My attention is usually focused on two sections of The Sun. One, the sports section, specifically for basketball and tennis, and two, the editorial section, for the analysis of important issues and enlightenment.
It is ironic that recently, some of your best social commentary has come from a sportswriter, Jerry Bembry. His articles on racial bias against black college basketball coaches and his review of "Rage of the Middle Class" by Ellis Cose were extremely topical, while doing a great job of articulating concerns and feelings of many blacks.
The black community can benefit greatly from the discourse and critical thinking that is a by-product of the efforts writers such as Mr. Bembry.
Therefore, it is important for The Sun to continue to nurture and develop its minority talent, especially as a mechanism to convey the minority perspective.
Vernon A. Reid
In his June 6 column, Mike Littwin writes of the sacrifice that took place during the D-Day landings. He is moved by the "willingness of those men to give their lives for a cause."
He then asks "what cause . . . is worth dying for now?"
Mr. Littwin states that he might have gone off to Spain in the Thirties to fight fascism.
He thinks that the know-nothings will hound Clinton because he was a draft dodger. He also feels that the thousands who died in Vietnam died for nothing.
It is interesting to note that those who protested the Vietnam war felt that they were foreign policy and military experts while they were of draft age and hiding in college.
Mr. Littwin fails to mention that the war in Vietnam was one of many of the steps that broke the power of communism and brought about the end of the cold war.
When genocide took place at the end of this war, the protesters were strangely silent and inactive.
Recently, a young Marine officer friend of mine returned from a dangerous assignment with the U.N. forces in Cambodia. They were clearing the countryside of leftover land mines. Their brave acts have saved many lives.
Where were the protesters of the world during this humanitarian action?
Mr. Littwin does not seem to be concerned with another legacy of the Vietnam war protests.
Should our armed forces again hit the beach, it will again be the children of the less affluent who will do the dying for those who enjoy the major share of all that our country has to offer.
Charles S. Wehner
Ballistic Over North Korea
I tend to agree wholeheartedly with Carl Rowan's column, "Getting Tough with North Korea," but I am not sure that he has gone far enough to elucidate the mystery as to why President Clinton and his advisers seem to be going ballistic over this matter.
If North Korea's neighbors are not getting so openly excited or exercised about it (and may oppose efforts by the U.S. to obtain sanctions against North Korea), why is our government dealing in such hyperbolic rhetoric?
After all, there are a number of countries in the world that have the capacity for making nuclear devices. Not all of them are free of the possibility of becoming loose cannons.
India and Pakistan came very close to a nuclear exchange in the recent past.
Obviously, efforts to put the genie back in the bottle will be doomed to failure in the long run, despite the likes of nuclear non-proliferation treaties.
However, I have a suspicion that this matter is driven by another consideration, which Lawrence Eagleberger let out of the bag on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, June 2. He mentioned the inevitability of other countries in the region obtaining nuclear device capability, including Japan, if the North Korean situation is not rolled back.
Now there is a thought to ponder. We, who once used nuclear weapons against Japan, will eventually have to contemplate that the most powerful economic power in the Western Pacific will have to rearm -- as we withdraw militarily from the area (witness the Philippines).
A whole new ball game awaits.
George T. Bachmann
Only 1 Race
George B. and Betty L. Merrill (letter, June 4) are to be congratulated on their 25 years of so-called "interracial" marriage.
Their otherwise excellent letter is flawed when they write: ". . . people of other races; . . . other mixed-race couples"; and use the word "interracial" at least nine times.
The Merrills are enlightened human beings who wish to ". . . strive for a race-neutral society." I have been contending that this can only be achieved when all human beings think, speak and write that there is only one race -- the human race.
We must stop thinking, speaking and writing of ourselves as belonging to different "races"; being "interracial"; "multi-racial"; "bi-racial"; "mixed-race," etc.
The Merrills do themselves, their children and all of us a disservice with this archaic, dehumanizing and inferiorizing usage.
Habits are hard to break. Usage has institutionalized this divisive language in our dialogue. It is in our constitutional amendments; our demographic data collecting; and continues to be "hot copy" for our news media.
I will join noted anthropologist Ashley Montagu who, as early as 1941, called such language and thought as divisive and mischievous, recommending that it be dropped.
If we can all agree that there is only one race -- the human race, let's use "intra-racial" or "inter-ethnic" or "mixed heritage" or "multi-cultural" and/or "multi-ethnic."
That failing, I propose that when words like "races," "inter-racial," "bi-racial," etc. are used, let's enclose them in quote marks at all times to show the user is enlightened and aware of their inappropriateness and incorrectness.
Emerson C. Walden Sr.
Road to Extinction
Brian Henderson's assertion that we must learn to "co-exist with the other beautiful creatures" or it will be the "extinction" of us all (letter, June 1) is just the kind of flawed reasoning I would expect from someone in the "animal rights" camp.
There has to be a harvest to maintain the balance, and by managing the balance of growth and yield, hunters are able to conserve a sound wildlife population for everyone to enjoy. To do otherwise would be a condemnable waste.
What Mr. Henderson fails to see is the whole picture. If people would work together with the aim of conservation, the balance could be supported.
Following Mr. Henderson's reasoning is what would "lead to extinction for us all."
In the Maryland section June 4, among such items as assaults and narcotics arrests, was a four-inch item to the effect that Margot and Ross Perot had given $1 million to Goucher College to be used for faculty endowment.
Had this been a gift to Johns Hopkins University or had it come from someone more appealing to the liberal Sun, wouldn't it have appeared on Page 1 of the Maryland section, maybe even of the news section?
I feel sure that Goucher graduates, students and faculty do not sniff at $1 million gifts and are grateful to loyal alumna Margot Birmingham Perot and her generous husband.
Helen F. Knipp
Here we go again. Another Sunday, another anti-gun editorial disguised as a news story.
While Scott Shane's series has blamed firearms for everything but tooth decay, it has barely touched upon the fact that in order for a firearm to be deadly, it must be misused by a human being.
Of course, such an admission would also entail acknowledging that the vast majority of all American gun owners are law-abiding, sane and very safety conscious folks, whose guns never hurt anyone.
The Sun just doesn't get it: Guns cause crime like matches cause arson.
Giffen B. Nickol
Your recent editorial on City Council Bill 846 (which would overturn the five-year moratorium on building new incinerators) was right on target: There is no need to rush this decision.
The owner of the Pulaski incinerator asked for the introduction of this bill so he could build an incinerator more than two times as large as the present facility, a facility as large as the BRESCO incinerator downtown.
He points out that this would be the most costly project Baltimore has ever seen -- $300 million to build. This is one and a half times as big as the $200 million Camden Yards stadium.
The City's Planning Department was taken by surprise by the introduction of the bill a few weeks ago . . . The Planning Commission held a hearing that was so packed with opponents that it had to hold a second hearing. Sixty-five people testified against the bill that evening, including many health and environmental experts.
There are many reasons why this bill should be defeated. First, the region does not need the current Pulaski incinerator, much less one twice its size.
According to the proponents, the Baltimore region (the city and five surrounding counties) has 900,000 tons per year going directly into landfills. They base that number on 1993 statistics (July 1992 to June 1993).
In the year since then, for a multitude of reasons including increased recycling, that amount has dropped by 300,000 tons.
Of the remainder, 200,000 tons were shipped to the new mega-landfill just over the border in Pennsylvania (which has a 20-year life-span and a tipping fee of $24 per ton, compared to the $60-$70 per ton at the proposed new Pulaski incinerator). That leaves 400,000 tons going to area landfills.
What if this downward trend continues next year, and the amount drops to 200,000 or 100,000 tons?
From where will the waste come to support the 700,000-ton-per-year plant the proponents want to build?
Willard Hackerman has no contracts in hand. He has said he would probably sell the new facility after he built it.
It is very likely that the new owners would come back to the city at that time and explain that they would default on the $300 million in public and private bonds unless they break the agreement not to import out-state trash to burn in Baltimore City.
Is it really in our interest to breathe New Jersey's waste?
The options are not just retro-fitting the old plant or building a new one.
The best option is to tear down the out-dated, unneeded, polluting facility and to initiate more economically productive and environmentally friendly alternatives, such as a recycling facility with on-site light manufacturers of recycled products.
Daniel L. Jerrems
The writer is chief operating officer of Atlantic Recycled Paper Company.