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Guns are an affront to a civil...


Guns are an affront to a civil society

As members of a civilized society approaching the 21st century, we have the right to ask our fellow citizens who want guns to demonstrate an overriding need before allowing them to acquire weapons that daily terrorize, maim and kill. Each year tens of thousands of Americans are killed by handguns, many of them our children. According to the Department of Justice, handguns are used in the commission of more than 600,000 crimes annually. Medical care for the wounded alone costs our society more than $1 billion a year.

No one has a constitutional right to keep a Uzi machine gun or a Saturday Night Special. Why shouldn't guns be controlled? They are more deadly than drugs.

Buyers say they want guns for hunting, target practice and self-defense. The reasons they don't list are murder, rape, robbery, assault and suicide. Legitimate self-defense sounds reasonable, with an appropriate weapon, although statistical evidence suggests that it's usually a loved one who ends up shot. The need for target practice could be satisfied by a licensed establishment that controls the guns and ammunition. And hunting with assault weapons, grenade launchers, cheap pistols, hollow-point bullets and most of the guns sold today is absurd.

Finally, there are already some 60 million handguns and assault weapons in the hands of ordinary individuals. Why do we need more?

Roger C. Kostmayer


Unfair to owners

In response to Douglas M. Behr's letter, "Stop the sprawl" (Forum, March 15), Behr notes that the Baltimore County master plan calls for protection of rural areas.

That might sound nice to people who don't own the land in question, but it clearly represents a form of discrimination against landowners for the benefit of non-landowners.

If the state wants mini-parks, let the state pay us for our land. It's not free!

J. Douglas Parran

St. Leonard

Not our friends

What right do the Palestinians have to demand an independent state ' or anything else ' after their disgraceful support of Saddam Hussein and his slaughter of Kuwait?

Every day for weeks, TV reports showed Palestinians in Amman marching on the U.S. embassy and burning our flag ' at the same time America's sons and daughters were losing their lives in Iraq. Palestinians literally cheered the Scud attacks on Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv and called for more.

The Palestinians showed their true colors when they chose a ruthless dictator as their hero. They deserve no reward for acting as our enemies when we needed their support.

Jeffrey P. Jarosz



The "outhouse" governor, William Donald Schaefer, may have had to phone his Eastern Shore constituents back home for some "how-to" tips once he discovered that most of the indoor toilet facilities in Kuwait were destroyed during the war.

Reginald Toran


Grow up, governor

Gov. Schaefer should step down from his position in Annapolis. Any governor who writes obnoxious letters or seeks out his critics ' Maryland residents ' in person should not be governor of this or any other state. I applaud Cornelius Hourihan for standing up to this man. Unfortunately, all Marylanders are stuck until 1994. Mr. Schaefer, please grow up.

Vincent J. Sizemore


Peter Principle?

As a longtime Schaefer watcher, I am puzzled by a lot of news our governor has been making of late. For example:

In the four-plus years of the Schaefer administration, the state payroll has added 6,000 workers. In December, he said he was going to lay off 1,800 workers. If he can afford to drop 1,800 of the 6,000 who have come on board since he took office, how necessary are they? How necessary are the other 4,200? Why were they hired in the first place?

Then he announced cuts in welfare payments and blamed it on the General Assembly because it refused to raise taxes on working people who are already having trouble making ends meet, to an extent because of Maryland's already unusually high taxes. As any chief executive officer knows, one does not undertake such a move unilaterally ' that is, without checking with the board of directors (in this case, the General Assembly). Did he really think he could get away with this kind of independent action?

On March 14 I read that his popularity has slipped over the past six weeks from a 68 percent rating to a new low of less than 35 percent. Has the Peter Principle ' a person rises to the level of his/her incompetence ' finally taken hold? To what is our governor's increasingly bizarre behavior attributable? Have the pressures of office caused him to strip a gear in his mental transmission?

Should he realize that Marylanders are tired of his confiscatory tax policies and wild spending? Should he do the honorable thing and step down? Have Marylanders finally realized what they got when they elected William Donald.

Charles A. Frainie


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