Begin the day teaching character
I see that the focus is now again on character education in school curriculums. It should never have been taken out. What good is education without good character? It will make an educated fool.
I hope that the teaching of character is not confined to the last 15 minutes of the day, as it was when I taught six years ago.
As a retired teacher, I feel that character education should be taught at the beginning of the school day. The emphasis on a character trait a week could set the mood to begin the day of instruction.
I found that the last 15 minutes of the day were marred by last-minute announcements over the intercom, tying up last-minute details for the day, etc.
It was difficult to devote a thorough concentration on the teaching of character. Many teachers did not have time and the emphasis of the teaching of character education diminished. We need this innovation desperately.
Lola J. Massey
I applaud Baltimore City Councilman Martin O'Malley's efforts to increase the police commissioner's salary.
As a single person residing in Baltimore, the escalating murder/crime rate is of paramount concern to me.
I can only remain hopeful that the new police commissioner will be a person committed to being a visible and active force within our community, as well as being more accessible to the press.
With all the tax money that goes into police protection, we should be assured of a strong leader in the department. The new commissioner should be an advocate of putting more police on the streets and less in their cars.
If Baltimore is truly engaging in a nationwide search for a new police commissioner and is seeking one with strong leadership skills in the area of law enforcement, then the salary must be competitive on a national level.
A competitive salary will provide the incentive needed to attract the best and brightest innovators.
Diana L. Dalto
Jack Germond and Jules Witcover think that they're onto something by proposing more taxes on firearms, but why stop there?
We could increase the taxes on cars (they've killed more people than firearms). A 25 percent tax plus a $2,500 fee on dealers would go a long way to pay off the new health care bill.
But wait, there's more. Since most U.S. military misadventures are produced by jingoistic hype in the news media, we could tax newscasts and newspapers to repay the Pentagon. After all, some of the papers' writers felt that the Bill of Rights is not relevant any more.
Of course, you could say that it's unfair to punish the good drivers and papers of this country for the actions of drunks and saber-rattlers. Well, the millions of members of the National Rifle Association have been saying that for years.
Less than 2 percent of firearms in the U.S. are used illegally. If only cars were this safe.
The drug dealers causing the majority of firearms-related violence have their own supply system and will not be affected by waiting periods, taxes or bans.
People who import cocaine by the ton will have no problem getting all the guns they need.
Gun safety bucks
$2.5 million to the National Rifle Association and private gun clubs to teach shooting skills to young people, but nothing to Medicaid to fund abortions for the indigent? Come on, give me a break.
Are there now not enough young people shooting other people, young and old, that we have to spend our tax dollars to teach young people shooting skills?
The National Rifle Association, with its millions in revenue and its national clout, does not need my tax dollars to finance its programs. This is just another boondoggle catering to the dollars this infamous organization spreads around to those 242 weak-kneed congressional representatives who voted to continue this subsidy.
What does this have to do with our national economy? We subsidize tobacco growers with millions, then we spend millions teaching Americans what a killer tobacco is. Now we are spending millions to teach children how to shoot.
The indigent do not have the clout to spend the millions it would take to convince our representatives in Washington that to fund abortions for the poor is good economics, but the NRA has the millions plus my tax dollars to finance its programs.
I want to ask our Washington lawmakers two questions that beg answers:
If even one of these young people being taught "shooting skills" with my tax dollars kills another person, will you be able to sleep tonight?
When more and more poor teen-agers have unwanted children, will you fund additional tax dollars for their welfare?
I was saddened and disheartened by the depiction of the residents of Dundalk in Mike Lane's Sept. 29 editorial cartoon.
His attempt to characterize the voters who elected Del. John Arnick as bar-stool-sitting, cigarette-smoking, tattoo-showing, beehive-headed, bellybutton-bulging, sensitivity-deprived, fashion failures bears absolutely no reality to the wonderful friends and neighbors that I have known for over 50 years.
No doubt, when Delegate Arnick runs for re-election, he will have much to answer for.
Thankfully, he will be given an opportunity to give those answers to the hard-working, law-abiding, church-going, family-oriented, fair-minded voters of Dundalk.
William A. Fogle Jr.
Child health month
The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared October to be Child Health Month to recognize important issues affecting the health and welfare of the nation's youth.
At a time when health care is high in the public consciousness, we should remind ourselves that health care for children has often suffered in the wake of the so-called financial crisis of the American health system. Kids' health care has not contributed to the deficit.
The academy's 45,000 members, 3,500 of which are in the Baltimore-Washington area, promote the health, safety and welfare of our youngsters.
This month we highlight the need to fully immunize all children, protect them from the violence of the street and the success of the media, prevent teen-aged pregnancy and halt the scourge of substance abuse.
We also bid the public's attention to accident prevention, especially through the use of car seats and bike riders' helmets.
The children of this community are its most important and fragile resource. Let's cooperate to protect our kids.
Daniel J. Levy, M.D.
The writer is chairman of the public relations committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Maryland chapter.