In response to Willis Case Rowe's letter of Oct. 21, criticizing my letter of Oct. 13 welcoming National Guardsmen to city streets: Please let me rephrase myself.
What I meant to say, and what many city residents no doubt read into my letter, is that I would applaud any attempts by any authority to curb crime in the city, even if it meant walking by a guardsman every morning as I took my children to school.
Maybe the answer to crime isn't to station a guardsman on every corner. I'll concede that. I'm a veteran of the U.S. Army, and I know that putting on military uniform does not make a person any more than human.
But until we can station Robocops at every trouble spot in the city, I will settle for harsher sentences for criminals and better treatment for drug offenders, and any constitutional and legal measures to keep guns out of their hands; more police officers on the streets; more involved parents; and a spirit of community and concern that reaches beyond the Baltimore City limits.
Pamela J. Yeckley
Thank you for the recent editorial criticizing the "investigation" of the Waco matter. The attorney general and the FBI have again declared approval of their own decisions in a crisis costing the lives of 25 innocent children.
They do not hold themselves to blame for the deaths of dozens of harassed people by provoking the religious cult to mass murder/suicide. I think the news media have been too easy on our government workers. Is this due to the hippie-likeness of the Branch Davidian cult?
By choosing a starting point in this inquest at which the killing of four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents by David Koresh's followers had already occurred, we were presented with a supposedly hopeless and dangerous situation.
Had the investigation begun at an earlier starting point, it would be found that we were dealing with a nose-thumbing demonstration and other victimless manifestations of civil disobedience.
The first dangerous provocation was the initial military blockade of the Branch Davidian compound for the perceived infringement of firearms regulations and other non-capital crimes. Surely, Janet Reno can give us a more candid opinion of these early actions since the first real errors were made prior to her watch.
President Clinton could have called off or modified the original blockade of the compound but was (and still is) trying to avoid criticism by the military in the wake of the base closings and the gays-in-the-military debate. Then there is the baggage of bygone days of Vietnam war protests.
Forgetting that we elected him in full recognition of these factors, he appeared to have relinquished his prerogatives to a new attorney general who had just assumed office after some earlier false starts, and who was still enjoying a media honeymoon.
Finally, the commander-in-chief seemed to be helpless to prevent the FBI from the absurd pumping of massive quantities of tear gas through the side of the compound building with a monstrous contraption. What horrible consequences.
The buck does not stop with Janet Reno. We did not elect her.
Arthur L. Gudwin
Isn't it great to read of a leader trying to solve our big problems instead of golfing or sailing most of the time?
Julia Yohn Pickett
Rights and Wrongs
As I listen to the Clintons' comments on their health care plan, I'm hearing of another "right" that the American people supposedly have. What the Clintons are saying is that we have a right to the abilities and hard work of others.
The only rights we truly possess are our natural rights: life and the freedom to choose how we as individuals will live.
One can find this documented in the Bill of Rights. Any other rights, such as gay rights, black rights, women's rights, etc., are at the cost of someone's individual rights -- in this instance, the natural rights of doctors.
As individuals, they choose their profession. If successful in pursuit of the ability to practice their profession, they should resist the collectivist nature of this president.
The rest of us, who happen not to be doctors, should resist also. What is at stake is a bit more of our freedom in the name of the common good.
Richard D. Walter
True Colts Fans
Being a sports fan living in the Washington, D.C., area is frustrating. With no baseball and a sold-out Redskins stadium, it's just no fun. For this reason I was drawn to Baltimore.
I was a Baltimore Colts season ticket holder from 1978 through 1983, the last years they played in Baltimore.
Baltimore deserves a team, and former Colts season tickets holders deserve the respect to be the first ones asked to renew season tickets for the new team in 1995. After all, we were the last of the die-hards of Baltimore football.
Let's do it the right way and respect the really true fans of Baltimore.
David F. Franciosi
A Way Out
It was gratifying to see the Oct. 10 article about organizations and ministries that help those looking for a way out of the gay and lesbian life. The existence of such groups is largely ignored in the general media, and many men and women who could benefit from the help they offer remain unaware that there is an alternative to simply accepting their homosexuality and seeking contentment in it.
I would like to correct an inaccuracy or two that cropped up in the article.
Exodus International is not a centralized organization with chapters. Rather it is a loose umbrella group that draws together almost 100 autonomous ministries in the U.S. and several foreign countries, helping these ministries support one another in their common purpose, which is helping gay and lesbian strugglers effect change in their lives.
"Ex-gay" is a term often used in describing this kind of ministry, but it is a profoundly inadequate characterization of the process.
In the Baltimore-Washington area there are ministries associated with Exodus International. One is Regeneration, headquartered in Baltimore. Regeneration also has an office in Fairfax, Va.
Another ministry, Transformation, is located in the District of Columbia and is the group identified as the Washington "chapter" of Exodus in the article.
Regeneration has been in operation in the Baltimore-Washington area for 15 years. It has helped a great many people during that time.
Lives have been changed. Despair has been turned to joy for a lot of men and women.
Has it worked for everyone? Not by a long shot. Without heavy commitment and a deep desire there can be no change. It is a personal choice -- and a life-giving one.
Intruder in The Sun
Your Opinion * Commentary page had an interesting piece discussing some of the merits and a little bit of history relative to the proposed name for the new NFL franchise in Baltimore -- the "Bombers" -- on Oct. 12.
The writer correctly identified the Martin B-26 "Marauder" as having been built at the Glenn L. Martin (now Martin-Marietta) facility at Middle River.
Unfortunately the photo editor, probably much younger, selected a picture of the North American A-20 "Intruder" to accompany the article.
Those of us who remember as youngsters being able to identify all the American combat aircraft from "silhouette cards" would appreciate a picture of the old B-26.