Suicide haunts lives of those it touchesLast...


Suicide haunts lives of those it touches

Last month Channel 13's Kelly Saunders aired a segment on the evening news discussing Dr. Jack Kevorkian with Baltimoreans and their viewpoints on assisted suicide for those with terminal illnesses.

This is a subject I am familiar with, both from watching my father deteriorate and die over a five-year period from Parkinson's disease at age 57 and from the horrifying phone call a little over a year ago informing me that my 28-year-old sister had commited suicide by shooting herself.

Many people who commit suicide seemed to feel they would never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Darkness overwhelmed their lives and they did not know how to cope with their problems. Their only way out was by escaping from reality.

When one is physically or mentally ill, one tends to be more fragile and vulnerable to depression.

Every situation is different, and it is impossible to compare illnesses, be they physical or mental. Individuals will always view life from their own standpoint, with their opinion always being correct in their minds.

How can we judge anyone unless we have walked in his or her shoes?

If a terminal illness is present and suffering is all one can feel, shouldn't one have the right to make a decision whether to live or die?

And if death is their choice, hopefully they will choose a more peaceful method in which to end their life. Dr. Kevorkian's method is far more humane than a gunshot, hanging or jumping from a building.

If more compassion and understanding were shown toward people with mental illness and in need of help, perhaps the suicide rate would decrease.

A person with mental illness perhaps can be helped to improve his or her quality of life, whereas a person who is terminally ill does not have the same chance for recovery.

The final outcome of all suicides may be the same, but the method chosen to end one's life leaves an overall picture for the living to carry -- one that, hopefully, will not haunt those who were touched.

Lisa Hurka-Covington


Tiny treasures

Thanks to your recent article, I was informed of and able to visit the miniature ship exhibit at the U.S. Naval Academy ("Miniature Treasures," March 12).

As I viewed the models, I felt like Gulliver waiting to see the Lilliputians man the rigging. A fantastic exhibit.

Please continue to keep the public informed of such exhibits and events that do not normally receive much publicity.

Allen T. Wilson


Tax law error

The lesson emanating from our representatives in Annapolis is quite clear: If you make a mistake and get caught, fix it; but in no event give back the ill gotten gains.

They acknowledge the effort that is costing many married couples an additional $90 in taxes, and they have indicated that they intend to fix it -- next year. In other words, they plan to keep the windfall generated by their error.

What nonsense we are being fed about the difficulties involved in making the correction retroactive to 1992. For the legislature, it means a change in the effective date of the bill. For the taxpayers it means filing amended returns for a refund that is rightfully theirs.

If some choose not to amend, they are donating the funds by choice rather than by mandate.

Thieves, take note: Be you a dishonest S & L official, a stockbroker trading on inside information or a car-jacker -- all will be forgiven if you promise not to do it again. No restitution required.

Lucille Sachs



On March 12, Baltimore City Police Officers Kevin Forrester, Rebecca Harrington and Mark Clasing were dropped at our bank, Slavie Federal Savings and Loan, at approximately 9:15 a.m. They came in to check on us and do some paperwork before going to do their community policing.

While the officers were working on their paperwork, a man came in, went over to teller Angel Buhrman and passed her a note demanding $2,000 in cash. Otherwise, the note said, he would set off a remote-controlled bomb.

Angel looked over at me and said she needed $2,000 immediately. I sensed a problem and pressed my alarm, then decided to get Angel away from our window. We proceeded to the back where the three officers were sitting.

We informed them of the situation. The officers quickly proceeded out the side door and around to the front of the bank. They then pursued the criminal and arrested him two blocks away.

We are very grateful for the officers' quick response, bravery and professionalism. They did an outstanding job and deserve recognition for their efforts.

We feel a lot safer knowing that officers Forrester, Harrington and Clasing are just around the corner.

Deborah Platek

Angel Buhrman

The writers are employees of Slavie Federal Savings and Loan Association.

Blacks want more than handshakes

This is a plea to African-American citizens of Baltimore.

We must use our common sense and intelligence to see through the campaign tactics of City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, who has been campaigning for mayor since the last election.

Ms. Clarke has done everything possible to upstage Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and humiliate his appointees. She even used one of the council members by having him hold a press conference to further humiliate and degrade the mayor.

Ms. Clarke has created what I call two separate governments. Instead of helping to find solutions to problems as City Council president, she has created an atmosphere of blame and fault.

We are all clear on what Ms. Clarke's agenda is. Unfortunately, Ms. Clarke is using the African-American community for her advantage. She feels that listening to concerns, being present at meetings where angry constituents gather and saying things that people want to hear will buy her the mayor's seat.

Ms. Clarke must be advised that black Americans do not sell their votes so cheap anymore. We want a real agenda that's not about picking up somebody's bulk trash item or helping them find housing, but that will empower residents and help build strong, solid neighborhoods.

Besides, Ms. Clarke is only doing what our tax dollars pay her to do. So what's the big deal? (Her driver's overtime pay is another story.)

Wise up, folks! Let's look at the bigger picture.

I am not a foe of Ms. Clarke. As a matter of fact, I admire her spunk and energy.

However, Ms. Clarke needs to be clear that in 1993, the African-American majority of this city has become wiser.

We want more from our leadership than smiles and handshakes. We want innovation, creativity and fairness.

The Schaefer days are gone, and it is my hope they will never emerge again.

Ms. Clarke can calm down now and save all her energy for the real mayoral election. Whoever challenges Ms. Clarke better be prepared to be as ferocious as she has been.

Amy Dunnston


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