Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Citizens often must protect themselvesWhy have the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Citizens often must protect themselves

Why have the liberal media launched a major new campaign against the private ownership of firearms by honest citizens? Could it be that reports from many major metropolitan areas show that people are purchasing firearms at record rates?

People's awakening to the need to provide for their own security was brought about by the media's painfully accurate portrayal of the civil unrest in Los Angeles.

Many an honest citizen had been lulled into a false sense of security by government officials and law enforcement bureaucrats. The Los Angeles riots came like a bolt from the blue. Horrified citizens witnessed what happens when the state fails to fulfill its obligations to protect them as a group and denies them the means to protect themselves as individuals.

TV viewers saw helpless citizens dragged from their vehicles and savagely beaten by criminal mobs. Scenes of looted, burning private property lingered in people's minds long after the TV was turned off.

Reports of honest people rushing to a gun store to buy firearms only to be told to fill out applications and come back in a week or so -- after the mandatory waiting period had elapsed -- are not easily forgotten.

The liberal media have belatedly realized that the gut-level message conveyed by the reporting of the violence, mayhem and governmental inaction is that citizens lacking the means to protect themselves are lambs turned loose in the lion's den.

The myth that the police can protect everyone from everything at all times has been irreparably shattered. The liberal anti-gun establishment and its media allies are now feverishly trying to repair the damage. I don't think that their efforts will succeed.

Richard Lyons

Chase

The best medicine

Kudos to the Baltimore Opera for the witty and humorous brochure touting the upcoming season.

Any mental health professional upset by the subject matter of many operas, such as murder or suicide, has either never read the librettos or attends only for reasons of clinical research -- a busman's holiday.

I say "lighten up." Come out from under the dark cloud. A sense of humor is essential for our general well-being, is it not?

John W. Kirwan

Westminster

Clinton's pluses

I support Bill Clinton for president.

I resent the media for the very poor coverage they have given him, especially the stories with distortions, half-truths and sensationalist headlines.

It's been very difficult to get essential information about the man, especially where he stands on the issues. In fact, I learned far more about what he stands for from major news magazines and campaign literature than I did from newspaper/television coverage, which focused on the so-called "character" issue almost exclusively.

One more thing: Does it take character to make the most of your intelligence through education, as he has done?

Does it take personal strength to overcome never really having known your real father while then suffering through the trauma of an alcoholic, violent stepfather and protecting your mother and brother from him when you are still very young yourself?

Does it mean a man has integrity when, sick at heart, he, as governor, allows his own brother to be arrested in a drug sting operation, rather than using his foreknowledge of the event to keep his sibling out of jail?

Does it reveal personal strength, wisdom and maturity to decide as a teen-ager that you'd like to be president, then work faithfully toward that goal for over 30 years?

I believe Bill Clinton is not a perfect man and that he and his wife have had severe marital problems. I believe that he did have extramarital affairs.

But I also believe that he and his wife have put that part of their life together behind them, that they are going on with their lives and their marriage.

"Let he who is among you without sin cast the first stone," a famous teacher of ethics once said. Maybe we should stop throwing stones at the man and let him be judged for his ideas, energy and leadership qualities.

Clinton for president? Count me in.

Stephen Siegforth

Baltimore

Baltimore County's budget responsible

Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden and the Baltimore County Council acted responsibly in developing the fiscal 1993 budget. In contrast to the way the state budget process worked, Baltimore County officials cooperated to produce a prudent and reasonable budget and a tax policy consistent with the position of most of their constituents.

During the 1992 session, much of what was identified in Annapolis as budget cutting was actually just the elimination of state aid to local subdivisions -- a shifting of the burden from state to local government.

It was inevitable that, given a large reduction in state aid, flat revenue growth and the refusal of the General Assembly to approve broad-scoped local revenue authority, local governments would increase the piggyback tax over the next several years in lieu of raising the property tax. This is where most citizens believe the burden should lie, with an income-sensitive revenue source, and not with an arbitrary assessment of a non-investment residential property.

A 4 per cent cap on assessments holds the property tax bill down. Over 1,000 full- and part-time county positions have been eliminated, and new hiring has been restricted to essential positions. Fewer county employees are shouldering a heavier workload and deserve the incremental and longevity pay increases allowed by this budget. In short, Mr. Hayden is governing, not playing politics.

Some are still going to criticize this budget and may well find things that should be different. We'll work on that in future budgets. The facts are that the general fund portion of the fiscal 1993 budget is 2.5 percent, or $21 million less than last year's budget, and 0.6 percent, or $5 million less than the fiscal year 1991 budget.

Some will compare Baltimore County to other subdivisions which have not utilized the piggyback tax, and ask why. A look around the state will answer that question.

Baltimore City, already the beneficiary of a very large amount of state aid, will see a substantial increase in state funds this year. In addition, the state has taken over operation of the jail, the zoo, the community college and other city responsibilities.

In Anne Arundel County, an addition to BG&E;'s Brandon Shores power plant will be on the tax rolls for the first time this year, generating at least $8 million in personal property taxes, which will be paid for by all rate payers, not just those who live in the county.

Both Anne Arundel and Harford counties have a 10 percent assessment cap, 2.5 times greater than that of Baltimore County. Howard County raised its property tax rate last year by 14 cents, generating additional revenue.

John Bishop

Parkville

The writer is a member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore County.

Follow Constitution

Would it be possible to elect a moral president who believes in adhering strictly to our Constitution?

What do the present candidates offer? Bill Clinton is just another pretty face. Ross Perot believes that by "fine tuning" our present government he can cause it to work more efficiently, (remember, Mussolini made the trains run on time), and George Bush never met a Communist dictator he didn't like, from Romania to the Soviet Union to China. He wants to distribute our wealth world-wide via the "New World Order."

Our main problem is to reduce the gargantuan burden of debt, which threatens to impoverish us all. The only way to accomplish this is to greatly reduce the size and scope of government with its layers of bureaucracy and regulatory agencies which have no Constitutional reason for being.

Howard Phillips, the president of the Conservative Caucus, has an agenda which would get our country back on track by disapproving all federal expenditures not specifically authorized by the U.S. Constitution. He is promoting a U.S. Taxpayers party.

Many taxpayers are weary of voting for Socialist party A or Socialist party B. At least they would have a choice if the Taxpayers party were on the ballot.

George Washington said at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, "If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God."

Ruth Shriver

Westminster

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