Editor's double standardFrom: Robert RobustoBel AirMark Guidera's...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Editor's double standard

From: Robert Robusto

Bel Air

Mark Guidera's column in the Harford County Sun of April 26 ["Deletion of play's few curse words is profane act"] was his usual lengthy editorial, this time on his opinion on freedom of speech. He referred to the "cuss" words used in a [North Harford High] school play, "Jabberwock."

Guidera wrote: "Literature, even though it may include profanity or racial slurs or sexual innuendo, is meant to help us reflect on the deeper meanings and actions of our lives." This noble statement reflects the double standard of those who are willing to expose the masses to their version of free speech, and especially if it doesn't offend them.

These same pushers of free speech and expression in most cases are ready, willing and able to stifle even those who write letters to the editor in the guise of declaring them offensive and unsuitable to a "family newspaper." Freedom of the press is only for those who own the press.

The first amendmenteers whine censorship whenever they are opposed by decent society sick of the filthy "art," "language," "music" and "movies" that they see fit to shove down our throats.

For example, a crucifix immersed in a jar of urine is hunky-dory with these hypocrites, but just try showing a photo of Martin Luther King in a jar of urine. The "art" defenders mind not at all winking at one homosexual inserting a bullwhip into the rear end of another, but just try showing a Ku Klux Klan person doing the same "art" to that homosexual. Freedom of speech/expression? Bah!

When religious groups protest against movies and television shows considered pro-homosexual, these first amendmenteers squeal censorship. But it's never called that when the "gays" protest against the movies and TV they consider anti-homosexual. What hypocrisy.

When the militant "gays" invade churches, throwing condoms into the congregation, shouting obscenities, kissing each other, shouting down the preacher or priest, it is, of course, considered freedom of speech at its finest. But let some KKK people invade a "gay" bathhouse, interrupting "lovemaking," and watch the first amendmenteers cry to high heaven. These that would give the foul-mouths the right to let it all hang out are the very same people that would silence one using the words "sodomite," "perverts," etc., in a letter to the editor. How strange these defenders of free expression are.

Guidera in his April 26 column wrote: "Plays, books, music, films and poetry do not corrupt."

If so, then why are there those who would like to see all points of views not allowed? Personally, I could offer some poems and writings that would show how hypocritical that statement really is, since, of course, those of the mind of Guidera would find that, after all, these things do corrupt.

How about some David Duke literature in the public library, for example. If any knowledgeable person cannot see how some music corrupts, it may be only because they themselves are already brain dead from it.

The editor also wrote: "Beware of the censor and their clip, clip, clip." There they go again yelping "censor" simply because (maybe) they love to hear vulgar words in a play or whatever, yet can't fathom the thought that many of us can fully appreciate the subject without the vulgarity.

The best films of all time were made in an era when not one cuss word or pulling down of someone's drawers was needed. Did that offend anyone?

Actually, why do we need obscenity, hang-out sex and these other things in entertainment anyway? Does it only express the bringing up and the disgruntled and malcontent mind of those who exclaim "misery loves company"? Someone once wrote, "A restrictive speech code used against your enemies one day can be used against your friends and even you the next. Suppression of speech [by the first amendmenteers and the censor squealers] is an admission of weakness, an insidiously deceptive defense by those who lack faith in the potency of their own good ideas and the good sense of others." How true.

A need for profanity and sex deviation in our plays, books, movies, etc., emits a message of ugliness, paranoia and certainly a disrespect for those who don't need it.

Whose freedom of speech/expression are these people defending anyway? If those of us are forced to stomach certain filth to please the warped minds of a few hypocrites, then who is really free?

Guidera says "Jabberwock" (perhaps) is meant to help us reflect on the deeper meanings and actions of lives." Sorry, but we didn't need such language to reflect meanings or actions. We were just plain civilized, kept our pants buttoned, watched our words and respected those around us. We got along without condoms in school, without Donahue, Jesse and their ilk, without music "rapping" out race-mongering, without Jimmy Cagney telling some "broad" to you-know-what. So, Mr. Editor, whenever you hawk the theme of free speech, imagine that maybe your icons, heroes and morals may be stamped on.

Opposed to facility

From: Tim Murphy

Harford Road

The proposal by the United Methodist Board of Child Care to start a facility for abused children, to be built in my neighborhood, is on its way to the court system for a decision on the legality of the plan.

What must be Harford bureau editor Mark Guidera's self-proclaimed column title, "The Observer," I hardly find suitable in light of his column on the proposal ["Shelter opponents disregard needs of abused children," April 12, Harford County Sun].

One of Webster's definitions of observer is "a representative sent to observe, but not to participate in a gathering."

I would think that means appearing at more than two of six zoning hearings, with over 500 pages of testimony, and attendance at the Appeal Board Hearing, for which you were not even present, even though the bookstore bill, another of Guidera's dialogue pieces, was also on the agenda. Of course, Guidera may have chosen not to attend because of your daily commute to Baltimore County.

I feel you have held back very little in the treatment of those opposed to this facility in our community. But Guidera took an early stand in this issue when you attacked the idea of the People's Counsel voting to give us legal representation. Wouldn't Guidera entertain that we are certainly pitching in on the fee of the Board of Child Care's attorney? After all, they are a non-taxable organization being paid by the state at a rate of $2,800 a month per child.

Guidera downs this community every chance he gets. But then again, he has nothing to lose.

Certainly his description of the "not in my backyard" syndrome comes easy for someone residing in Baltimore County, as his children, home, schools and water won't be affected by the project.

And the wording in his column, "runaways now and then" hardly describes police reports showing a total of 93 missing and runaways for one year, including missing adult reports, at another Board of Child Care-run facility. That appears more like "here today, gone tomorrow."

As for opponents grasping at anything to deride the project, if Guidera had followed the hearings fully, he would have realized that our objectives have not changed. This community presented all these issues from the very beginning that he says we are now grasping at. After all, we are not faced with just a group home here. This is a $5 million facility consisting of at least 10 buildings.

The county zoning code book's definition of a group home is a building housing at least eight unrelated individuals.

If I applied for a permit to build a home, I wouldn't get five houses (4,200 square feet each as the group homes will be), plus an administrative building, a maintenance building , a commercial kitchen, a gymnasium and a three car garage. It may be of interest to Harford County taxpayers where these children (and now young adults, too, thanks to our County Council's ruling) will come from when Guidera continues to stress that the need for this facility in Harford County is severe.

He omitted that under cross-examination, a Board of Child Care representative testified that 15 percent (nine) would come from Harford County. The other children will come from Baltimore City and surrounding counties, Delaware, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. -- areas served by the United Methodist Church.

And now for further added distaste, Guidera and the County Council think we should have no problem with the thought of 30 abused or neglected teens in our community as part of, as Guidera put it, the Zoning Appeals Board's "Solomon-like compromise."

In 1988, the Board of Child Care said it was doing a job the state can't do. If that's the case, then how can anyone expect this one community to take on the problems of 60 troubled children and teens alone, if the state can't do it?

Did the thought ever come to Guidera that if we, as parents, did not confront what we consider a possible threat to our children, our homes and our neighbors, we would also be guilty of neglect in the care and raising of our own children and the stability of our neighborhood?

Guidera still has the peace and tranquillity of his neighborhood to go home to every night without a second thought given to the people of this community left behind to deal with a facility of this magnitude.

Consider this: Even before the new stadium was built, the Board of Child Care was in court battles with the Chapeldale residents of Baltimore County, who also rely on wells and septics, to build the same size facility in their neighborhood. The Board of Child Care was given approval for two homes (housing 15 children), so as not to jeopardize the residents' well-being.

Was that acceptable to the board? No. The size has to be for 60 children or it's not feasible. It has to be all or nothing, with no thought given to the people who reside near the site.

I find Guidera's reference in the column to the new stadium quite amusing. Memorial Stadium, like the Board of Child Care's current facility, was a design realized in the 1950s. Although the Board of Child Care has stayed with that same design and capacity of the 1950s, the Stadium Authority had the wisdom to decrease capacity and lower the overall size to benefit those who are in the seats.

The Board of Child Care is once again defending a plan which I feel is outdated for the need of today's children coming from these situations. Certainly, in the years of court battles, the goal of helping children, I feel, is being misplaced, when another group home in this area is expanding a building at a time, the Board of Child Care's 1950s plan has not veered in over 30 years. Like the ball team that plays there, every now and then management and leadership must change to keep pace with modern goals.

And I'd like to remind Mark Guidera that, just like in baseball, we still have a few innings left at bat, and win or lose, we're going to stay for the whole game.

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