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Grand jury probe is on the right...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Grand jury probe is on the right track

I have been following with interest the articles relating to Judge Kenneth Johnson and the special grand jury, who were attempting to determine why high level drug-traffickers are not being apprehended.

It is something that is long overdue given the devastation drugs are wreaking in the African-American community. The question "why is this happening?" needs to be answered.

The problem is too serious for worries about whose ego is being bruised or whose jurisdiction is suppose to do what. The probe should be expanded to include both state and federal officials, because the problem includes both.

It is something like poetic justice for the young African-American children who have been gunned down due to drug related street warfare. It is their images which should be displayed in the courtroom, when these public officials start coming up with lame excuses.

When anyone looks at the big picture of the drug problem, it does not require a degree in law to surmise that nothing is being done to apprehend the criminals at the upper echelons.

During Desert Storm, the money trail of Saddam Hussein was traced to almost all corners of the world. The money trail of the alleged bombers of the World Trade Center was traced all the way to Europe.

Isn't it ironic that the billions of dollars flowing in the drug world haven't been traced to obtain any convictions?

One thing is certain: These profits are not in the African-American community.

Judge Johnson and the special grand jury are to be commended for giving the African-American community some hope. The negative aspersions being directed against their findings should disregarded and a thorough investigation commenced.

John K. Matthews

Baltimore

Cabbies' 'snow fee'

On Sunday, March 14, my flight from Columbus, Ohio, was one of the fortunate ones to land at BWI after it had been unable to do so on the previous morning due to the blizzard conditions.

Already delayed by two days, I was eager to return home and went in search of a cab. The dispatcher advised me that a 25 percent "snow emergency" fee would be added to the meter. He remarked: "I've never seen such greedy people before."

The driver refused to move until I agreed to pay the "snow emergency fee" at the end of the ride. I told him that I had a very limited amount of cash in my wallet, but he could have it all if he got me home, a scant 10 miles from the airport.

To match the driver's insistence on adding a "snow emergency fee" to the meter, I insisted that the driver take the most direct route to my home. That road was as clear and dry as the beltway he preferred until just a mile from my home, when it became sloppy but passable.

I'm grateful that the pilot didn't add a snow emergency fee for flying in the blizzard on the previous day. Shame on you, Baltimore cabbies.

John J. Pilch

Catonsville

Icy bus stops

Three cheers for climbing snow banks in Baltimore. But must it be at city corner bus stops?

Many riders are senior citizens or handicapped; but even younger passengers are reluctant to fight the two-foot ice-encased snow piles before stumbling onto the bus.

The alarm was sounded a few years ago when a rider slid beneath the wheels. Why not assign a city employee or even an unemployed person to drive from bus stop to bus stop and clean a two-foot-wide path, at least?

Deborah Rose

Baltimore

Support Skipjacks

As a long-time winter sports fan in Baltimore, it was really very refreshing to see your editorial (March 15) favoring Councilman Joseph DiBlasi's resolution in support of Jacks' owner Tom Ebright.

Anyone who has bothered to follow the Skipjacks knows that Mr. Ebright and his crew have provided us with a class act in a wholesome family atmosphere even as he has had to compete against the indifference of city and business leaders mesmerized by the new stadium and the quest for a new National Football League team.

In my view, it would indeed be a tragic irony if Baltimore loses hockey just as the game is enjoying a resurgence nationwide, and the area is slowly emerging from recession. The message is: We need a healthy atmosphere for winter sports in Baltimore, and it's not too late if we're willing to act now.

Dick Fairbanks

Baltimore

City lights

Regarding Edward Gunts' interesting article in the March 7 Sun, I would like to add that before the 1970s, the most impressive sight on the Baltimore skyline was the lighted tower of the Maryland National Bank building.

It was a disappointment to many when the lights went out and those MN letters were installed.

Also, anyone can always check the weather by radio, TV or phone. Bring back the lights!

J. Franke

Baltimore

Sampson Green

The recent death of Sampson Green represents an enormous loss for Baltimore City.

Mr. Green was an irrepressible and staunch advocate of human and civil rights, a redoubtable and highly effective spokesperson for equity in housing and an unwavering foe of racism, sexism and bigotry.

The Monumental City has been blessed beyond measure that God sent Sampson our way. He has truly "soared beyond the shadow of our night."

amuel L. Banks

Baltimore

An armed citizenry

David Koresh is plainly a religious nut, but the incident in Waco equally plainly demonstrates the need for an armed citizenry as the first and best defense against an oppressive central government.

Once before in our history, a heavily armed force descended on an American community to search for and forcibly confiscate arms and ammunition. The confrontation that ensued in April, 1775, on Lexington Green set in motion a train of events that culminated in the United States Constitution, the Second Amendment to which reads, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The gun gestapo might have heeded the lesson learned the hard way by their "lobsterback" predecessors.

Mark Szymanski

Westminster

Stop the killing

This week will commemorate the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador.

We cannot remember Romero's death without recalling the thousands of innocent Salvadorans who suffered the same fate.

Neither can we mourn the recent death of Sister MaryAnn Glinka without also thinking of the many other horrible murders that have occurred in this city. Can we turn our anger over sister MaryAnn's senseless killing into action?

Our Maryland legislators are currently considering gun control laws. It's an appropriate time to contact them. We need strict gun control laws in Maryland.

Mary Louise Lynch

Katherine Nueslein

Patricia Ann Rogucki

Helen Scheel

The writers are nuns affiliated with the Baltimore-based Medical Mission Sisters Alliance for Justice.

Dundalk joke was inappropriate

I would like to offer an apology to Jean Filleti and the good citizens of Dundalk. I read Ms. Filleti's letter "Dundalk jibe an insult to good citizens" (Forum, March 18) and took its message to heart.

It is inappropriate to joke at others' expense -- even more so if done in a public forum. In my talk I made no comment in reference to the funding of my slides. I did, however, comment that they were done on "Dundalk Graphics." This was a clumsy rTC attempt at self deprecating humor.

I had meant to compare my simple and amateurish overhead slides to the sophisticated computer graphics often used in professional presentations. That this proved offensive to Ms. Filleti or anyone else was unintended.

I hope that my personal ineptitude on the podium will not adversely reflect on the American Heart Association or the people dedicated to advancing its good works.

The error was mine, the responsibility was mine and a most sincere apology is mine as well.

David L. Strauss

Baltimore

The writer is a physician in the emergency department at Good Samaritan Hospital.

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