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Comparing CarsEditor: I read with amusement the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Comparing Cars

Editor: I read with amusement the Feb. 11 article about John Jacobs receiving an "apology" from a Detroit assembly worker for a defect that caused brake failure in his two-month-old Buick LeSabre.

I wonder if the General Motors assembler would have called had the brake defect caused an accident where Mr. Jacobs would have been killed.

Sorry, I'll stick with my Toyota.

Harry Kozlovsky.

Baltimore.

Basis of Disbelief

Editor: Why is that Sun editors consistently label those of us who do not believe the Warren Commission as paranoid?

Your film critic, Stephen Hunter, should not wander from the entertainment section, unless he is prepared. His Feb. 12 Opinion * Commentary article, "Blind Faith," read well but scored zero in persuasion because the foundation of his argument is incorrect.

Our "church" is not built on the ability of a marksman to fire a rifle, but on the best evidence, the president's body.

The body that was taken from the Dallas authorities in violation of normal codes, placed on board Air Force One in the Dallas casket, removed from a plain shipping casket at the Bethesda Naval Hospital morgue (wrapped in a body bag and missing a brain), rendezvoused with the Dallas casket which was brought to the morgue without ceremony as the accompanying FBI agents were prevented from entering the building, removed from the Dallas casket (wrapped in sheets with a brain contained in an opened cranium) after the casket team officially carried it through the doors of the morgue, officially autopsied by an inexperienced doctor who later burned his report.

These are not mental delusions or "lies" but documented accounts from David Lifton's book, "Best Evidence."

This apparent tampering with the murder evidence is the "rock" on which we have built our culture. Ours is not a blind faith, but a spirit that cries out for truth.

Michael T. Hargadon.

Woodstock.

Little Freedom

Editor: Letter writer William Smith uses the fact that Indy car drivers wear helmets as a justification for mandating motorcyclists to wear them. There is quite a difference between riding a motorcycle on our state roads and racing a car at speeds in excess of 200 mph.

Using Mr. Smith's reasoning everyone who wants to fly over Maryland should wear a helmet, G-suit, parachute and oxygen mask. They should do this because that is what the Blue Angels wear when they fly.

To compare the everyday use of a machine to the extremes that the machines can be made to reach is not, in my opinion, an accurate way of justifying safety features.

I do agree, as I am sure anybody would, that an insect at highway speeds could put your eye out. This may be one of the reasons why you are required by law to wear eye protection while riding.

I am also sure that a rock in the mouth at 60 mph would be no fun since I have had them fly through my open car window and ricochet around the back seat. Maybe it should be made illegal to drive with your car windows open.

What's a little freedom when you are trying to protect people from themselves?

Steven P. Strohmier.

Dundalk.

Foolish Arts Funding Cut Proposal

Editor: I was intensely saddened and surprised about the Organizational Review Team's recommendation to gradually eliminate the city's funding support for arts and cultural institutions in Baltimore.

The withdrawal of funds from the museums would cause them to be unable to deliver services and to close their doors.

This would be an unparalleled disaster for the city of Baltimore.

The city would become a cultural wasteland -- and would be known as such throughout the country. Tourism would decline drastically (the attractions of Harborplace are not infinite); conventions would be uninterested in using Baltimore as meeting site; school children would be deprived of what may well be their only access to beauty that lifts the soul and encourages the mind to strive for higher goals, and senior citizens would find that a prime location for their leisure hours and continuing education no longer exists.

The city would lose far more money than it would gain. Tourist and convention dollars would go elsewhere, bringing about failures in hotel and retail business.

I moved to Baltimore seven years ago. My husband and I specifically chose to live downtown in order to take advantage of the many cultural opportunities that are available here.

We have loved living in the city. With the museums decimated, what is our incentive to remain in the city? When people like ourselves leave, the tax base of the city declines even further.

On financial grounds alone, this proposal is not merely unwise but downright foolish.

Diane B. Stillman.

Baltimore.

Ozone Awareness

Editor: Your Feb. 5 editorial supporting action now to restrict ozone-depleting chemicals and your editorial on the previous day recognizing the efforts of the Environmental Working Group to build consensus for actions to improve the Baltimore region's environment are commendable.

It is important, however, that your readers understand the difference between "good" and "bad" ozone. The ozone found in the upper atmosphere protects us from the sun's harmful rays, which can cause skin cancer. This beneficial ozone is being depleted by chemicals produced for human uses, such as refrigeration. Harmful ozone, which you mention in the Feb. 4 editorial, is produced at ground level by chemical reactions to emissions from automobiles and other human activities and can cause respiratory problems in people and damage to crops and forests.

Solving complex environmental problems like these eventually comes down to you and me and how we live. The choices are ours.

Marsha D. Ramsay.

Baltimore.

TC The writer chairs the Johns Hopkins Environmental Working Group's Ozone Committee.

Timely Issue

Editor: Your editorial, "Health Care's Many Costs," which criticizes President Bush's "timid exploratory moves," is on target.

Yes, this is a timely national issue. Too many millions of families are discovering that there is no safety net if they have a major or chronic illness.

Too many businesses are forced to hire and retain employees defensively, i.e. only the young and the healthy. It is and will continue to impact our entire nation's growth and financial survival as well as threaten each citizen's dignity and productivity until we make certain that everyone has adequate health care as a birthright.

Preventive and maintenance medicine is good business and good government. We can't afford to support damaged children and adults for the rest of their lives simply because we were too greedy and short-sighted to prevent the injuries or ameliorate the chronic illnesses.

I disagree with your assertion, however, of the rightness of focus on market forces and the private sector. That leads to expanding sales, i.e. spending more money and making more profits. There must be a legally mandated compromise between federal and state governments, pooled insurance providers and all health care providers and pharmaceutical companies.

Simply because we have usually operated our executive bureaucracies with either insufficient voting control of those most directly affected or have given away the store to a particular interest group doesn't mean that we are incapable of setting up commissions at state level with a balanced membership of all interests to regularly set fees, price increases, etc.

Without this, I believe that the costs will continue to grow. The ill and not-so-rich continue to suffer.

Patricia M. Williams.

Baltimore.

Sad Saga of the United States

Editor: Thank you for your coverage of the latest events in the unfolding saga of the S.S. United States.

I am deeply disturbed to think that this ship could come to the same end as so many other great ocean liners. Despite its present condition, this vessel is of tremendous historic importance, no less than any number of other significant buildings or sites.

Our citizenry would rightfully be up in arms if even the suggestion were made that, say, the Statue of Liberty or the Liberty Bell be sold to a foreign government to be cut up into scrap and recycled into consumer products, which might very well find their way back into this country as imported goods.

Clearly, the ship is not suitable for conversion into a cruise liner -- even if one believes such a fate is a dignified alternative for her. But great monuments are protected and maintained by our government so that future generations can remember and build upon our nation's great accomplishments of the past.

I wholehearted support Rep. Helen Delich Bentley's efforts to preserve the United States.

James R. Moody.

Baltimore.

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