In JeopardyIf you think driving up Charles...


In Jeopardy

If you think driving up Charles Street past Penn Station or trying to let off a passenger from a car there is dangerous (editorial, Oct. 15), you ought to try being a pedestrian who needs to cross Charles at Oliver in order to get to Bolton Hill or Light Rail! Several hundred commuters face this situation twice a day.

It's always been dicey, what with drivers trying to exit Charles onto Jones Falls Expressway. If you cross in front of the station (there was a pedestrian crossing light there before construction began; currently there isn't) you still have to play chicken with drivers in a hurry to get onto the ramp.

If you go further down Charles to Oliver and cross, you've got three lanes of manic drivers, the left lane speeding up to get onto the expressway, especially at rush hour.

With the construction, the danger has increased exponentially. Now you not only have three lanes of traffic to get across, but you have a line of taxis at your back, moving up to catch the next passenger at the station, and nightmarish congestion from the station back to Mount Royal Avenue.

Does someone have to be killed before the city takes notice that a dangerous situation exists? Couldn't a crosswalk and pedestrian-activated traffic light be installed at the intersection of Oliver so we can get home safely?

Even when construction is finished, we who try and alleviate traffic problems by taking the train rather than driving will still be put in unreasonable jeopardy every time we try and cross Charles.

I know Baltimore is not particularly pedestrian-friendly. But this is one situation that could be fairly easily alleviated. City officials -- come take a look at this mess, please!

Sally Russell


Much Still Unknown About Breast Cancer

I was delighted to read Jamie Mendlovitz' Oct. 9 letter, "Race for the Cure."

Ms. Mendlovitz poses the question of why the emphasis on early breast cancer detection, when early detection in women below the age of 50 is unreliable. Even when detected early, a significant number of breast cancer patients do not survive as long as might be imagined or hoped, given the pronouncements of public health officials and advertisements for the use of mammograms.

She also asks why, if only 10 percent of breast cancers are genetically caused, is our research not shifting emphasis from detection and "cure" to causation?

As a social scientist, I know how difficult it is to shift priorities, when the status quo is rewarding financially and offers much status as well as opportunity to researchers and providers of services and medication.

I don't profess to know just how priorities in this regard can be rearranged without causing major tremors that would reverberate throughout the economy. But I do suggest that individuals with cancer let themselves claim the right to gather their own information and not be intimidated by media hyperbole or threats by medical practitioners about the dangers of "noncompliance."

Because I detected my cancerous breast lump when I was pregnant with my first child (at age 44), I thought long and hard about whether to opt for the then current procedures of modified radical mastectomy followed by radiation or chemotherapy.

My research led me to concepts and treatments not commonly publicized or understood, and I have survived over 14 years and am not "terminal" yet. Nor was my lump at all small or detected early.

In fact, I waited 15 months to have it removed, by which time I had plenty of opportunity to come to terms with this rather formidable threat to my life. Since no two cancer patients have exactly the same medical problem, this proves nothing more than that there is much that we simply do not know.

We should stop being scared into spending our energies and our funds on relatively fruitless and sometimes destructive or misleading endeavors. We must be disabused of the notion that if we only "pay our dues," we will be "cured."

The solution lies in prevention of a much broader scope than just "detection," which, of course, is not prevention at all.

One strong motivation for writing this letter is to make contact with Ms. Mendlovitz.

Helene Hirschler



Having just attended the Republican State Convention in Cumberland and addressed the delegates along with Rep. Helen Bentley and Del. Ellen Sauerbrey, I had thought the weekend the most positive, upbeat state GOP gathering in years.

Not so! According to your Oct. 19 editorial, "State Republicans in Disarray," we are "troubled . . . veering to the right," and running the risk of finding ourselves "overwhelmed." All this because Bob Neall, a fine candidate and The Sun's putative nominee for the past three years, now refuses to run.

Were we at the same gathering?

The one part of your editorial that does make sense is your view that "the GOP must move toward the center of the political spectrum to reach independents and discontented Democrats if it is to win statewide."

In that regard, I refer you to my statement at the convention that "we need for Baltimore City the fighting example of Jersey City's Republican mayor, Brett Schundler.

"But we don't have to look that far. We can return, as we should, to the example of that fine Republican mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin.

"And in his tradition, I vow to make revitalization of our hopeless inner cities the same high priority that once was given to redevelopment of the Inner Harbor."

I note of course your assertion that my "main claim to fame" is my 40 percent vote "against an unpopular incumbent." Really, you should do a little research into your own Sun files.

On Oct. 15, 1990, just three weeks and one day before the 1990 general election, Gov. William Donald Schaefer led me 69-to-18 percent, and had a 69 percent approval rating.

I gained 33 points of that 51 point disparity in the time remaining. And the governor's approval rating fell after the election.

The Sun need not fear the inevitable shift of power in Maryland politics toward the more populous counties and away from Baltimore. You will only become less relevant if what you have to say is not based on what is going on in Maryland beyond Calvert Street . . .

Bill Shepard


The writer is a candidate for governor.

The Equalizer

Regarding the Oct. 17 article on the National Rifle Association's targeting of women as a new market, I have to give you a hearty "Hooray!"

You see, I am a person whose wife is a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is located in the center of one of the most crime-ridden areas of Baltimore. I am very concerned for her safety, since several of her friends (doctors and nurses alike) have been mugged and assaulted right in the Hopkins garage. . . .

The fact is that to deny a woman the possession of a firearm is to place her at the distinct disadvantage of an aggressor who is physically stronger, probably armed and, because he possesses a predatory mentality, very willing to commit the most violent acts on her.

We all know it happens, because your paper reports these crimes every day. Because she is at both a physical and attitudinal disadvantage, some form of equalizer is necessary when a woman finds herself the victim of violent crime and needs to protect her life.

Yet you and other liberals would deny this person their constitutionally-guaranteed right to self-defense because you are uncomfortable with the concept as it applies to you. You believe that the government should protect you, but it obviously can't. So you advocate the enactment of more laws anyway.

In effect, you have made a decision for the female victim, saying that she has no right to defend herself against a male aggressor; that she must resign herself to being a victim or being dead simply because she was not born with the physical attributes which may have saved her life. It has been said that God created man; Samuel Colt made him equal. I subscribe to this theory now more than ever, because I love my wife and want to see her at the end of every shift.

Harry L. DeBusk II



"A Cricket's ISO Ad." What a delightful story (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 11). I hope Isaac Rehert will continue to come out of retirement to share his thoughts, keen observations and humor with us.

Ingeborg B. Weinberger


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