Struck on Israel
Recently Americans were relieved to learn that the FBI had prevented Muslim extremists in New York from carrying out a horrific series of bombings and assassinations.
However, when Israel announced on June 5 that 124 armed and wanted Muslim extremists had been arrested after the murder this year of 24 Jews and 60 Arabs, The Sun's Doug Struck wrote a report on the subject criticizing Israel ("Day's crackdown total: 124 terrorist suspects, one dead farmer," June 7.)
In an article 27 column-inches long, Mr. Struck devoted 10.25 inches to mentioning and dismissing Israel's pride in her achievement as callous and self-serving.
He spent another 2.25 inches repeating Palestinian and International Red Cross criticisms of Israel's new security measures in the territories. He gave 14.5 inches, more than half of the space, to an emotional account of how one Arab farmer, who looked and acted like an armed extremist, had accidentally been killed in the security sweep.
Mr. Struck could not find a single word to describe Israel's success in arresting over 100 terrorists, thereby saving perhaps hundreds of lives and frustrating the efforts of extremists who employ violence as a means to try to derail the peace process.
Just as outrageous was Mr. Struck's more recent allegation ("Peace remote for Gaza under bloody Israeli crackdown/Israelis fuel Arab anger, not peace," June 21) that Israel, an eager party to the peace talks, is endangering the peace process by cracking down on those who are out to stop the negotiations.
The article cited the example of three innocent Gazan bystanders whose homes were wrecked by Israeli troops who were "searching for two suspects believed to be in the area."
The article omitted to say (A) the same two "suspects" were four actual terrorists, armed with rifles, handguns, commando knives and ammunition; (B) the Israelis evacuated civilians from the five adjoining houses, and (C) waited 12 hours, during which one Israeli soldier was wounded, before using anti-tank weapons to dislodge the terrorists, two of whom were captured. . . .
I am writing in response to the June 15 front-page news item about the sentencing of drug dealers responsible for 30 deaths due following use of "China White" or fentanyl.
It happens that my son, aged 21, was one of those victims. He was not a disadvantaged inner-city youth, but was the well-loved son of suburban parents and also loved and admired by many friends. For whatever reason, he unfortunately chose to try drugs.
I would like to suggest that the defense attorneys who said the sentence received by their clients was too "harsh" go to New Cathedral Cemetery and visit my son's grave and make a decision about who received the harsher sentence.
M. K. Cook
Having retired from the Baltimore County school system, I am always amazed by the qualifications used to hire new administrative personnel. Must all new superintendents have innovative ideas? Why must a system be changed in order to be better?
Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong with the Baltimore County school system. At least, there wasn't when I retired. Baltimore County always had the finest teachers in the business. The problem is the philosophy of present-day educators.
Today's administrator is trying to make a name for him/her self by instituting new and innovative programs that will revolutionize learning. Boards of education should send all prospective administrators who wish to change a system that is doing a respectable job on their way. These are the people who are destroying public education.
If the powers-that-be need proof, look to the private schools. They are spending less money but doing a much better job.
The administrators in the private schools recognize that there are certain aspects of education that are self-evident.
First, we must admit that all children are not educable, or at least not to the point of a high school diploma.
Second, we have many levels of intelligence.
Third, this is a highly competitive society. This competition must start in the schools. If we compete on the playing fields, we must compete in the classrooms. The successful person learns in school how to compete.
Fourth, education is not fun and games, as the contemporary educator would like you to believe. It is very demanding, hard and time-consuming.
Finally, as the private schools have proven, we must get back to basics.
Remember, at one time the private schools separated the rich from the poor. Not any more. Now they separate the good student from the poor student.
Parents are doing without so they can send their children to private schools. Private schools are recruiting public school students, not all for their athletic abilities.
This problem cannot be solved with money. It can only be solved with common sense.
Harry D. Minnick
Mount Union, Pa.
I do so enjoy reading George Will's articles. What a clever provocateur he is. His piece on the June 21 Opinion * Commentary page on "the roaring '50s" was classic take-us-back-to-the-good-ol'-days, conservative wishful-think.
But I believe that Americans have gotten increasingly fed up with the kind of polarizing, "rend us asunder" views which Mr. Will (and his fellow travelers Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh) espouse. We are hopefully past the times of intolerance which Mr. Will neglected to mention in his nostalgic review of the '50s: McCarthyite witch hunts, writer blacklists, segregated public facilities, coat-hanger abortions.
How about "atoms for peace"? I remember, as an elementary school kid in the '50s, the communal experience of putting our heads together, so to speak, under our desks to prepare for nuclear attack. Ah, nostalgia.
Mr. Will's selective dredging up of unfinished business from the '50s is indicative of the inferiority complex conservatives still apparently experience from having been intellectually marginalized; perhaps as apologists for the wealthy, acquisitive or greedy among us.
I am willing to credit the era of the 1950s with many positive trends; no particularly epoch is entirely with or without merit. The '50s were positive as a prelude to the hopefulness, idealism and expanded possibilities of the '60s. It is true that extremist elements flourished during that period as in other times, but our country was, and continues to be able to "find its center."
I believe and hope that we are in such a period of finding currently; (with no help from George Will) not, as conservatives seem to fear, a return to the excesses and mistakes of the '60s, but a healing process. Twenty years after Vietnam, isn't it high time? I think that President Clinton has the "right stuff" to bring this about, as demonstrated by his courage and words of healing at the Vietnam Memorial.
Many Americans were hopeful in November '92 that the scars and divisiveness of the recent ideology wars could be mended during this presidency, and we could stop "hating politics." Five months into this presidency Mr. Will leads the carping chorus. Hey, give us a break: Let's go forward together.
Instead of ending with "God bless the Prince of Wales," your recent editorial on the royal condition might well have ended, "God save the Prince of Wales," or possibly "God help the Prince of Wales."
Sweet, But Smelly, Revenge
As incongruous as it may seem, Jonathan R. Foley's piece (Opinion * Commentary, June 9) about informal dump sites and his success in determining the provenance of one particular pile gave me a good chuckle at the recollection of my sole foray into the world of guerrilla environmentalism.
The road on which I live, but for its being paved, can easily be identified for what it in fact is: a vestige of early 19th century Baltimore County road.
Its rural nature, so close to sprawling Towson, is a mixed blessing. My neighbors and I have constantly to remove everything from plastic bags to old tires -- on one occasion, the engine block from a Model A Ford.
About 10 years ago, while walking my dog, I watched in amazement as a station wagon drove by and stopped some 50 yards away.
The driver got out, opened the tailgate and proceeded to throw an immense garbage bag into the woods.
On spotting me, he took off in a cloud of tire smoke. The bag, having split open, revealed its odious contents: In addition to the usual coffee grounds and egg shells, in a great quantity of foul smelling newspapers, was unmistakable evidence of a new puppy -- one capable of astonishing levels of gastro-intestinal output.
Luckily, there was also quite a bit of discarded junk mail complete with the recipient's name and address.
While weighing the pros and cons of calling the police -- who, prior experience had shown, have more pressing matters to contend with -- the thought of vigilante justice crossed my mind.
On crossing it, it came right back and wouldn't go away. I drove to the address on the mail, spotted the station wagon in the driveway and went home with the intention of picking up the bag and returning it to its rightful owner.
That is, after all, what is expected of any good citizen on finding misplaced property.
Alas, when I got back, the station wagon had left. It was a Saturday, as I recall, and I thought someone might have been home anyway -- rang the bell, but no luck. I couldn't help but notice, however, there was quite a bit of space between the screen and main doors, so I just dumped the bag's contents there and went about my business.
It occurred to me later that perhaps the rightful owners may have wanted to offer me some small gratuity for having returned their property. I considered giving them a James Lasher call but, in the end, decided not to be greedy. Virtue, is after all, its own reward. . . .
My only regret, one that still haunts me, is that I couldn't have been a "fly on the wall" (as opposed to breeding in the puppy-paper) when the rightful owner returned.
What a shame there is no way to trace all discarded junk to its recent owner. At the risk of insulting a critter already much maligned, it's also a great pity otherwise ordinary folks are capable of being such pigs.
J. Wistar Huey III