Aversion to War
Editor: Some citizens of our great country feel compelled to publicly demonstrate their aversion to our involvement in the gulf war. I would like to offer them a suggestion.
At the beginning of each demonstration, they should take a moment to openly or quietly give thanks that they live in the U.S. where they are free to express their dissatisfaction with American policies, because, as we all know, if they lived in any of the countries they are so vocally giving satisfaction to, they would be taken out and summarily shot.
Same Old Theory
Editor: This concerns a letter you published Jan. 16 praising the members of the Linowes commission for their time and effort doing a study on the reconstruction of our state tax laws. Unfortunately, like all of the studies done in the past, they advance the same old theory. If you have a problem throw money at it.
Somehow they arrived at the conclusion that taxes could be lowered on the poor and raised on the middle and upper-income citizens. Since the affluent moved out of Baltimore City to get tax relief, is it not possible to believe they would also leave the state? The only thought I saw in the report I could agree with is that the people want accountability. As we just saw with the State Games Foundation, the money is thrown around like confetti.
Billions of dollars spent every year on an educational system that is a national disgrace. Hundreds of millions more poured out on a highway system that is little more than a network of potholes, crumbled concrete and asphalt patches. A bloated bureaucracy of thousands of featherbedding employees working little more than a four-day week. I say no to a tax increase at this time. The governor called on our elected officials to be bold. I do, too. Instead of business as usual, give us honesty, efficiency and accountability. What a bold move that would be.
William F. Schaefer.
Rifles Don't Cause Crime
Editor: I am responding to your Jan. 27 editorial and the letter from John A. Micklos.
According to the 1989 Uniform Crime Report published by the Maryland State Police, there is no basis for your claim that assault rifles are used in crime at a rate "nearly double the ratio to other guns used in crimes compared with five years ago." In fact the Maryland UCR contains no specific reference to assault rifles and lists firearms only by the generic types.
After handguns, knives are the weapons most often used to commit murder, followed by "all others," personal (beating, choking etc.), blunt objects, shotguns and finally rifles.
Based upon the data contained in this report it is quite obvious that rifles are the least often used weapons. When one considers that the so-called "assault rifles" are only a sub-category of the generic term "rifle," one is forced to conclude that either you have not taken the time to read this large and expensive report or the actual facts are of no importance to you.
Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this legislation is that it will impact only those citizens who are not criminals.
Most criminals are repeat offenders. As existing laws prohibit such persons from owning a firearm, criminals cannot be required to obtain a permit for a firearm currently in their possession nor will they attempt to legally purchase a firearm, for such an act is a violation of existing laws and any attempt to comply would be self-incriminating and a violation of rights under the Fifth Amendment.
Historically, the American people will not comply with a law they consider wrong or unfair. Prohibition is one classic example. Another, more recent and pertinent, is the "assault rifle" registration law in California. The time period for registration has expired but only 5,150 of an estimated 300,000 firearms have been registered.
The root cause of the crime problem is the lack of a solid, basic family unit. This, coupled with lack of education, results in a continuing cycle of poverty, single parents and children with little self-esteem, no respect for themselves or anyone else and the belief that violence is the way to solve their problems.
This situation is reinforced by movies and television shows that glorify violence. Our inadequate criminal justice system promotes plea bargains, concurrent sentences and early paroles, which make it quite clear that in most cases a person has little to fear when violating the law.
If we really wish to solve the problem, we might try using lottery revenues to fund education and the criminal justice system. We don't need a new stadium as much as we need to improve the quality of our schools, teachers and the criminal justice system.
To parole an uneducated, unemployed person and expect that person to reform and lead a decent productive life is ludicrous. A cost-effective first step would be to require the GED as a precondition to parole and legitimate employment to remain on parole.
Gun control laws have never solved the problem because they do not impact the criminal element any more than anti-drug laws impact the supply of illegal drugs.
The only thing Gov. William Donald Schaefer will accomplish with additional gun control laws is to divert much need resources to harassing law-abiding citizens while the violent criminals laugh at society and its laws.
John H. Josselyn.
Save Forest, Not Just Spikerush
Editor: The state saved a Robbins spikerush, a rare aquatic plant protected under Maryland law, when the proposed site of a $5.4 million waterfowl art museum in Shumaker's Pond, Salisbury, was found to sustain this plant.
After a short discussion, the legislature decided to spend an extra $70,000 to have the site moved 80 feet away, thus saving the plant, but destroying 1.5 acres of pine forest.
I think that the state's new proposal is a very noble but also very crude one. Not only is it a waste of money, but it is also a terrible loss of our already dwindling forest land.
The state should find a new site for this museum. This could be done simply by adding on to any other museum, or by moving it to the heart of Salisbury.
This would save the forest and the Robbins spikerush, and at the same time bring more people in to see the exhibits.
Isn't it ironic that the state would want to give us a waterfowl museum that will eventually destroy the habitat that such birds would call home?
Editor: What really boggles my mind -- and your editorial Feb. 3 did not address the real problem -- is why our government feels compelled to spend $5.4 million to build the wildfowl art museum at all.
I work too hard for my income and am truly feeling abused when our government literally blows away our tax money. Aren't there better things to do with it?
Let's stop looking for new ways to blow the money and take care of our fiscal responsibilities. Building unneeded facilities is not
Editor: There has been a flock of robins in my front yard for a week or so. I don't know whether the changing airline schedules have mixed them up or if they are seeking freedom from terrorist attacks, but there they are.
In the same tree I have seen what from my bird book could only be a Jamaican woodpecker, so I don't know whether to get my glasses changed or see a psychiatrist.
Oh yes, a month or so ago there were two wedges of geese flying north. Just sign me "Confused."
Editor: Isn't it interesting that members of Congress who are ** the most vocal in demanding more jobs are the very ones who vote against business?
Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski registered the lowest voting records on business issues of any state's two senators during their combined years of service, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Maryland Business for Responsible Government survey shows that Rep. Kweisi Mfume voted for business only 18 percent of the time, Rep. Ben Cardin 26 percent, Rep. Tom McMillan 33 percent and Rep. Steny Hoyer only 24 percent.
They should be called upon to square their anti-business voting records with their TV sound bites.
Harry R. Shriver.