Schmoke and the Drug ApologistsRe: the International...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Schmoke and the Drug Apologists

Re: the International Cities Conference hosted by Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the Drug Policy Foundation, a drug apologist group.

It is astonishing that Mayor Schmoke has aligned himself with the drug culture and a small group of elitists and Ivy League intelligentsia (who love social experimentation without regard to the cost in dollars or human tragedy) who promote legalization of an unhealthy, illegal lifestyle. What odd bedfellows!

How disturbing that Mayor Schmoke would accept a $100,000 award from these deep pockets miscreants who, if they succeed, would bring a plague upon our nation that would decimate the inner city and gravely wound our suburban population.

They simply refuse to learn from the experiences of England and Switzerland, which have tried decriminalization/legalization and paid a dear price (use increased by multiples, as did crime rates and health consequences/costs) for the adventure.

Switzerland is taking a second run at harm reduction, and the Netherlands have informally decriminalized hashish. In a few years, we'll have two more spectacular failures to provide us with the evidence that all drug use outside of legitimate medical use is, in fact, abuse.

The pseudo public health/responsible use/harm reduction alternative is simply a recipe for a national disaster.

In 1989, a study was conducted at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services in Baltimore during which all patients received with major trauma injuries were tested for detectable levels of marijuana in their blood. Of the 1,023 patients received during the specified time frame, 34 percent tested positive for marijuana.

In 1987, a train crash that occurred in Chase, Md., was caused by an engineer who was under the influence of marijuana at the time. That careless act cost 16 people their lives, injured 175 others and caused $17 million in property damage.

A recent study conducted by juvenile justice authorities in Washington revealed that 42 percent of the juveniles arrested tested positive for the presence of marijuana (up from 13 percent the previous year).

Their conclusion is that there appears to be a correlation between marijuana use and the arrestees' criminal activity. It has been proven that marijuana can cause low birth weights and developmental problems in infants born to users.

Some scientists believe that, when all the science is in, it will be proven that there is a Fetal Marijuana Syndrome and Effect, similar to that of alcohol.

Yet, Mayor Schmoke and his band of users, elitists and theorists advocate making this dreadful, toxic substance legally available and, thus, more easily accessible and acceptable.

What toll in human tragedy must accrue before they deem their (( drug of choice unacceptable?

The increase in drug use that would accompany decriminalization/legalization would cause a dramatic rise in health damage and the associated health costs (currently estimated to be 25 percent or over $200 billion of the total current health expenditures).

Expanded drug use would result in a decrease in the quality of life, e.g., increased random and family violence committed by persons on drugs, accidents caused by drug-impaired drivers/equipment operators, loss of productivity and increased related costs by workers, higher infant mortality and drug-damaged children to care for and to try to educate.

The never-to-be-realized mental and physical potential of young

and future generations is simply a price too dear to pay for surrender.

The drug culture seeks to confuse, divide and, thus, conquer the straight society. We must act to stop this schizophrenic behavior and work to break the cycle of use, damage and addiction.

We need to commit ourselves to expend as much money, time and effort on prevention and treatment as we do on law enforcement.

When we mount such a three-pronged attack with the full support of the family, schools, community, churches, employers, health care providers and all levels and agencies of government, then we will make the inroads and strides necessary to excise the cancer of drug use from our society.

Wayne J. Roques

Miami

The writer is demand reduction coordinator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division.

Meat Eaters, Unite!

Just as your readers are informed about the source of this letter, so should they be informed about the source of the anti-meat claims in an Oct. 22 letter from Alex Hershaft.

Mr. Hershaft heads a radical animal-rights group that is totally outside the mainstream of nutrition science as well as animal science.

Unable to persuade many people to accept his no-animal-product diets, he resorts to false claims about meat's healthfulness as well as its production methods.

We suggest that Mr. Hershaft look no further than the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to see that the nation's real health experts continue to recognize the positive role of lean, trimmed, nutrient-dense beef and other meats in healthful diets.

For example, scientists on an expert panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program pointed out that "red meats are a rich source of protein, zinc and absorbable iron" and that "reasonable amounts of lean meat can be included in a diet designed to lower blood cholesterol."

They said it is not necessary to eliminate meats or drastically reduced lean red meat consumption.

The committee approving the report was made up of representatives from 27 major health organizations, including the American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, American College of Cardiology and American Medical

Association.

Elizabeth Johnson

Washington

K? The writer represents the National Cattlemen's Association.

Teen Drinking

What a wrenching postscript to the Nov. 1 "Don't Worry, Dad" column by Tim Baker and three subsequent letters of outrage against his views, to see only days later the account of the six-injury car accident at Cromwell and Oakleigh Roads.

Five -- not one but five -- under-age (16 and 17) drinking teens hit another driver head-on, putting one boy in the hospital in critical condition.

Some adult, either friend or family, had probably bought the alcohol, condoning behavior in the same way that it was accepted in Mr. Baker's column.

This should send a red alert to parents (something like this happens in most school communities once or twice a year) to have the courage of their convictions and not cop out with wishy-washy solutions that are permissive, damaging and illegal.

It's time to call out the parent networks, the safe house lists, the party busters, SADD, MADD, the ghost days, the youth conference, the PTSA programs, the heart-to-hearts (and mean them), the curfews, the creative alternative activities, the parent role-modeling and, yes, lie awake waiting for them to arrive safely and soberly home.

When one child is injured or killed while drinking and driving, it's everyone's child.

Marge Mitchell

Cub Hill

Student Power

A student at one of Baltimore's high schools recently told his teacher that if she didn't give him a pass to the bathroom, he was going to pull her dress off.

Upon hearing that, another boy jumped on the back of the first one, screaming, "Don't you talk like that to my woman! Don't you talk like that to my mother. Don't you talk like that to my sister!"

After pulling the second kid off the first, I started to think about the incident. It occurred to me that perhaps what we really need is more of the same.

Maybe it's time for the students to take back the schools. Maybe it's time for the vast majority of our students to throw the bums out and to say they are sick and tired of having their education stolen from them.

It is obvious to one and all that the efforts of the teachers, administrators and police are not working.

Leah Lando

Baltimore

Protecting Children

Recently the Justice Department under the direction of Attorney General Janet Reno made a move to weaken the child pornography laws by making it more difficult to prosecute a person found to have such material in his possession.

After an outcry from the public, Congress voted to support strong and aggressive prosecution against such crimes and voiced the opinion child pornography should not be tolerated under any circumstances. The president also released a statement to the same effect.

It, however, still remains for the attorney general to comply with the wishes of the people, the Congress and the president.

I find it incomprehensible that anyone would be inclined to be the least bit lenient in any case involving the use and abuse of children. They are defenseless and need to be protected from personal trauma that can easily destroy their life.

Ms. Reno serves at the president's pleasure. She needs to keep the laws as strong as possible and not to step backward.

Jean Hammond

Upperco

Executions

The irresponsible and inaccurate commentary your paper often allows on the Opinion * Commentary page never ceases to amaze me. An article by Linda R. Monk (Nov. 9) concerning capital punishment is a clear example of false and misleading information.

Ms. Monk states that "at least 23 defendants in this century were executed before their innocence was later proved." She cites the studies of Hugh Bedau and Michael Radelet as her source.

On careful examination of their work, it is clearly stated on page 72 of "Miscarriages of Justice in Potentially Capital Cases" that these cases represent ones that they believe were in error. No court of law ever exonerated those murderers. By stating opinion as fact, Ms. Monk misrepresents the truth.

Furthermore, only two cases were cited in this half of the century, one in 1960 and another in 1974. The sweeping reforms of death penalty laws during the past 30 years provide far more protection than in the first half of the century.

Ms. Monk need not worry about errors in executions under current law. It is virtually impossible to execute confessed killers, much less innocent ones.

The Kirk Bloodsworth case was used as an example of an innocent person saved from capital punishment. Kirk Bloodsworth was not under sentence of death at the time he was acquitted of murder.

The criminal justice system provides many reviews to prevent any chance of error. Because the system works, he had been granted another trial, where he received a life sentence.

I would therefore question Ms. Monk's statement regarding the people who were condemned to death and later found innocent. Might not this finding support the argument that every means is taken to avoid executing an innocent person?

Anne Furst McCloskey

Baltimore

L The writer is chairperson, Maryland Coalition Against Crime.

British Troops and Northern Ireland

Your "Ban the Brits?" editorial (Nov. 19) distorts the reasons why many persons in this community (including members of the Baltimore City Council) object to the appearance at the Baltimore Arena of a show featuring British military bands.

The issue here is not one of censorship; nor is it one of interference with the First Amendment rights of those Baltimoreans who wish to patronize the show.

Rather, the issue is whether a city-owned facility, the Baltimore Arena, should be used for this show, which seeks to glorify the British regiments which are represented by participating bands.

Members of two of the regiments (the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) have committed numerous acts of brutality on civilians in Northern Ireland, including the murder of unarmed adults and children.

Had this show been booked at a privately owned facility, or outside of Baltimore City, the City Council would not have had cause to complain . . .

However, the Baltimore Arena is located in Baltimore City and is owned by the city government. Under these circumstances, the City Council has every right to question the use of the facility for an event which presumably will pump many thousands of dollars of profits into the hands of the same regiments whose records in Northern Ireland area abysmal.

To sit by and do nothing would be tantamount to taking blood money for renting out the facility. . .

Your editorial accuses the City Council members who objected to this show, but not to the visits of British warships to the Inner Harbor, of inconsistency. . . .

Apparently, The Sun believes that the "politically correct" policy would require those who object to British atrocities in Northern Ireland to engage in a series of knee-jerk, indiscriminate objections to all British-related events.

A more appropriate course of action would be to consider each event on its own, based on the identity of the specific participants.

I am not aware that British warships have fired on and murdered unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland.

Therefore, the presence of British warships in the Inner Harbor should be of no greater concern to the City Council than, say, this autumn's engagement of a British acting company in "The Madness of George III" at the Mechanic Theater.

The presence of the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at the Baltimore Arena presents an entirely different situation, and I believe that the City Council acting properly in questioning the propriety of City sponsorship of the event.

Kevin Leonard

Baltimore

The headline "Royal Regiment show raises red flag on council/Members of Irish stock urge cancellation" made me think a theater group was upset about the Brit musicians' pending arrival. The article did not persuade me otherwise.

Tim Murphy, Martin O'Malley and Mary Pat Clarke are clearly posturing, for whom I don't know.

Certainly, the British have committed atrocities in Ireland for centuries and aren't doing much to improve things there now.

Before vilifying the Royal Regiment, though, these three (and I write as one who, like them, traces his roots to Ireland) should acknowledge that our ancestors had trouble keeping their hands off of each others' throats long before Oliver Cromwell and his ilk arrived.

It's folly to think their descendants would live together in peace if the British left.

James C. Hunt

Baltimore

I am writing regarding the article in The Sun on Nov. 18, dealing with Irish-American opposition to an appearance by various British military bands connected with units serving in Northern Ireland.

I, too, am outraged. It is appalling that an invading force could come into a country, occupy it, seize the lands of its rightful residents who had been there for generations and then claim to "own" that property.

I think it terrible that such a group of invaders could slaughter those who sought to oppose them, as well as the families and children of those freedom fighters, all while attempting to force their religious beliefs on the original occupants.

That free men anywhere would stand by for hundreds of years and accept these interlopers as the "rightful government" is a scandal.

I am glad to see the Irish-American City Council members take a stand to voice their opposition to such oppression and make one small gesture to encourage the restoration of a troubled land to its rightful inhabitants.

In light of this, I wish to be the first to volunteer to help them move their belongings to the boat for the trip back to Ireland, because the land I speak of is this land, the invaders include the Irish-Americans just as much as the British-Americans or other European-Americans, and the oppressed people are the Iroquois, the Lakota, the Cherokee, the Hopi, the Inuit. . . .

Funny how we don't call it oppression when we are the ones doing it.

Kenneth G. Olthoff

Linthicum

This is in response to the editorial appearing in The Sun Nov. 19 regarding the call for Mayor Kurt Schmoke to veto the British and Scottish military bands by City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and Councilmen Martin O'Malley and Timothy Murphy.

While congratulating The Sun for treating the call with the contempt it deserves, I should like to suggest they do what I shall be doing on Dec. 8.

I shall not be going.

I have that right, just as the council members have that right. If they disapprove of British policy in Northern Ireland, fine, so do I.

I could take a wild guess and suggest that there are probably more people in Baltimore City who disapprove of the council members' own policies there, than what is going on in Northern Ireland.

Therefore, if the council members do not agree with British politics in Northern Ireland, great. Remember, nor do most Britons.

If someone else wants to see and hear the bands, do not try to deprive them of the opportunity to do so.

All they have to do is exercise your rights (a) to protest the event and (b) not to attend. . .

Tim Marshallsay

Glen Burnie

Human rights, not bagpipes, is at the center of the controversy over the scheduled appearance of three British regiments at the Baltimore Arena.

Unfortunately for lovers of bagpipe music and people of Scottish descent (of which I am both), members of these very same regiments have been convicted of atrocities, including murder, in their tours of duty in the north of Ireland.

The resolution requesting that the mayor cancel the appearance was sponsored by 16 (not merely three) council members, and is neither unprecedented or isolated. Westbury, N.Y., and the Meadowlands in New Jersey have both refused to book such "military" groups.

Why? Because of the deplorable conduct of the regiments in the north of Ireland. And while this is the first time that this type of resolution received any press attention in Baltimore, the council's objection has been continuously and annually expressed since the first such resolution was introduced before my tenure in 1989.

The Sun's editorial seems to insinuate that if council members were sincere in their objection to these particular regiments, they would protest all that is British.

ZTC Again this blanket statement misses or ignores the point. The objection is not to all things British; the objection is to the particularly murderous and brutal recent history of these particular regiments in the north of Ireland.

It is worth remembering the words of Hannah Arendt on the three moral lessons of the Holocaust: (1) It is wrong always and everywhere for one people to subjugate another. (2) Every individual has an obligation to speak out against evil. (3) We are all responsible for each other -- even if we happen to be Irish.

Martin O'Malley

Baltimore

;/ The writer is a member of the City Council.

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