Shallow Convention ArticleI am writing in response...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Shallow Convention Article

I am writing in response to Frank Somerville's Dec. 30 article, "1,000 youths see answers to world's woes." The article can only be described as very shallow and negligent.

Mr. Somerville came to the United Synagogue Youth Convention convention just to hear newly-elected Rep. Eric Fingerhut, D-Ohio. While Mr. Fingerhut's address was a major part of the week, it was by far not at all the most important.

After the address, the USYers broke up into many smaller "issues workshops," of which Mr. Somerville attended one dealing with AIDS. It is here that the reporting becomes negligent.

There were about 60 USYers at this session, hardly a majority of the convention. Mr. Somerville makes it sound like all USYers are sexually active. This could not be further from the truth. I and other youth directors have done informal surveys that show that most of our USYers are not sexually active and the number of sexually active USYers is decreasing each year, not increasing.

Luckily, Mr. Somerville did choose to mention one of the more important parts of the convention, the volunteer day, when all of the USYers and staff went out into the communities to volunteer at shelters, nursing homes and soup kitchens.

United Synagogue Youth is the international youth group

sponsored by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The USCJ is composed of over 750 Conservative congregations throughout North America and Israel. In Baltimore there are USY groups at Beth Israel Congregation and at Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

Philip Goldwasser

Randallstown

MA The writer is youth director of the Beth Israel Congregation.

Keno Opinions

I was in awe reading Barry Rascovar's column regarding keno winners and losers -- in awe that one could be 100 percent wrong and still enjoy a distinguished position.

When will your continuing keno diatribe against Attorney General Curran either end or be rationalized?

Whether keno becomes established or not is unimportant compared to the long-term harm The Sun is doing to itself.

In its news stories concerning this matter, in its editorial page and now in its op-ed page, The Sun has used extravagant and imprecise adjectives -- the writer's equivalent of nods and winks -- to slam-dunk an unsuspecting reader.

On the playing court we have a referee to penalize the kicking and elbowing and pushing; here in Baltimore we have, tragically, only one newspaper. And even more tragic is to have a director of the editorial page unable institutionally to make the distinction between a hypocritical act and a high moral stance.

Charles F. Gentile

Glen Burnie

Wait Wouldn't Have Stopped Hinckley

Howard H. Green asserts that "a seven-day waiting period would have stopped the attempted assassination" of President Reagan.

In point of fact, John Hinckley bought his gun on Oct. 13, 1980, and shot Reagan on Mar. 30, 1991 -- 168 days later. How would a seven-day wait have prevented the shooting?

A background check would have revealed a valid legal residence and no felony convictions. However, four days before Hinckley bought the gun, he was arrested for attempting to board a commercial airliner while carrying three handguns, a federal felony. He was not tried, but instead was released after paying a small fine.

Advocates of waiting periods and background checks have no evidence that such measures reduce crime, so they are forced to imagine it. Putting violent criminals in prison and keeping them there is the only way to reduce serious crime.

Douglas E. McNeil

Baltimore

Considering the anti-gun rights bias of the media, it is no wonder that people are misinformed about the effectiveness of gun control measures.

In particular I am referring to Howard H. Green's letter of Dec. 31, claiming that a seven-day waiting period would have prevented John Hinckley's assassination attempt on President Reagan.

That claim is false.

John Hinckley purchased his handgun a full five months prior to his attempt on Reagan's life. He used a valid Texas driver's license to purchase the handgun, and he had never been convicted of a felony or adjudged mentally incompetent.

In short, Hinckley had the time and the credentials to get by any waiting period/background check scheme ever instituted or seriously considered; including the much trumpeted Brady bill.

Even if Hinckley had been stymied by a waiting period, he could have purchased a black market firearm on just about any inner-city street corner. After all, that's what lots of other criminals do.

However, waiting periods do keep some people from purchasing firearms when they need them.

Just ask the law-abiding citizens of riot-torn Los Angeles who found themselves simultaneously facing murderous mobs, no police protection and California's 15-day waiting period.

A. Richard Lego

Glen Rock, Pa.

Howard Green's letter misses the point. On the surface, it sounds like his only source of information about the National Rifle Association could have come from The Sun's editorial page. The National Rifle Association/Institute for Legislative Action (NRA/ILA) has been calling for change in sentencing laws. Its most recent effort, "CrimeStrike," targets not only the criminals but politicians and judges who lack the intestinal fortitude to get tough on them.

Looking back on last year's violent crime stories, we see a pattern of an overburdened -- and sometimes apathetic -- criminal justice system. A prosecutor who is undecided whether to seek the death penalty for the dragging of a woman to her death. Prison systems that mistakenly release convicts who then go on to murder again. And judges who, when they do hand down multiple jail sentences, have them run concurrently.

More recently, an Associated Press report reads, "District of Columbia voters defeated yesterday an initiative ordered by Congress that would have reinstituted the death penalty." And a Sun story tells us that, because of budget cuts, Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan will have to scrap the city Circuit Court's community service program entirely.

Timothy L. Krahling Sr.

Baltimore

Ban Leaflets

Many local businesses advertise by distributing leaflets in residential areas. Their couriers are paid to place the ads on door knobs, stoops and windshields.

Invariably, most of the paper becomes litter because it is not disposed of or distributed properly.

Granted, the businesses are not the entire cause of littering. But they are the sources of the paper. Fortunately, they can also be the source of the solution.

I propose that, instead of hiring the couriers to distribute paper, local businesses that advertise hire them to clean up debris on neighborhood streets. In return, the city would post attractive street signs that say "Shop at Joe's -- a business that is making Baltimore beautiful" (or something like that).

A city ordinance prohibiting leaflet advertising would encourage participation and provide revenue. Additional funding could come from a gradual replacement of the hokey cart program in

those areas.

Jody Sevy

Baltimore

Old Folks Radio

I agree with the column written by Antero Pietila regarding the sale of WITH-AM radio and the disappearance of the big band sound.

The article states that a "painful void will be felt in the community." The new owners obviously intend to "refill" that void with "children's programming."

When was the last time you saw a child turn on the radio?

Most of us over 50 listen to WITH religiously because of the format. We, the retired community, are home during the day.

If the new owners change the format they will lose us old folks for sure. What a pity!

Joan M. Depkin

Abingdon

Ban Leaflets

Many local businesses advertise by distributing leaflets in residential areas. Their couriers are paid to place ads on door knobs, stoops and windshields.

Invariably, most of the paper becomes litter because it is not disposed of or distributed property.

Granted, the businesses are not the entire cause of littering. But they are the sources of the paper. Fortunately, they can also be the source of the solution.

I propose that, instead of hiring the couriers to distribute paper, local businesses that advertise hire them to clean up debris on neighborhood streets. In return the city would post attractive street signs that say "Shop at Joe's--a busniess that is making Baltimore beautiful" (or something).

A city ordinance prohibiting leaflet advertising would encourage participation and provide revenue. Additional funding could come from a gradual replacement of the hokey cart program in

those areas.

Jody Sevy

Baltimore

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