Editor: With an Opinion * Commentary article and an editorial, you have collaborated again in distracting the attention from the non-debate over firearms.
Once you have succeeded in disarming honest citizens, we will all be consummately easy victims of the hustlers and lurkers who are the product of our sick society and schooled by generations of murder-on-television Hollywood teachers.
Could you be honest enough to ask the public this question: What is it that causes the illegal violent behavior of inner-city persons shooting each other when out in the suburbs and rural areas, where there are more firearms, this phenomenon is almost non-existent?
When you find the answer to this question (hint: drugs, hopelessness, greed, television), then the truly minuscule number of individuals who have their despicable acts glorified by a desperate press will be seen for what they are.
Dennis J. LaBare.
Gains and Losses
Editor: Whenever the subject of reduction in the rate of tax on long-term capital gains comes up, the cry is raised "that's just to benefit the rich." This is echoed by politicians and press alike.
Nonsense. Whatever the benefit to the rich, it's relatively unimportant. The compelling need for a lower rate of tax on such gains is to stimulate savings and venture capital, both highly essential to national growth and increased employment.
Savings invested in capital goods and industry originate from three sources. Surplus earned income beyond cost of living has already been taxed as such. If derived from extra investment income, that too has been taxed. Even inherited wealth is passed to legatees only after federal estate and state inheritance taxes have been paid. Thus these sources of venture capital have already been taxed at income tax rates.
The entrepreneur is financed by venture capital, which creates jobs and increased production. The percentage of failure in these undertakings is high. But when a new business is successful, firmly established and goes public, the entrepreneur withdraws his capital at probably considerable profit and again employs his funds in creating new enterprise of great advantage to the national economy.
That is the nature of revolving venture capital. Should the entrepreneur be taxed on his gains at ordinary income tax rates? I say no.
On recent telecasts, the president of the American Stock Exchange and two analysts with prominent New York investment firms emphasized the urgency of congressional action to lower tax rates on long-term capital gains.
If lower taxes lead to increased sales of assets by the rich -- adding at least temporarily to the amount of revenue collected by IRS -- they also result in greater liquidity of the security markets, which is another desirable effect.
John Redwood Jr.
Editor: Nothing impresses man more than the sight of trees. They are the silent, best friends a man can have.
These thoughs went through my mind the other day as I watched in Annapolis Gov. William Donald Schaefer sign Maryland's first statewide tree protection bill. It was a gratifying moment for me and, I know, for him, too.
Governor Schaefer has been tireless in his promotion of this bill. He deserves the credit. Future generations of our highly urbanized state will now be assured of the environmental benefits coming to them from this important legislation.
Wolodymyr C. Sushko.
Editor: In the April 21 Sunday Sun, you published an editorial critical of a recent Supreme Court decision limiting the ability of state prisoners to apply more than once to federal court for habeas corpus relief. In the course of the editorial, you made the comment: "What of the defendant whose first [state] appeal was handled by an incompetent or unethical lawyer? This is often the case where defendants are poor."
I cannot speak to the quality of appellate representation in other states, but as a member of the Court of Special Appeals for nearly 14 years, I have observed closely the representation afforded to indigent appellants in Maryland, and I find no basis whatever for your conclusion.
The appellate division of the Public Defender's Office appears as counsel in 90 percent or more of the criminal appeals in the state. That unit is staffed by a corps of very bright, energetic and resourceful lawyers, well-grounded in the law of crimes and criminal procedure. The quality of their advocacy is every bit as good as that of privately-retained counsel. I do not recall a single example of an "incompetent or unethical" lawyer appearing from that office.
Whatever may be the merits of the Supreme Court decision you criticize, I think that your broad statement, at least to the extent you believed it applicable in Maryland, is inaccurate and unfair.
lan M. Wilner.
Explore the Shore
Editor: I am sure the commissioners of Queen Anne's County will be happy to learn that the Kent Narrows Bridge is now in Kent County, according to your long-time political writer Barry Rascovar, and they will not have to fund the $75,000 yearly maintenance cost.
Too bad, but such is not the case. The Kent Narrows has been a part of Queen Anne's since 1706. History does tell us that Queen Anne's and Talbot counties did agree to fund one of the first bridges across the narrows, but never Kent County.
I suppose we readers on the Eastern Shore, "The Land of Pleasant Living" (even if our governor does not think so), should be getting used to having the state's largest daily newspaper mis-identify locations on the shore. During the many years I was editor of the Queen Anne's Record-Observer, I contacted The Sun editors several times over continually placing Kent Island in Kent County; and reporting that Grasonville and the many oyster-packing houses on the east side of Kent Narrows were on Kent Island. In fact, it took a lengthy letter-writing and editorial campaign from me to get The Sun to begin using an apostrophe as the proper spelling for Queen Anne's County in its news columns.
Hopefully, the governor's "Reach the Beach" program will be replaced with a more helpful "Explore the Shore" program; and quite possibly The Sun will do some exploring to see where we live instead of heading straight for the beach each summer's weekend.
C'mon down and slow down and smell the honeysuckle of our Eastern Shore.
Dan M. Tabler.
Pet Lovers' Negative Energy
Editor: I was very troubled by Michael Olesker's column concerning the financial problems incurred by Barry Blumenstock for being a "Good Samaritan."
Mr. Olesker seems to find it very easy to point the blame in this case at the Falls Road Animal Hospital. I think that he is misguided.
I have been involved with the people at Falls Road for nearly three years and I am impressed by the services they provide for pet owners and animal lovers throughout the state.
The Hammonds have pioneered animal shock-trauma services in the area and opened the first 24-hour animal hospital in Maryland. For this they deserve to be applauded.
Unfortunately, as Mr. Olesker has observed, it is costly to help injured animals. Every year, animal hospitals lose tens of thousands of dollars on clients who don't pay their bills. To
protect themselves, many hospitals require people to sign drop-off forms in which they agree to assume financial responsibility for the animals they leave.
This is the way things operate at Falls Road. Mr. Blumenstock signed an agreement that he would assume responsibility for the dog which he brought in. Given this fact, it is only fair of the people at Falls Road to have begun collection procedures, when he refused to pay.
I have been in contact with the people at Falls Road. They say that the phone has been ringing off the hook with people calling to complain about the Hammonds. The callers have been angered, rude and at times obscene. Rarerly has a phone call expressed support or offers to help assume some of Mr. Blumenstock's financial debt to the hospital. Such phone calls have come in and the veterinary services for Jock have been paid for, letting Mr. Blumenstock off the hook.
It is hard for me to understand why some people use their energy so negatively. These people, Mr. Olesker among them, ** find it much easier to slam the people at Falls Road than to try to help establish services which would allow pets to be treated when there is no one willing to take responsibility for them.