Incensed MarineAs a graduate of the Naval...


Incensed Marine

As a graduate of the Naval Academy and a retired Marine colonel, I resent Michael Olesker's April 4 column about the cheating scandal.

There are more than 4,400 midshipmen at the academy each year. I doubt if those not involved in this scandal feel less professional or embarrassed. I suspect that the majority are angry that definitive and immediate action was not taken in the first place.

Integrity is absolutely paramount within the officer corps. It can be a matter of life and death. One must rely on the word of officers to a greater degree than in other professions.

There are occasions when officers do not live up to those standards. Fortunately for the services and academies, that does not occur often. When it does, as at the academy, it makes news.

There are those who would like to use a broad brush to paint all when a few falter. That is especially true when it involves an elite organization such as the academy. It makes them feel better.

I am personally incensed that midshipmen cheated on an exam, but I will not impugn the character of the entire brigade because of it. Those involved should be expelled, and the importance of integrity constantly preached and practiced.

J. Myers


The 'Hon' Debate

Participants in the "Hon" dispute have lost sight of one important thing. Using "Hon" is like walking: if you worry too much about how you are doing it, you will inevitably fall flat on your face.

We're teetering badly right now. Let's give it a break.

llen E. Holmes


So Much Music

The recent letters (March 10, March 21, April 11, April 12) about the local classical music stations have all over looked some important points.

One of these is that we here in this area can actually receive five classical music stations (six, if you want to count WGMS, which is a commercial station). These are: WJHU, WBJC, Baltimore; WETA, WGTS, Washington; and WITF, Harrisburg.

With so much to choose from, I can't understand why anyone would complain. We have taken many driving trips to other cities, many larger than any one of these, and have been frustrated to find that there is usually only one station available.

Sure, Bill Feldman and Reid Hessler talk through their noses and babble incessantly. But WBJC does indeed carry the opera on weekends.

WJHU does disintegrate into jazz at night, but their classical programming is much more diverse than the other stations' (and there is the wonderful voice of Bob Benson saying, "It's interesting, Peter" to Peter Moskowitz as they argue about new releses on Saturday mornings).

jTC WGTS does turn into a pumpkin on Friday nights because it is affiliated with a religious group, but Don Wheeler pilots us through some great music while all the other stations are airing "All Things Considered" (which I used to like, but it has gotten tiresome of late).

The folks at WITF are homey and always there with good choices of music for the better part of the day (and besides, the Maryland signals seem to end abruptly when you cross the border into Pennsylvania).

We are most fortunate to be able to receive so many stations, and they all have their own particular value. When WBJC plays "Zampa Overture" for the nth time, be grateful that you have someplace else to go.

Emily Johnston


Bus Ads

Rachel Crumbacker, a ninth-grade student at Western High School, said in a letter to the editor (April 14) that the Mass Transit Administration should remove all advertisements for alcohol and tobacco products from the interiors and exteriors of its buses, considering the fact that these buses transport thousands of students to and from school each day.

We wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion, which Rachel describes as "radical." In fact, as far back as May 1993, Gov. William Donald Schaefer had directed the removal of all tobacco and alcohol advertisements from MTA vehicles and facilities by the end of the 1994 calendar year.

This step is being taken for precisely the reasons that Rachel describes in her letter. We, too, may be unable to prevent youths from drinking or smoking, but the MTA does not wish to encourage such behavior for anyone.

We wish to thank Rachel for her letter and for her support of this decision. And we hope that she and her classmates continue to show the sort of "radicalism" which seeks to improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities.

John A. Agro Jr.



The writer is administrator of the Mass Transit Administration.

Evil Businessmen

In the comics, the "bad guys" revel in their badness. Archfiends brag to the heroes about the cosmic proportions of their evil deeds.

But the face of evil in the real world is this: A row of respectable-looking men in business suits, swearing with their right hands raised, that they sincerely believe their acts to be harmless, while the whole world knows otherwise.

They have chosen to ignore the facts about the health risks of tobacco, because to acknowledge them would threaten their livelihood.

It is not that they do evil because they don't care about being good; it is rather that they have closed their eyes to the evil they do in order to preserve their self-image as "good" people.

Is there any wonder that our society is so fraught with violence, vice and just plain bad manners, when in the highest places, evil-doers pose as good citizens?

In a world where values are relative, all sorts of malfeasance can pass itself off as benign.

Elizabeth A. Fixsen


Helmet Matters

The conclusion drawn in the March 31 Opinion Commentary by Lynda Case Lambert that Americans wish to retain the right to choose wrong is undeniable. However, she is incorrect in stating that the motorcyclist "made the 'right' choice - he wore a helmet - and it contributed to his death."

First, if the helmet had been properly fitted and properly fastened, it would never have "snapped off" in an accident.

I've sold many hundreds of helmets during my 26 years in the motorcycle business, and my guess is the helmet strap was not fastened (federal regulations require that helmet straps resist several hundred pounds of force without breaking).

Second, her assertion that the helmet "blocked his peripheral vision and muted his hearing" is based on erroneous assumptions.

Unless the motorcycle rider had eyes on the side of his head, no legal helmet would have cut into his peripheral vision (those federal regulations again).

Tests also show that helmets actually improve hearing above 25 miles per hour, when the wind noise over uncovered ears overcomes the muffling effect of helmet padding.

Incidentally, the proposed regulations regarding vitamins are not intended to withhold "pertinent information from the consumer," but to prevent vitamin sellers from making unfounded claims.

Jerry C. Smith


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