LibrariansEditor: What's this about closing the School...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Librarians

Editor: What's this about closing the School of Library and Information Science of the University of Maryland? How shortsighted can administrators be?

Who know how to organize, store and make available information? Who know the technique and art of "putting knowledge to work"? Librarians who have learned in accredited library schools the intricacies of information organization, the many ways of disseminating and exchanging information and the skills needed to get the right information to the right person at the right time.

Close instead the School of Education and guide people who want to teach to a program that will make them well-grounded in liberal arts and the subject they wish to teach.

Knowledge is snow-balling and we need people who can handle it.

Ruth P. Bristol.

Cockeysville.

Brady Bill

Editor: Your support for the Brady bill (so named in the effort to exploit the tragedy suffered by Jim Brady) conveniently overlooks that the Brady bill would not have prevented the tragedy after which it is named, because John Hinckley, reportedly, procured his handgun some months earlier.

The Brady bill conveniently overlooks that it inconveniences only the ordinary citizen, while doing essentially nothing to inhibit the procurement of a handgun by a criminal -- who should know better than to attempt to purchase a weapon from a dealer.

Maryland has had a law for 20 years that is virtually identical to the Brady bill. If the process works -- if requiring application in advance and verification by the police that the applicant has no criminal record, keeps handguns out of the hands of criminals -- why do we never hear statistics relating to how many applications have been turned down? Why do we never hear how many criminals have been apprehended as a result of having completed applications (on which the address of the applicant is required)?

If you are really interested in reducing crime, it is suggested that we punish the criminal. And let the would-be criminal know that he or she will be punished, too. Then do it! And quit hoodwinking the public with laws that allegedly will reduce crime, but, in fact, only provide gratification for those in our society who have a hatred of firearms.

James A. Runser.

Westminster.

Setting the Record Straight

Editor: The enthusiasm of having one of our own officially held up for admiration was marred somewhat by a few inaccuracies.

I refer to the public announcement that the life and works of Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange are to be scrutinized for sainthood.

May I point out that she was born in San Dominique, now Haiti.

She did flee first to Cuba before coming to Baltimore, but she was born on the Isle of Hispaniola.

Second, she died in 1882, not the date reported.

Third, it does not cost $1 million to promote the cause of God's servants, as has been reported.

Sainthood cannot be bought.

Sister Virginie Fish.

Baltimore.

The writer is the Oblate Sisters of Providence liaison to the Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange Guild.

Bleak Future

Editor: I am outraged after reading about Pedro Lugo, a young man in Southeast Baltimore who was so severely beaten in his head that he may be brain damaged, while teen-agers charged with the crime were initially released to the custody of their parents.

The callousness of youths perpetrating this crime, coupled with the further information that a crowd of students was urging the violent actions to continue, bodes for a scary and bleak future.

My deepest regrets to Pedro's family, whose hopes and dreams have been crushed by very disturbed young men.

Josie Newhouse.

Randallstown.

Middy Stripes

Editor: I was charmed by Augusta Tucker's reminiscence, "The Flying Lesson" (Opinion * Commentary, May 20).

However, in the nit-picking spirit that characterizes readers of the editorial page, I think the author is mistaken about the three stripes on her "middy blouse" standing for the battles of Abukir Bay, the Nile and Trafalgar. Abukir (or Aboukir) Bay and the Nile were one and the same battle.

My guess is that the other stripe represented either the Battle of St. Vincent, in which then-Commodore Horatio Nelson played the most decisive role, or the Battle of Copenhagen, which is generally counted as the second of his three great victories.

alph Hitchens.

Poolesville.

'Get Off Our Knees to Fight Back'

Editor: If you can't beat them, join them. That was, in effect, the conclusion you reached in your May 12 editorial, "Exploding Democrats." If Democrats can't beat Republicans in presidential elections, then we should become like Republicans. If we can't win votes with our message, then we should abandon the people we've always spoken for, and adopt Republican methods to win elections.

I say you're wrong, on all counts. Pulling the nose of a donkey to make it look like an elephant's trunk will likely yield you something that looks more like Pinocchio. If we Democrats abandon our values and try to "out-hawk," "out-Willie Horton" and "out-big business" the Republicans, we allow them to set the terms of the debate. When given the choice between an imitator and the real thing, the American people will choose the real thing.

Republicans have won five of the last six elections, but not, as you say, because it has "been attracting many traditional Democrats to its candidates and platforms." Instead, it has fed on American fears with scare tactics and fed on American patriotism with the flag, cloaking the issues behind terse but hollow rhetoric.

As if Willie Horton and Watergate weren't enough, now we're being told that the Republicans may have conspired with Iran in 1980 to keep the hostages until after the election. With Republican victory in hand, the hostages were released and the arms flowed. Even the thought of such an arrangement turns the stomach.

I think the American people are hungry for a change. In the summer of 1988, after eight years of Republican leadership, after both party conventions had ended, Mike Dukakis had a 17-point lead over George Bush. That lead wasn't because the American people necessarily liked Dukakis or disliked Bush. The campaign hadn't even started. I believe it was because people were fed up with Republican policies that had mortgaged the future of our kids and grandkids with record deficits.

Democrats need to speak to average Americans in plain, common sense terms about the traditional values we hold dear: hard work, family, frugality, faith in God, taking responsibility for your actions, and having a care and a concern for those less fortunate than yourself. Republicans have used these values only as a method to get elected and not as a foundation for government action. I believe we Democrats must let the American people know that not only are these our values, but that these values will find expression in how we govern from the White House. If our only priority as Democrats is to "win" the White House in 1992, and we abandon these values, we're doomed to fail.

As Democrats, we need to have the courage of our convictions, the will to carry them out, and the determination to get off our knees to fight back against Republican distortions of who we are and what we stand for.

Tom Harkin.

Washington.

The writer is a U.S. senator from Iowa.

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