All suffer, not just police, on the streets
I am responding to the letter by Mary L. Snyder that appeared Sept. 29 in The Forum.
She stated that "everyone shot is not equal." She's right. Any member of my family who is shot or murdered is far more important than any police officer. Is Ms. Snyder stating that no one in her family is as important as a police officer?
She then went on to say: "A police officer is not a person on the corner selling drugs; a police officer is not a person who would just go out and shoot an innocent person."
Last week, a female officer was convicted and sentenced to 21 months in jail for aiding her boyfriend in selling drugs from her apartment. (Isn't it obvious that no police officer would openly sell drugs on a street corner?) . . .
I personally don't believe police work is as dangerous as they make it out to be.
Compare the statistics from 1990 and 1991. How many citizens were shot and killed? How many police were shot and killed?
How many citizens were assaulted or robbed? How many police were assaulted or robbed?
How many guns did the police confiscate on the streets? How many guns were confiscated from the police?
The people who live on these dangerous streets are the true experts about how to cope and survive from day to day.
If the death penalty is to be enforced, then do it for the hundreds of citizens, young and old, who lost their precious lives to violence and not because of the killing of one officer and the wounding of another.
Only in America
In the dark of the evening of Sept. 14 my car became disabled on Roland Avenue just inside Northern Parkway. From a nearby telephone booth I summoned my auto club. Back at my car a youthful all-American type lad stopped to offer his assistance. I explained help was on the way. He departed, obviously disappointed not to be helpful. The next volunteer was an Italian general contractor, quite possibly tired from a long day's work; he stopped his heavily laden truck to extend help in any manner. Before his departure I secured his business card.
Number three visitor was a young Asian whose jersey indicated he was a student at or an alumnus of M.I.T. and very positive about helping out. The final volunteer was a real-estate agent generously offering to assist. I secured his card and learned his forbears were Irish.
Where else would you find such an unselfish foursome? Only in America! This delay caused me to miss a meeting scheduled for that evening. However, it did provide an appointment with four Good Samaritans.
Thank you, gentlemen, until we meet again; and we will.
Robert W. Sommerwerck
Magic Johnson's resignation
Magic Johnson's recent resignation from the Presidential Commission on AIDS is unfortunate.
Lost from the commission is the voice of the most loved and respected HIV-positive person in America.
However, I would suggest that the motivation for his resignation was irresponsible and selfish.
Under the Bush administration, AIDS funding has increased 118 percent to $4.2 billion annually. Had Magic attended all of the commission meetings, he would surely know this. Records indicate that he attended only one of five meetings during his tenure on the Commission.
Magic's subsequent endorsement of Bill Clinton and his call to all black leaders to do likewise was equally irresponsible.
To suggest that somehow Democrats care more about AIDS than Republicans is an absurdity. The spread of AIDS was no more the fault of Ronald Reagan or George Bush than it was the fault of Bill Clinton or Al Gore.
Magic alone is responsible for having contracted AIDS. He alone is responsible for having possibly spread it to those with whom he slept.
So stop making AIDS a political Horacio Cardo - INX issue. There are far too many other problems facing the nation, problems which are not the result of behavior. AIDS will not and cannot be the only focus of any administration.
Virginia B. Hill
Stop street harassment of women
I am writing to express my feelings on an issue not in the headlines at any given time. With all of the recent media attention focused on the upcoming election, as well as shootings of police officers, sexual harassment in the military and indictments of heads of private boys schools, there is not time or space to print stories about what women have to deal with daily.
I am referring to street harassment. Street harassment constitutes unwanted looks, stares, comments and propositions from the opposite sex. Although this problem may plague men also, let's be honest, how many women have you heard say "Hey baby, looking mighty good today," while looking a man up and down?
Who are these men that think it is OK to say whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want?
Unfortunately, there is not one "type." As all women know, any man is a potential street harasser.
I have been dealing with this for at least 14 years (I am 24). Imagine the rage that has built up inside to prompt me to write this letter today.
So to the man who made a lewd comment to me yesterday on Charles Street, you were the one who forced me to write this letter, you are lucky I ignored you.
So I say on behalf of women of all ages everywhere:
We do not find this flattering and we do not appreciate this unwanted attention.
Please, please, ignore us.
Kristina R. Stewart
Wiley Hall's Sept. 22 column said that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke sounded "simple minded" in his reaction to the murders of two policemen. I submit that it is Wiley Hall who sounds simple-minded.
Three times he indicates that capital punishment will not work, but he never says why it won't work.
Obviously he doesn't know why. He merely repeats what he has been told. He merely follows the line of whatever ideology appeals to him without really thinking.
The facts of human existence contradict Wiley Hall's position.
All of us -- except Mr. Hall -- know that wherever justice is swift and the death penalty is certain for murder, the violent crime rate is very low.
Totalitarian states, such as the former Soviet Union, present-day China, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, etc., have extremely low crime rates. The people fear. I repeat, the people fear quick and certain justice. Further, the people heartily approve of it.
Of course we would not want to live under totalitarianism, but my point is that justice must be swift -- not delayed, and death upon conviction of murder must be swift -- so that the people can see justice in action while the criminal deed is still fresh in their minds.
People have to fear the consequences of criminal behavior. Otherwise, there is no hope.
Wiley Hall is a dreamer, and the young men of Baltimore have no fear.
Kenneth T. Wilson
Pot and kettle
Sen. Sam Nunn's question to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland's chief executive officer, Carl Sardegna, concerning compensation -- "Do you believe you can justify your salary to policyholders at a time when their premiums are going up?" -- represents the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black.
Our tax-and-spend Congress has driven this nation closer and closer to economic disaster with total disregard for the hard-working taxpayer and has accepted obscene pay raises that, if based on performance, are totally unjustified. Senator Nunn should ask himself and his brethren the same question and should feel ashamed to answer yes.
Edwin R. Goodlander