To the Op-Ed
Sun reporter Doug Struck has been unfairly criticized by your pro-Zionist readers. Our great American tradition of freedom of the press guarantees The Sun a perfect right to print any opinions it chooses, anywhere it likes.
But I think it would be fairer to Mr. Struck and to your readers to elevate his writings to the op-ed page.
The National Rifle Association is simply wonderful in its ability to twist the truth to serve its own purposes.
In a letter June 28, Jane F. Caplan noted that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution harkens back to the days when each of the original colonies had a militia composed of able-bodied citizens for police protection.
Ms. Caplan made the point that "no court had ever struck down a gun law" on Second Amendment grounds, and that the Constitution's "right to bear arms" cited ad nauseam by the NRA does not prohibit control of firearms.
The NRA's Mark H. Overstreet writes (letter, July 6) to assert that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in fact struck down provisions of the National Firearms Act on that basis.
However Mr. Overstreet fails to tell your readers that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939 (U.S. vs. Miller) unanimously reversed the Arkansas lower court, upholding the validity of the Firearms Act and in fact ruling that the Second Amendment was not an impediment to reasonable regulation of firearms. Justice James McReynolds declared the constitutional argument "plainly untenable."
Were Mr. Overstreet an attorney, his reference to the lower court decision without mentioning its reversal would be deemed unethical . . .
Michael A. Pretl
The writer is president of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, Inc.
Are we in society to turn our heads and cough at the travesty of justice handed to Kirk Noble Bloodsworth?
It seems we are not only to ignore the humiliation this man suffered, but we are openly cloaking the true issues at hand through a smoke screen of local media's angle of the benefits of DNA testing.
We turn our heads because we cheered, as did the courtroom nine years ago when this man, one of us, was not once but twice wrongfully convicted.
We wanted someone to pay for the murder of little nine-year-old Dawn Venice Hamilton, and we wanted the streets to be safe again for our children at the price of a man's life.
As part of this society, I am embarrassed.
Lisa Dawn Kelly
As chairman of the Baltimore County senators, I am speaking for myself and the majority of senators to clarify our position on the controversy concerning Superintendent Stuart Berger and the Baltimore County school board.
Uppermost in our minds is that in a matter of weeks Baltimore County students will return to their schools to begin the 1993-94 school year.
We do not want them to return to a system in chaos and will do everything we can to keep that situation from occurring.
It has been pointed out that the groundwork for most of the changes proposed by Dr. Berger were begun during former Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel's tenure and contained in a 1989 blueprint for Baltimore County schools, called "Great Expectations for 2000."
However, the fast and furious pace at which Dr. Berger sought to implement major changes, completely ignoring parental input, transformed parents, accustomed to the more deliberate and diplomatic pace of Dr. Dubel, into an angry mob demanding the ouster of Dr. Berger and the entire school board. Many are calling for the establishment of an elected school board.
Although these solutions may prove appropriate in the long run, all are drastic and none can be enacted within a few weeks and be in place, operating effectively, when the school year begins.
Therefore, as I see it, we must attempt to establish the communication, sadly lacking so far, between parents and teachers on the one hand, and Dr. Berger and the school board on the other.
The Baltimore County senators' July 6 meeting with Dr. Berger and the board was an initial attempt to do just that. We wanted to hear their side of it. We wanted to know why it was necessary to move so fast and bypass parental input on so many school issues.
At that meeting the board announced the formation of a task force to examine two areas of public criticism: the placement of handicapped students in neighborhood schools and the demotion, reassignment or firing of several principals and assistants by Dr. Berger.
Initially, I regarded the board's response as a positive sign it intends to operate in a spirit of cooperation with parents and teachers.
But the board's action in voting to confirm the demotions, reassignments and firings immediately after they announced the formation of the task force, and despite our request to hold off on such a vote, bears out the skepticism voiced by some of my colleagues, many of my constituents and most of the parents and teachers about the sincerity of the board's intentions. I, too, am now skeptical. The board is sending mixed messages.
All of us want the best possible education for our children. There is no guarantee that a new school board, or a new superintendent or an elected school board will produce the quality of education we want.
Sound decisions and policy are born in a climate of reason and communication. It is essential that we establish that climate.
I am hopeful that we can bring order to the chaos and not be forced to resort to drastic measures.
The writer represents the 8th Legislative District in the state Senate.
Question: A person carelessly commits an act which causes severe injury to someone on the sidelines. When the perpetrator is made aware of the serious damage, he apologizes. Does an act of apology negate the broken leg?
Benjamin Chavis, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is, from all reports, a very intelligent man. His record of civic involvement and activism denotes that he is a thinking man and street smart.
There is little doubt that he was unaware of the impact of his endorsement of Charlotte, N.C., for a National Football League expansion team, thereby ingratiating himself to his native state and to Jerry Richardson, prospective owner of the Carolina Panthers, with whom he had signed a sweetheart deal beneficial to the NAACP.
Such an action was reminiscent of many of today's young people whose parents shower them with valuables, hoping such actions will generate some respect and loyalty if not love. The attitude of the child: "Sure. You gave me something yesterday, but what have you done for me today?"
Dr. Chavis was not a recipient of Baltimore City's largess offered to attract the NAACP national office to Baltimore. He has no allegiance or duty to respect or honor such a deal; he was not the recipient of any "sweetheart deal" with Baltimore City.
The apology to local Baltimore City leaders was perfunctory, a gesture which hopefully would make the injured forget the injury. Hopefully, citizens of Baltimore would continue to support the NAACP rather than show their disgust at Dr. Chavis' snub by withdrawing their NAACP memberships or refusing to join at membership time.
George Buntin, executive director of the Baltimore chapter, recognized this likelihood and dared to criticize Dr. Chavis and ask for an apology to Baltimore City.
Well, maybe the apology will ameliorate the psychic pain, especially, for African-Americans whose "leaders" plant seeds to nurture such amelioration.
But then the action to lessen the blow of the first created another "broken leg." The governor, who played a major role in bringing the NAACP headquarters to Baltimore, was not invited to the press conference to discuss one of his major projects.
Someone out of the cadre of great African-American minds and "leaders" must have realized the idiocy of such an action. Puck, nothing has changed: "What fools these mortals be."
Isaiah C. Fletcher Sr.