Plenty of excuses to do nothing
Edmond Burke said "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." We can find excuses, as the European leaders have, for not taking a meaningful stand against ethnic cleaning in the Balkans.
For example, we should be more patient; or, do anything means we have to do everything -- including sending in millions of U.S. boys; or, the former Yugoslavia is another Vietnam; or, they've hated each other for hundreds of years; or, let the Europeans do it.
But, in this year of remembrance of the Holocaust, there is a point beyond which patience is no longer a virtue. Some are hesitant to take military action because they're confused about our objectives, strategies and plans for exiting.
The objective is to stop ethnic cleaning, punish the aggressors and reduce the threat of uncontrollable expansion of hostilities throughout the region. U.S., U.N. and NATO strategies should include arming the Muslims so they can defend themselves, establishing protective enclaves and applying air power to interdict the flow of military re-supplies and reinforcements as well as suppressing hostile artillery.
These actions, combined with increased tightening of the international sanctions, would stop the mass slaughter and torture of innocent women and children and leave the Serbs with no alternative but to negotiate. The tide will turn, perhaps slowly, and time will then favor the alliance.
Bluntly, the U.S. plan should be to get the Europeans to take responsibility for this conflict in their midst. And, even in a worst case scenario where multi-national U.N. forces are required to monitor a cease-fire, it is a far better solution than the alternatives -- both morally and geopolitically.
Roger C. Kostmayer
I was very disturbed by the City Hall hearing concerning contracts awarded by the Board of Estimates.
It is my understanding that the Board of Estimates wants to ban contracts to American Indians "who do not live as Indians." Will the board also require the Afro-American, Asian, Hispanic and other minority business owners to prove that they live as their ancestors? I don't think so.
The definition of "living as an American Indian" is unclear. Indian heritage is very easy to prove.
I feel that this is another step in governmental discrimination to suppress the American Indian community. It must stop.
The April 13 Evening Sun editorial, "Business skills for nurses," properly identified nurses as central in providing and promoting cost-effective health care.
The editorial correctly characterized nurses as best qualified to "understand the nuts and bolts of delivering care" in praising the masters and Ph.D. programs jointly sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Nursing and the University of Baltimore Robert C. Merrick School of Business.
As educators, we believe a business background represents an important dimension in preparing nurses for an ever-expanding role in health care delivery.
As nursing practice becomes more autonomous, it is essential that we understand how to manage efficient delivery of quality health care. We are indeed fortunate to have our crosstown neighbor's assistance in achieving this interdisciplinary objective.
Barbara R. Heller
The writer is dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing.
As a responsible parent, I must express my disagreement with the April 28 letter, "Parents' role," by Sarah Fletcher.
Does Ms. Fletcher have a teen-ager? If so, he/she must be immaculate.
Because a teen-ager is out at 1 a.m. in the morning does not mean they were never taught, or they didn't have any discipline in their home; and it certainly doesn't mean they deserve to be killed. (If your child comes in at 1 a.m. and you whack him, isn't that child abuse?) If the incident had happened at 9 p.m. instead of 1 a.m., Officer Gorwell still would have fired that shot -- using the same excuse.
The surviving teen-agers testified that when Officer Gorwell chased them, he almost simultaneously shouted a command and profanity and fired a shot. The neighbors also testified they heard only one shot. The officer alleges he heard a shot and out of fear for his life, acted properly, and returned fired.
Are police officers trained so that when chasing (several) suspects in the dark and they hear a gun shot, they assume it's best to shoot first and ask questions later and that it's OK to shoot indiscriminately at the suspects because anyone could have fired the shot?
I leave Ms. Fletcher with one final thought. I hope no child of hers is ever caught stealing -- a candy bar -- and is shot in the back because instead of giving up he decides to run. You would never cry to want your back back, because you know that discipline starts at home . . . and the police were only doing their job.
It is said you cannot always believe what you read in the papers. Good examples are the stories about convicted cop-killer Samuel Veney, who "escaped" while on his 18th release for family leave.
I cannot believe it.
He was sentenced to death, commuted to life, then given work release and family leave. How could this be in a Democratically-controlled, one-party state, where everyone says they are tough on crime? (The idea that victims "cannot" be told of pending releases is also unbelievable).
Did our governor or legislators learn anything from the Willie Horton incident? Apparently not. They recently passed HB 1089, which gives inmates up to 20 days off per month for good behavior.
Next time your representatives say they are a tough on crime. . . don't you believe it.
Distorted commentary on gay rights march
Mona Charen's homophobic diatribe, "The in-your-face gay rights march" (Other Voices, April 28), employs well-worn prejudices, distortions and inaccuracies to foster continued misunderstanding, intolerance and hatred toward gay men, lesbians and bisexuals.
Charen provides an 11-paragraph description and analysis of the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, despite the fact that -- as she freely admits -- she did not personally witness the march or any of its related activities. Yet, incredibly, she claims to "know all" regarding the march and rally because she casually "watched some of the coverage on C-SPAN, heard eyewitness reports from friends," and read post-march accounts in the Washington Times -- a newspaper owned by a homophobic religious cult. To acquire her "knowledge" this "journalist" also did not interview any of the march organizers, volunteers or participants, a group numbering over 300,000 people! She did not read the official program guide, "A Simple Matter of Justice," which was widely distributed in the Washington metro area; nor did she read the in-depth coverage of the march in either the Washington Post or the local gay-lesbian community newspaper, the Washington Blade. For Ms. Charen it could not have been an "in-your-face" demonstration: she was far removed from it!
Why, then, did The Evening Sun publish this obviously (and dangerously) biased commentary? Charen's polemic serves only to stereotype and dehumanize people already discriminated against; to misrepresent actual events to fit her own preconceived image, which is itself more "grotesque" and "vulgar" than anything she claims to have witnessed; and to misunderstand the human struggle for dignity, freedom and justice that was at the core of this march. Similar columns about other minority groups would not be published by your newspaper. Why this one?
Furthermore, your columnists are generally experts in the field they write about, reporters analyzing a news story, or humorists gently poking fun at a situation. Mona Charen is neither! She is clearly a homophobe who has used your newspaper to expound on her prejudices.
The Evening Sun needs to reflect the diversity and vitality of the human experience, and of its readership. Give us more columns by and about gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women, and less by the likes of Mona Charen!
Joseph M. Eagan