Littwin's LewisYour columnist Mike Littwin has joined...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Littwin's Lewis

Your columnist Mike Littwin has joined those irresponsible journalists who sanctimoniously criticized the 1993 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon (Sept. 3) before it even was broadcast.

Mr. Littwin and those he quotes insult the tens of thousands of people the Muscular Dystrophy Association serves by implying that these adults would allow themselves or their children to be used and exploited in our broadcast.

The view expressed in the column is held by a tiny minority, which managed to muster some 200 demonstrators across the country, compared to hundreds of thousands of volunteers helping MDA over Labor Day weekend, tens of millions who tuned in and those who pledged a record $46 million.

MDA's telethon features many accomplished adults who have disabilities imposed by the neuromuscular diseases in MDA's programs. They discuss their lives candidly and willingly. They understand that the telethon's purpose is not to address a smorgasbord of disability rights issues, but to fight neuromuscular diseases, all of which destroy muscle and many of which drastically shorten lives.

In the interest of fairness, not to mention your obligation to adequately inform your readers, perhaps in the future your newspaper will try to cover all sides of the MDA story instead of just an uninformed view from the outside.

Robert Ross

Tucson, Ariz.

The writer is senior vice president and executive director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Club for Baldwin

Please be advised that, contrary to the implication in your Sept. 28 story ("Arnick chosen for old House seat 7 months after forfeiting judgeship"), Jacqueline Nelson was not representing the Battle Grove Democratic Club at the State Central Committee meeting on Sept. 27.

The 740-member Battle Grove Democratic Club had, in fact, endorsed Thomas Baldwin to fill our state delegate vacancy. Letters of this endorsement were mailed to Sen. Norman Stone and members of the State Central Committee.

Although denied recognition at this time, diligent support of Thomas Baldwin can be expected in the 1994 elections.

William A. Colburn

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Battle Grove Democratic Club of Baltimore County.

Get It Right

That there is need for some health care reform cannot be questioned.

However, it appears that the end result of the Clinton plan would be a technical bureaucratic euthanasia of a segment of the population because "treatment is not cost-effective."

Everyone, regardless of his station in life or age, is entitled to the right to life. This would include extending care when such care might only give another day or week or month of life. This does not mean mechanical life support systems.

That there is waste in the system can and should be addressed. Forms used by insurance companies can easily be standardized, thus creating savings. Perhaps savings can be achieved elsewhere.

On the other hand, this writer believes doctors are getting a bum rap in charging for their services. We do not blink an eye, when sports team participants earn as much in a week as most medical people earn in a year. This is just for playing the game and does not include endorsements or TV commercials. If an athlete fumbles a ball or commits an error, he is not sued by home team fanatics for "malpractice."

Hopefully, just because Congress is dominated by Democrats and we have a Democratic president, our legislative representatives will not blindly follow the leader but seriously look for solutions. It would be better to take time and do the job right than rush it through because the president has set a deadline for enacting "his" program.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Cardin's Place

In addition to being replete with internal inconsistencies, your Sept. 29 editorial "Cardin for Governor?" fails to provide a single positive reason that the understandably well-respected congressman should run for governor. Your main reasons seem to be that "fund-raising would be no trouble" and that politics requires risk-taking.

You have correctly described Representative Cardin as ". . . a highly regarded insider on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee with a key role in shaping health care legislation." You have also indicated that "losing Mr. Cardin in Congress would hurt the Maryland delegation's clout in the House . . ." Therefore, to use a cliche, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The space on your editorial page would be put to much better use by educating your readers as to the excellent qualifications and numerous accomplishments of Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening.

Mr. Glendening is as qualified to be governor as Mr. Cardin is to be a congressman -- and how nice it would be to have such highly qualified people occupying those two very important positions.

Lori Joy Eisner

Baltimore

Parochial Interests

Your Oct. 12 article on transportation funding mentions some interesting numbers.

There's a fight to get $25 million for MARC and $3.15 for light rail, yet nobody even questions $200 million for the Washington Metro. And they wonder why we in the Baltimore area won't trust a governor from the D.C. suburbs!

Stephen S. Howard

Lutherville

Gun Control

Your article (Oct. 7) on the New England Journal of Medicine study, claiming that having a gun in the house causes more homicides than homes without firearms have, has a serious flaw.

It studied only cases where homicides occurred. It did not look at the situation in which most home defensive use of firearms takes place. In more than half the cases where a firearm is used for self-defense, the gun is never fired.

The mere presence of the firearms by the occupant is sufficient to stop the crime from being committed. The homeowner merely informs the criminal that he is armed and the criminal, being a coward, flees and searches for other victims.

The Kleck-Gertz study of self-defense use of firearms at Florida State University showed that over 2.5 million times a year, firearms are used to prevent crimes.

Kleck and Gertz surveyed 5,000 households in America and found that the legal use of firearms to stop crimes from being committed was up significantly. In almost 1.9 million of these situations, handguns were used to prevent crimes from being perpetrated. In many of these scenarios no shots were fired, no one was injured.

The New England study looked at only three metropolitan areas and only 420 instances. They extended this, statistically, to the rest of the country. Meanwhile, the Kleck-Gertz study looked at situations in all of the states except Hawaii and Alaska. I submit that their study is the more thorough.

I also wonder why the results of this study, done in the spring, received no coverage in your paper. You would have to agree that the Florida State University study has scientific merit. It would have been reasonable to present both sides of this discussion.

Sanford M. Abrams

Silver Spring

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association.

As a Roman Catholic I was deeply disturbed to read that the Archdiocese of Baltimore plans to launch a massive petition campaign to promote stricter gun control laws this year ("Baltimore Archdiocese backs tougher gun laws," Oct. 7).

I was under the impression that this sort of embarrassing leftist activism by the clergy had ceased with the rest of the silliness of the 1960s.

I reject emphatically Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard's contention that gun control is a moral issue, and I challenge him to explain the convoluted thought processes and erroneous assumptions he used to arrive at such a conclusion.

The fact is that gun control cannot reduce crime -- not even crimes committed with guns. Bishop Ricard cannot cite one piece of evidence that stricter gun control laws have done so.

Guns, in common with chain saws, knives and screwdrivers, are inanimate objects that are not intrinsically evil despite the fact that they can be misused. Contrary to what Bishop Ricard may think, they also can be used for legitimate purposes. Controlling guns is no more an issue of morality than controlling any other implement.

Furthermore, love of neighbor and belief in the sanctity of human life are perfectly compatible with our right as Americans to use a firearm to protect our families and property from criminal assault.

Gun control is not a moral issue. It is a political issue that aims to unilaterally disarm respectable citizens.

The proposed new bill will, if passed, be onerous to the law-abiding only. It will have no effect whatever on the criminal elements that threaten church meetings and festivals.

The lawless will remain entirely unaffected by all gun legislation, no matter how tough.

Sebastian B. Zito Jr.

Timonium

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