Father Joe"What characteristics did Father Sellinger possess...


Father Joe

"What characteristics did Father Sellinger possess that made him such a great leader?" my husband asked after I returned from the funeral of my former boss, the president of Loyola College.

He had a vision for the college, of course, and the charisma to inspire thousands of others to travel the journey with him.

His intellect allowed him to understand complex issues and evaluate solutions. He was decisive, and his judgment was exceptional.

He had passion for the opportunities the college would pursue, and his passion was not easily derailed.

His life was guided by a deep, abiding faith that he carried quietly.

His memory and command of the details were his hallmark. I recall how one June morning in 1985, after our staff hosted a large elegant garden party for John Early Society donors, we stood around basking in the success of the previous evening. It was then that Father Joe called me to thank us for our efforts while complaining at some length about the bottleneck at the name tag table as guests arrived.

As I was leaving the Cathedral, sitting in the gridlock traffic as thousands who came to pay final respects waited to feed into one two-lane exit, I smiled at the thought of what the boss would have said about traffic control at his funeral.

Geraldine Daly Leder


Sun Lies

The April 24 article by James Rowley of the Associated Press about the weapons assembled by David Koresh is blatantly false.

It is legally impossible for a private citizen to purchase all the required parts by mail to assemble any firearm (pistol, rifle, shotgun or machine gun) and has been since 1968.

The alleged parts loophole accusation ignores the fact that the only way a private citizen can buy the most important component of a firearm -- the receiver portion, or frame -- is through a firearms dealer. Assembling a complete firearm without the receiver would be like trying to assemble an automobile or airplane without a frame to bolt all the other components onto.

Only Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders, usually gun dealers, can mail-order the receivers, and then they must comply with stringent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requirements.

Unless BATF issued Mr. Koresh an FFL, there is no way he could assemble a complete firearm by simply ordering parts.

Les Stanford, spokesman for BATF, should know better than to claim a private citizen can easily buy the required receiver at a local gun store without observing all federal, state and local laws without committing a felony. BATF already has the authority to arrest both the dealer and the buyer.

As for his claim that "gun aficionados" can purchase firearms receivers at flea markets, then he must attend different flea markets than I've seen.

I suppose The Sun had better stop running ads for flea markets now. I realize this may cause some inconvenience for legal flea market operators and customers, but The Sun has already established the precedent. At any rate, if anyone at a flea market or anywhere else is selling machine gun receivers, BATF should be out arresting them right now, since that has been illegal since 1934.

It is truly unfortunate to see blatant lies published in your newspaper. However, that seems to be the pattern in your continuous attacks on the private ownership of firearms.

Michael C. Dolder

Fort Meade

Who Shoots Whom

I can certainly understand Fred Davis' desire (letter, April 27) to cite authority to attempt to refute my statement that most of the dramatic rise in firearm-related deaths involve young persons up to no good harming similar victims. His sources do not refute my statement.

Neither the FBI nor its statistics have ever been used to claim that "a family member is 43 times more likely to be shot at in the home and seven of them killed by a gun for every intruder killed."

The study of local medical examiner's statistics was limited to one urban county and conducted by two physicians who excluded all non-fatal uses of firearms in the home.

Most of the "43" is comprised of suicides, not other family members. No data on non-fatal shootings were used, nor on protective uses of guns without shootings, which nationwide have been estimated at approaching 1 million annually.

And no General Accounting Office study has found that "138,400 people were shot at by children under six years old" in the last decade. The figure is ludicrous. Since "shot at" would include both with and without injury, no one has any idea what the figure is.

Since such children cannot legally commit crimes or suicide, those shootings would, by definition, be accidental, and persons are victims in fatal gun accidents about 50 times per year.

Moreover, most estimates -- pro-gun, anti-gun and neutral -- put the number of non-fatal shootings at three to 10 times the number of fatalities. Young children as shooters are probably less active than as victims, so the decade's total is probably well shy of 5,000.

A GAO study did come up with an incredible estimate of 105 non-fatal accidental injuries for each fatality, but not even that ludicrous figure would support Mr. Davis's 138,400.

Paul H. Blackman

Washington, D.C.

The writer is research coordinator of the National Rifle


The Structures of African-American Community

Robert C. Gumbs' comments April 25 about the problems of violence and economic stagnation in the African-American community are horrific.

He contends that the black community is devoid of structure, that many of the problems in the African-American community will not be solved by creation of jobs through federal aid and that we are the only ones who can solve our problems. He is disillusioned to the point of virtual blindness.

The African-American community is as diverse as any other community that exists in this city.

We are a product of the environment from which we came. If the environment is one in which we are nurtured with good schools, viable jobs and economic opportunities, then the end product is sure to be one which represents all that is good.

However, the opposite can be expected for any community where this is not the case.

By unfairly comparing the African-American community with those termed "structured," Mr. Cumbs makes a totally misconstrued point.

People who live in "structured" communities have jobs. Not only that, they have schools which have historically received ample funding. Their living, working and learning environments are the backdrop for endless economic opportunities which come through networking and training for gainful employment.

Consequently, they are able to give back to their communities monetarily and through volunteering.

There are neighborhoods in the African-American community which fall into the category of "structured." The same can be said of white, Jewish, Italian and Asian communities. Working-class people have common goals. They aspire and behave "normally." What is perceived as "structured" is only a commonality of goals.

However, what may be perceived as structure-less in some African-American communities is indeed "structured." There is a commonality of goals. There is a goal to struggle every day for mere survival in an environment where you and your children are perceived as burdens.

There is a goal to struggle and provide for one's basic needs: food, clothing, housing. There is a goal to break the cycle of poverty, inadequate housing, joblessness or low-waged jobs, and educational and economic deprivation.

Although these goals may not create a familiar structure, they are, in fact, goals and there is, in fact, a structure.

The misunderstanding that prevails in this society and the inability by some to deal with the issues at hand in the African-American community are evident in the unprecedented call for discontinuing aid for jobs from the federal government.

By terminating the opportunity for jobs, you terminate the hope for people from ever living, working or learning at a standard that is perceived as being "structured." You terminate the potential for people to exhibit behavior which is perceived as "normal."

The African-American community is not solely responsible for its TC predicament and cannot be held solely responsible for uplifting itself from the morass of deprivation it has been subjected to over the years.

. Lydia Nwafor


Work Release

A man convicted of murdering a city police officer is granted work-release privileges that allow him to visit family members at their homes.


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