Rockfish possess a strange and mystical power. They make normal, courteous, thoughtful and God-fearing individuals into psychotic, unthinking, uncaring fish worshipers.
In their quest for a fish, they will endanger themselves and others. I saw three heavyweights in a 14-foot john boat, which is a shallow aluminum boat, in a 30-miles-per-hour wind, five miles from shore.
The preacher-type person in a 40-foot boat that followed me closely became incensed when the anglers in my charter boat caught six fish at one time.
He threatened to do unspeakable things to his wife and children, if they did not catch on my next drop -- we drop live eels on the schools of fish.
However, I could not return to the spot where the fish were because of the parade of small, large and in-between boats that tagged behind.
The fall rockfish season should require a hunting license.
Charter boats hunt the rock and the so-called sportsmen hunt the charter boats. Protective gear should be required for all.
Capt. Ed Darwin
Your Sept. 29 editorial, "Mikulski's Misfire at Sitting Ducks," is a gross misrepresentation of Sen. Barbara Mikulski's action regarding the hunting of captive-reared mallards on regulated shooting areas in Maryland, the Department of Natural Resource's position on this issue, and hunting on regulated shooting areas.
The Department of Natural Resources fully endorses the Fish and Wildlife Service's review of captive mallard releases but does not support measures that would change the regulations under which regulated shooting areas operate, without clear evidence that such operations adversely affect wild waterfowl and other natural resources of the state. Senator Mikulski's action reflects a similar concern.
Regulated shooting areas within Maryland provide many thousands of acres of wintering habitat for waterfowl which would not exist were it not for the efforts of the owners and operators of these areas. In addition, they provide for many thousands of hours of wholesome outdoor recreation.
It is incorrect to characterize the mallards that are released on regulated shooting areas as "sitting ducks." The vast majority of them act like wild birds and do not remain just on regulated shooting areas.
As high as 60 percent of all mallards in a hunter's bag limit that are shot on land open to the public in Dorchester County are mallards that were released on regulated shooting areas. Characterizing such activity as "blasting away at hapless captive mallards" is totally false.
Hunters have long been the leaders in the conservation of the wildlife resources from which everyone benefits. They have imposed limits on themselves when resources were in need of conservation and have contributed money, time and work to enhance and protect wildlife habitat for the animals they wish to hunt and for other wildlife as well.
As an example, Maryland now has more deer than at any time in history. To portray hunters as being only interested in shooting animals is a gross disservice to their actions.
Torrey C. Brown
The writer is Maryland secretary of Natural Resources.
How To Nip Violence in the Bud
In your Oct. 11 editorial, "Guns: A Health and Moral Issue," you advocate stricter gun control laws as "a reasonable beginning" to curbing the epidemic of "gun madness" and shootings.
You state that the passage of the Brady Bill could lead to "a series of more restrictive statutes" and "this is the way it could and should be." You also refer to a letter from the members of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center to support this position.
No one would dispute that easy access to guns is a problem. However, it is unlikely that stricter gun control laws will significantly deter the youthful violence which plagues our nation.
As I indicated in a letter to the editor July 3, unless we attack the real causes of violence, this epidemic will continue to run rampant.
The members of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center correctly identified some of the reasons why children become violent. Unfortunately, this portion of their letter is given minimal consideration.
As these writers correctly indicate, we do not know all the causes of violence. However, we certainly know enough to begin attacking the real issues leading to the resolution of this problem.
The reality is that violence is spawned by children who are reared in emotional, social and material poverty. They soon learn that they are unlikely to compete successfully in society.
Early educational failure, the lack of training in developing self-discipline and good impulse control and a strong sense of inferiority are at the root of the violence problem.
Children brought up under these conditions become pervasively and increasing angry and hostile. They eventually displace their negative feelings onto peers, authority figures and even society itself.
In essence, youngsters who develop violent personalities "don't care." Their bravado and street toughness are what give meaning to their twisted, impoverished lives. They are antagonists who are not emotionally invested in the system. In fact, their disdain and arrogance are a badge of courage that they proudly display and which they will defend at all cost.
The trouble with our continued insistence and over-reliance on stricter gun control laws is that it avoids dealing with the real issues. Controls are simply a Band-aid which becomes self perpetuating.
We often waste time, money, personnel and energy developing more legislation and more laws rather than dealing with the obvious causes of violence. The truth is that children are not born violent. They are reared to be that way. If we don't wake up and face this reality, violence will continue to be an epidemic both now and in the future.
Lastly, I would like to emphasize two points which I made in my earlier letter.
First, if we want to curb violence, we need to strengthen law TC enforcement by providing the manpower and resources necessary to deter criminality. This sends an immediate message to violent offenders that such behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Second, we need to upgrade and support programs that help wayward youth and dysfunctional families. If we nip violence in the bud, we can prevent its occurrence in the future.
Obviously our resources are limited and must be used wisely. Let's not waste them on superficial "quick fixes" that fail to address the real problems.
Weapons of Choice
It was truly sad to see the recent headlines regarding 1993's deadliest day ("Five slayings add up to Baltimore's deadliest day of 1993," Oct. 8).
Yet I wonder if anyone noticed that not one of the unfortunate victims died of a gunshot wound. Four died from arson and one was stabbed to death.
How ironic, as cries for gun control increase, that Baltimore can achieve such a dubious distinction without the firing of a single shot.
Wayne G. Norris
Patrick Ercolano's Sept. 26 article, "Baltimore County School Board Cools Elected-Board Drive," did a fine job of outlining the issues surrounding elected vs. appointed school boards. It also points out the dangers of changing our current system without adequate study and consideration.
The Baltimore County League of Women Voters has been concerned, since its founding over 50 years ago, with maintaining a public school system that can provide a quality education for our children.
As an example of our concern, we recently co-sponsored, with The Sun's Baltimore County office, a public forum on education at which policy makers and experts in education spoke about the flexibility local jurisdictions have in running their schools, new ideas in education (such as magnet schools and multi-age groupings) and the Baltimore County school system's goals for the year 2000.
Baltimore County league members have addressed several times the issue of how school board members should be selected.
We support the School Board Nominating Convention process, whereby delegates from over 10 organizations recommend candidates to the governor for appointment. The governor has, over the past 30 years, usually appointed board members from those candidates.
We believe this system provides Baltimore County residents with a way to participate in selection of school board members and reduces the potential for political influence.
We urge those who share our concern about maintaining a high-quality public school system in Baltimore County to get involved in the current process of selecting school board members. You can do so by joining PTAs, the league and other civic organizations that take part in the School Board Nominating Convention.
The writer is the president of the Baltimore County office of the League of Women Voters.
Talk to the IRA
As a visitor to Baltimore from Ireland, I note with dismay your headline "IRA told it must end violence before talks" (Oct. 11).
Your rather limited report would have been more authentic had your paper taken the trouble to assess the general reaction to the Hume-Adams peace initiative.
The negative response from Patrick Mayhew is predictable and contains nothing new.
Of course the Irish Republican Army will lay down their arms, when the British army do likewise and the British government calls in the legally held guns in the hands of loyalist death squads, who have killed 15 nationalist people in the past few months.
The Hume-Adams discussion has outlined broad principles for consideration by both the Dublin and London governments.
In general, reaction to the statement by John Hume and Gerry Adams has been positive, and it was welcomed by the vast majority of the Irish people, as the first steps in the progress toward peace.
It is the most significant happening in the current 25-year conflict and particularly since most recognize that British government policy in Ireland has utterly failed.
It is high time the U.S. media came out from under the shadow of the British desk and used their editorial goodwill to influence a peaceful resolution to Ireland's 900-year conflict.
The Israeli government talked to the PLO. The British government will talk to the IRA. That is inevitable. Let us speed up the process.
Derry, Northern Ireland
The writer is a Sinn Fein member of Derry City Council.