness for peace are patriots also. They call the nation to commitment to the founding ideals of democracy and justice. They speak, as prophets have also done, of repentance for an unjust war, of reverence for the sanctity of life. They are not in opposition to those who support our troops; rather, they are in opposition to those who have sent those troops to kill or be killed in the defense of oil-rich monarchies.
George Washington warned, "Beware of entangling alliances." President Eisenhower warned us to beware of the "military-industrial complex." What would those patriots have thought of this present senseless war?
Stirring up action
I recall that many years ago you had a series about Maryland's mental institutions (referred to as "snake pits") revealing the horrible conditions in many of them. I believe the consensus of opinion was that these articles helped to stimulate action to correct some of these conditions.
After reading an article entitled "Hostages to madness" in the January Reader's Digest, it occurred to me that a newspaper could probably stir up thought and, I would hope, action to correct the abuse and neglect of the mentally ill who cannot be involuntarily committed even though they need treatment and a safe place to stay. The families of the mentally ill also need help and protection, in many cases, from danger posed by their mentally-ill loved ones.
Right to bear arms
Roger C. Kostmayer's attack on the National Rifle Association (Forum, Jan. 10) is a perfect example of the Big Lie. While the first part of the Second Amendment obviously was meant to provide the means for a state to protect itself from a strong central government, the second part guaranteeing the people the right to keep and bear arms is just as obviously an individual, not a collective right.
Charles F. Havens
Regarding your editorial, "Another big bang" (Jan. 16), a ban on "assault weapons" is not justified. Even though New York City and Washington, D.C., have very restrictive gun laws, their firearm-related death tolls continue to climb out of sight. The clear fact that gun bans do not work is never reported in your paper. Better firearm education and tougher enforcement of existing laws is the answer. If these weapons are so horrible, why do the police use them and will they continue to use them?
So-called "assault weapons" can very well be used as a defense, not only an offense. Good guys use guns, too! The citizens who have the greatest chance to be injured by guns are criminals, and they love gun bans because they know that the public will be left defenseless. If you ban "assault weapons," you will only make the streets safe for criminals.
Jeffrey D. Adamson
Buried on the back page of the D section on Thursday, Jan. 10, was an item that should have been on the front page: "Judges withdraw raise request."
It was a truly remarkable decision, even if there was no chance of getting the full raise. The legislature and governor who were so generous to themselves last session, in spite of the projected deficit, would hardly have turned down the full request. These 310 judges deserve the commendation of all the overtaxed citizens of Maryland.
Our governor and other elected officials unfortunately have a different point of view. They believe the taxpayers have deeper pockets to dig into ' and dig and dig and dig.
Charles D. Connelly
Engineers do not create urban poverty
I read your editorial on the cancelation of the A-12 airplane ("Wealth, not stealth," Jan. 9) with considerable interest, since I had spent the previous 20 months working continuously on the radar for the A-12. Since the cancelation of the project, a few of us will no doubt be laid off, among the 1,200 or so that Westinghouse will have to trim.
This was a prospect your editorial writer faced with considerable aplomb. Indeed, he or she positively relished the idea of freeing up so many "resources" from the onerous and unproductive effort of building radar. Far better, in the editorial's opinion, for us to dedicate ourselves to ' what was it? ' building "modular houses" for "entry level" workers. In this way, your writer opined, this country might achieve the economic vigor and robustness of, say, Britain.
That 1,200 trained aerospace engineers and technicians would find their time better spent laying brick on a public housing project is a breathtaking assertion. One can only dream of the benefits of assigning, say, 1,200 laid-off journalists to do the same job.
The next time you decide how society should spend its money, perhaps you should consider how much is wasted, say, on newspapers. I spend money every day on The Baltimore Sun. Wouldn't this money be better spent on the poor? It never occurred to me until last Wednesday that the money I spend subscribing to The Baltimore Sun was money denied to the poor, but it is. And yet I continue to throw money away on newspapers.
Your writer poses a false dichotomy. The choice is not between building planes and building housing, any more than I choose between giving to charity and buying The Baltimore Sun. Both items are in my budget, as indeed they should be. Your statement that money spent on the A-12 was diverted from social programs is sanctimonious and false. Your utter lack of sympathy for intelligent, highly trained people facing unemployment ' indeed, your willingness to blame them for the plight of America's underprivileged - is profoundly cynical.