Time To Invest
In the midst of the thugs who looted, robbed, maimed and killed during the rioting in Los Angeles stood a core group of disappointed, disillusioned, hopeless, ignored people. The time has come to sincerely attempt to turn hopelessness into hopefulness.
Former Rep. Parren Mitchell years ago proposed a type of economic food bank where contributions would be made to help those who want to help themselves, e.g., business persons and students, who would receive interest-free loans payable either in time or money.
We need people to contribute time and money, regardless of the amount, to help our brothers and sisters. Nothing returned, nothing gained.
The Real Crime
It is regrettable that the self-confessed "cynic," William Hughes, in his April 28 letter to the editor, has chosen to misdirect the emphasis from the dramatic and welcome emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.
Some of these emigres are beginning to live as Jews (for the first time) here in the United States, but many more are being absorbed in Israel in spite of enormous difficulties in that economically strapped society.
Contrary to Mr. Hughes' contention, however, these new Israelis are not making conditions worse for Arabs in the West Bank or Gaza. Few have chosen to settle there. Nor is Israel engaging in an "ongoing megacrime against humanity."
By making such an assertion against the only free and democratic nation in that area, Mr. Hughes demonstrates, at the very least, a basic misunderstanding of the area's recent history and the problems inherent in resolving a complex question of "disputed" territory.
The real "crime" is the failure of the Arab nations, even those engaged in the current negotiations, to end their state of war against Israel, a nation which is in that neighborhood to stay.
William H. Engleman
The writer is president of the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Learning from the Children
The irony of it was painful. On the stage were children, ages five through ten. All races were there, including my son, who is half Japanese. There were African American kids, Korean, a child who was born in Lebanon. White and Hispanic American.
They were performing at the Mt. Washington Elementary Welcoming Day for incoming kindergarten students and their parents.
The choir sang and the children from the current kindergarten class put on a skit about "Community Helpers" (police, fire-fighters, doctors, etc.).
And then they all joined in to sing about "being me . . . You be you and I'll be me." They sang about the people in the world being a rainbow and how beautiful that rainbow was.
While they were singing, the people of L.A., and other cities in America, had each other by the throat. The blue light of Rodney King's terrible night in the world's spotlight still played in the minds of all of us there watching those kids. Terrible questions crawled around my mind. What have we done to the world? Where does all the hate come from?
What is the legacy I am preparing for my children? Will we ever heal the festering sores that make life so painful for so many? My heart broke seeing all the innocence on that stage.
The collective futures of those innocents are being savaged by the lack of commitment and vision on the part of the leaders of this country. We need help, not more prisons. We need inspiration, not directions to the bunkers.
Help the schools. Help the poor. Inspire us to be better humans. Help us to live together by not encouraging us to think that we are each other's problems. End politics of race. Convince the people of this country that we are all, in fact, equal citizens before the law. Help to provide the chance for a decent life and work that is meaningful and ennobling.
PD Lead us away from the terrible darkness that haunts our streets.
The recent disturbing events in Los Angeles have brought to light an issue which is widely felt though neglected and unseen.
The verdict in the Rodney King trial was felt by many, including myself, to be a complete travesty of justice. The ensuing riots and looting in the name of "protest" caused more damage to the African American cause than anything in recent history.
To hear black leaders advocating that the riots were somehow justified by the verdict while the nation witnessed a white man being pulled from his truck and critically beaten is totally appalling.
The issue of double standards again starts to arise in the eyes of many whites. For an example, if whites had done the same to a black man in Los Angeles, or a movie titled "Black Men Can't Swim" were released, the black community would be up in arms.
By no means do I wish to have this letter misconstrued as hate. The tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads and Nazis abhor me as much as anything I've seen in the past couple of days.
The feeling of many whites is that the chants of "equality" are being used to favor one race at the expense of stripping rights from another, i.e. hiring quotas, political favoritism and excessive, uncalled-for cries of racism.
However flawed our judicial system is, it is the only one we have, and it remains the best one in the world in protecting the accused's rights, black or white. We as a people and a nation have to realize that these problems can only be dealt with through understanding and negotiation, not through confrontation and bloodshed.
Wake up America, both black and white, before the chasm of racial misunderstanding becomes too wide to bridge. If not, then
we all lose.
Distorted 'Porn and Violence'
R. M. Anson's letter, "Porn and Violence," May 3, was both distorting and confusing. First of all, Ted Bundy never said, "Porn made me kill" or, "It's not my fault."
Bundy granted his last interview to psychologist and author James Dobson, rather than to the national media, because he did not want his message to be editorialized or watered down in any way.
In his message during the videotaped interview before his execution, he assumed full responsibility and blame for the horrible crimes which he committed.
But whenever a serial killer or mass murderer is spotlighted in the media, many people also want to know what kind of influences in his/her background may have led to this kind of behavior.
So, during the interview, Bundy described his experience of moving gradually from "soft porn" as a young teen to more violent pornography and the desensitizing process which led him down the path of violence toward women.
R. M. Anson also confuses the sale of pornography with the availability of pornography to children. Until a recent crackdown by the FCC, the Dial-a-Porn industry capitalized on children's ability to use the telephone. Most cable companies carry the Playboy Channel, and if parents subscribe you can bet there are children who have access. Ted Bundy was a young teen when he got his first porn magazine from a garbage pail.
R. M. Anson also states that we learn our values from home. However, pornography, as many will testify, often becomes addictive no matter what values were taught in the home.
We tell children and adults to stay away from addictive substances -- drugs, alcohol, tobacco. Why is porn different? Because it's "free speech"?
Freedom without limits is not democracy. It's anarchy. Now our society is demanding freedom without any responsibility attached to it. And so often women and children are the victims of this anarchy.
Some recent crime statistics show rape to be the fastest growing violent crime in the U.S. Given all of the police reports indicating a strong link between the use of porn and the commission of violent sex crimes, it's time for the victims' families to protest this form of so-called "free speech" and to demand that anti-obscenity laws be strictly enforced.
The proliferation of handguns is one big reason for the terrible death toll in the Los Angeles riots.
We have always had too many handguns in this country. The riots of the late 1960s had high death tolls but the carnage this year in Los Angeles is much worse because of the awful increase in the number of guns in the last two decades.
There were bad riots in Britain a few years ago but very few people died there. Great Britain does not have a large number of handguns in private hands; therefore riots there are not so deadly as in our country.
Matthew C. Fenton IV