Tolstoy on War
Editor: Reading ancient, world and modern history for the past 50-some years, and reading daily newspapers, I have to acknowledge the truth found in the following paragraph, copied from the essay "Christianity and Patriotism," by Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist and moral philosopher and a military artillery commander in the Crimean War.
"The bells will peal, the drums will sound, the priests will begin to pray for successful slaughter - and the old, well-known and terrible story will begIn all over again.
The editors of the daily press will start virulently to stir up men to hatred and manslaughter in the name of patriotism. Manufacturers, merchants. contractors of military supplies, will hurry joyously about their business, expecting double profits.
"And smothering despair within their souls by songs, debauches and liquor, hundreds of thousands of simple-minded, good-natured people. torn away from peaceful labor, from their wives, mothers and children. will march. with weapons of murder in their hands, anywhere they may be driven.
"They will march to freeze, to starve, to be sick, or die from disease, and finally they will arrive at the place where they will be killed by thousands, or kill other thousands themselves - men they have never seen before and with whom they have no quarrel. And again will men become infuriated, brutalized and bestialized, and love will wane in the world, and the incipient Christianization of humanity will be delayed for decades and centuries."
I believe that the context of the above essay applies to all countries, to all races, religions and culture.
Helen P. Skjoldager, Berlin
Editor: Before the Gulf war, the media seemed to believe that high-technology weapons were too complex ever to work. What the media failed to understand was that weapons must be designed on the leading edge of new technologies. As a result, temporary glitches may develop and certain paths must be abandoned for others that are more promising.
As the military learns more about the new and the systems our potential enemies are developing, it must change requirements to stay ahead. The Gulf war has shown us that technology wins battles and protects the lives of our troops. A few years ago, the precision and reliability of our systems today were Just dreams, but those dreams have come true.
Many Marylanders should be proud of their contributions to those systems that now protect our fight-ing men and women. This is a tough world and it will get tougher. But the military superiority and inner strength of Americans that protected freedom in the Cold War will some day win a worldwide lasting peace for our children.
Allan C. Stover, Ellicott City
Editor: Regarding the issue of the new female urinal considered for the new stadium: I am a 44-year old fe-male, a baby-boomer with a busted bladder following my childbearing years. a baseball fan with slightly arthritic knees and hips, a middle-aged matron with a habit of dressing in an assortment of clothing which includes restriction-of-movement underwear, pantyhose, slacks, or long skirts. Statistically, I represent a large segment of the American female population.
I read with interest the article on the proposal to use female urinals at the new stadium. This is an experimental invention of dubious practical merit. As a nurse who has had multiple opportunities to collect urine samples from women, I can assure you that this will be a difficult and messy affair. Users of public restrooms rarely find an adequate supply of soap, tissue, paper towels, or "seat covers" - what is to assure an adequate supply of "sanitary cuffs" at the new stadium?
Any bathroom designer who sincerely wants to improve traffic flow in the ladies' room needs simply to add additional stalls and get rid of the mirrors!
Barbara R. Gormley, Baltimore
New World Order
Editor: The eye-opening assortment of articles which appeared in The Sun under the heading, "What Kind of New World Order?" left me with a number of strong impressions. First, we Americans are terribly ignorant of the people, culture and politics that drive the Arab world, a reality as significant as the tyranny of Saddam Hussein in contributing to our involvement in the present war in the Gulf. Second. if the United Nations is destined to foster a lasting peace in the region after the war, it must diffuse the Palestinian issue, Institute a substantial, -permanent peacekeeping force in - the area and somehow put a stop to the unchecked trade in weapons of mass destruction that fuels instability in the region. It's going to be a difficult, lengthy process, but It's certainly consistent with the construction of a "new world order."
Joe Garonzik, Baltimore.
Editor: I am writing this letter because of the threatened closing of the Columbia Campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf.
This school is not just for children who have only the problem of being deal. Many of the students are multi-handicapped. Along with be-ing deaf some have Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, poor eyesight and unknown causes of retardation.
Their parents work constantly and heroicly to surmount the seemingly impossible obstacles that thcir children come up against.
Their physical and emotional stress is enough to discourage almost any human being, but they carry on day-by-day, year-by-year.
Anna S. O'Neill, Catonsville
Editor: As a person who has worked with children for many years, I am appalled by the poor judgment that has been used in the recent media coverage of the Persian Gulf war. I am well aware that children cannot be sheltered from the many confusing messages they receive in the world: however, I find it horrifying that the media would show pilots cheering and congratu-lating one another after having killed human beings.
This is a side of war I do not believe our children need to witness. While war may be necessary, it.is not glorious, nor is it anything to cheer about. Let us hope that our very sophisticated media can use better judgment in the future.
Margaret Gold, Columbia.
Gun Control Laws Won't Reduce Crime
Editor: Your gun-related editorials of Jan. 27 really go beyond the pale of reasonableness, It is astonishing to me that a paper of your stature would print such nonsense. Your facts are wrong, your conclusions are wrong, and your recommendations make no sense.
The Supreme Court gave no indication as to what its reasons were for not hearing the case involving the 'machine gun" ban. Waiting periods such as that contained in the Brady bill have shown no effect reducing crime rates.
Our peevish governor is well-known for his petty and vindictive actions against those who have the gall to disagree with him or worse take some action against him and his regime.
Fred Grtisser's grass-roots cam-paign found a chink in the gover-nor's political armor and showed that William Donald Schaefer was not omnipotent. Had the Republicans put up a candidate of stature our governor might now be looking for another line of work.
Also, you very cleverly avoided saying exactly how many of these evil assault weapons were actually used in crimes in Maryland. Your ratio analysis makes it sound as though every criminal in Baltimore City walks around with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder.
Another public entity and water carrier for anti-gun forces, Lt. Coi. Leonard Suplnski of the Baltimore County Police, is quoted as saying that "We're [presumably he means police bureaucrats] tired of passing out flags to the widows of officers killed by drug dealers with Uzis."
The clear implication here Is that hundreds of police officers have been murdered with Uzis. The facts, according to the Department of Justice, are that only one officer has been killed by an Uzi - in Puerto Rico in 1981. Perhaps Colonel Suplnski has been watching "Miami Vice" re-runs.
The prime duty of a journalist is to find out and communicate the facts - not to perpetuate lies and half-truths told by Sarah Brady and her hand-maidens.
It is absurd to think that the crime problem can be solved by further restricting the gun-owning rights of honest citizens. Does The Sun want to turn Maryland intd Lithuania-by-the-bay, or a suburb of Washington, D.C.?
It is illegal to use a firearm in the commission of a crime. It is illegal to carry a gun without a permit. Murder by fire is a crime.
Taking away the rights of honest citizens violates the Constitution and shows that our government officials are unable to deal with the basic problems that they were elected to solve.
Richard Lyons, Oliver Beach.