Blacks and Jews
Editor: I am pained and appalled by the tragic deaths in Brooklyn and the subsequent obstreperous and violent clashes between groups of blacks and Jews. It is most heartening that Mayor David Dinkins has moved with alacrity, directness and power to end the confrontations between blacks and Hasidic Jews and urged black and Jewish leaders and lay persons to restore calm, respect and community pride and unity.
It, too, is equally disquieting and a source of dismay, given the historic and long-standing bonds of amity and unity which have historically existed in this nation between blacks and Jews in our common struggle for social justice, human dignity and equality of opportunity for all, to observe the present fractious and divisive conflict in Brooklyn.
I am confident that common sense and rationality will prevail in Brooklyn and the tensions and hostilities of long-standing will abate and pass over. It is, I believe, an ethical-moral imperative that blacks and Jews work together, not only in Brooklyn, but throughout our nation for a more caring, just and equal body politic.
Samuel L. Banks.
Editor: It appears that the Soviet "junta" has set a new record in underthrowing a government.
Thomas J. O'Donnell.
Up Too Late
Editor: I have been following your coverage of the deaths of Tiffany Smith and Shanika Day and I still haven't found any indication that anyone is questioning the advisability of children being out on the streets at 10:30 or 11 p.m. or later.
Tiffany was six years old, and was running up and down the street at 10:30 p.m. Perhaps the possibility of dying in the crossfire is no different at 11 at night than it is at 11 in the morning, but I still don't think a good enough reason for very
young children to be out at that hour.
Why do parents allow their kids to be up late at night, when they should be home and asleep? Maybe this is just the way things are done. Maybe you have a lot of very young parents who, rather than miss out on the fun of their youth by staying home in the evening with their children, are instead just bringing them along for the ride.
I suppose, in a sort of flawed way, it may seem more responsible to bring them along out into the streets than to leave them home alone. But that presumes that those are the only choices.
It is encouraging to see community members getting together to try to solve the crime problem and to keep the drug dealers
away. Keeping the focus on those issues, however, obscures the very real danger in assuming that drugs and crime are the only reason Tiffany and Shanika died.
It would be interesting to know just how late these kids are out night after night. What happens during the day? Do they sleep until noon? Why aren't parents and community leaders asking if it is in the best interests of children to be out on the streets till all hours of the night?
You can be sick and tired and angry abut crime and drug dealing, but I am sick and tired and angry that children are dying when they should be asleep in their beds, being protected for one more night from the danger that increases after dark.
A. G. Schoonmaker.
Editor: I would like to add a few facts to the debate over whether adult motorcyclists should be required by law to wear motor cycle helmets.
* "The automobile is at fault in more than 70 percent of all car-motorcycle conflicts."-- Second International Congress on Automotive Safety.
* When applying the laws of inertia, the weight of an object becomes awesome. A 4-pound helmet at 50 mph becomes 200 pounds upon impact.
* The National Transportation Safety Administration admits that motorcycle accidents make up only one-tenth of one percent of all medical expenses.
* From a 1988 American Motorcyclists Association Report: The national average of fatalities per 100 motorcycle accidents is 2.95. However, states with rider education and no helmet laws show the lowest average of only 2.56 deaths, while states with helmet laws but no training, have a significantly higher rate of 3.09.
The answer to an improvement in motorcycle safety is education, training and public awareness programs, not unnecessary legislation of unproved safety equipment.
A helmet will not teach anyone how to avoid an accident. The Maryland motorcycle safety training program very well could. Let those who ride, decide.
Editor: The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerc applauds the position taken by The Sun in its Aug. 23 editorial on the proposed congressional redistricting of Baltimore County. We wholeheartedly agree with your conclusions, especially that this proposal is "an anti-people plan" that "engages in blatant gerrymandering."
Under this misguided proposal, the state's fourth largest jurisdiction, Baltimore County, would no longer have a congressional representative who espouses the interests of most of the county's residents.
This would be accomplished by splitting up long-standing communities and joining them with new areas having totally different political interests. The proposal suggests an inexplicable mix for the new districts.
The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce is calling upon its 3,000 member firm representatives to express their strong disapproval of this unreasonable effort to diminish the county's effectiveness.
We make the same request of all citizens who do not want to see Baltimore County representation split into dozens of conflicting interests.
(Charles E. "Ted" Herget Jr.
The writer is chairman of the board of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
____________ Editor: I have just read with dismay what is && being touted as a congressional redistricting plan developed by a so-called bi-partisan committee of five for submission to our governor. I say so-called bi-partisan, because of the five, only one is a Republican, and he led a "Republicans for Schaefer" committee during the last election.
I attended one of the "open" public hearings, and with one exception all who testified asked that the First Congressional District remain close to its current makeup.
The one exception, a former state delegate, suggested that the district be made more manageable by dropping off Southern Maryland and adding Anne Arundel County. Subsequent news accounts of other meetings continued the vein; that is, almost every speaker, Republican or Democrat, citizen or office holder asked that the boundaries remain as close as possible to the current arrangements or that if changed they be changed to reflect an improvement in the ability of a congressman to represent his or her district.
The Sixth Congressional District, which once comprised the five Western Maryland counties, now stretches almost to Delaware. The First Congressional District now snakes down deep into Baltimore County. Yes, there sure is a lot in common between the folks in Salisbury and Middle River. Speaking of Baltimore County, who thinks it's just dandy that it be divided into five different districts?
Perhaps the most amazing bit of ignoring the citizens interest for reasonable representation is the Fifth District. The "safe" district that's been created to protect Steny Hoyer, the man with a 95 percent approval rating from the ACLU. This "safe" district now slithers from Southern Maryland all the way up to Howard County.
Is it any small wonder that new registrations are running 4 to 1 or more in favor of the Republican Party in most parts of the state? This heavy-handed abuse of power by the good ol' boys of the power elite is so blatant that even some elected Democrats find it disgusting.