Why America honors Martin Luther King Jr."Free...


Why America honors Martin Luther King Jr.

"Free at last, free at last!" These words are hewn into the marble crypt that contains the remains of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honor this month.

We honor Dr. King this month because his birthday is Jan. 15. We honor him because he was a great and noble American in every sense.

Dr. King was perhaps the most important and best known spokesman of the civil rights movement between 1956, the year he led the Montgomery bus boycott, and 1968, the year he was assassinated in Memphis.

Dr. King, whose philosophy was non-violence, possessed great dignity in both his thinking and appearance. He was a magnificent orator, with a voice both rich and resonant. His voice moved huge audiences and instilled in them a belief in the civil rights cause.

Non-violence as a philosophy was both historically and practically geared to the needs of African-Americans in the 1950s and '60s. It taught that only through direct action in the streets of America would true change occur.

At 35, Dr. King was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was recognized as a leader all over the world.

In 1963, he led over 250,000 Americans to Washington, where he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.

More than anything else, he practiced what he preached. As he was fond of saying, "There are some things so dear and eternally true they're worth dying for, and if a man has not discovered something worth dying for, he is not fit to live."

Dr. King gave his life so that others would have a better life. We honor Dr. King because his deeds, words and actions inspired an entire generation of young people to work toward truly making the words of the Declaration of Independence he was fond of quoting a reality: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

ohn A. Micklos


Crime busters

This letter comes as a small token of our appreciation for the good work done by the Economic Crimes Unit of the Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City.

Suspecting embezzlement of major proportions within our business, we took our firm's records to the ECU, which investigated, sought an indictment and pursued the case to an eventual judgment.

We were so well served by the strong assistance and support of both the investigator, Wallace Ritter, and Assistant State's Attorney Gary Honick that one suspects that our experience must be the norm.

Under the leadership of Stuart O. Simms, state's attorney for Baltimore City, the ECU has restored our faith that "the system" works.

As citizens, we are proud of our public servants, who get too little praise and too little credit for fine work in the public interest.

Elizabeth U. Slanker

Harold E. Slanker Jr.


Deer hazard

Returning home recently I witnessed a deer caught in an iron fence. The animal most likely had been frightened across Reisterstown Road and ended up wedged halfway through the fence.

About a half dozen police cars had gathered at the scene, along with some concerned bystanders.

I have known for some time that the deer population has been growing and becoming more of a problem in Baltimore County. I nTC am writing to urge Baltimore County officials to address the problem.

I know that any animal lover would agree that we should do something to control the population rather than witness suffering that is now becoming commonplace.

I have become familiar with the problems of deer in an urban area, namely Lyme disease and the increasing numbers of traffic accidents.

Because of the elimination of natural predators, the balance of nature has been destroyed. The health and safety hazards associated with the explosion of deer have now become intolerable.

This latest incident also enlightened me to the animals' suffering. I propose that money be allocated to try to find ways to humanely sterilize either males or females so that the population can be controlled.

Officials were creative in finding ways to raise money to save the Chesapeake Bay through the license plate program. I am sure that animal lovers also can be creative in finding ways to fund a program that will address this problem.

Alice Kuryk


Sauerbrey suit

Regarding your article "Sauerbrey filing challenge" (Dec. 27), one can say what one likes about Ellen Sauerbrey, but you have to admit that she's one of the great -- if not the greatest -- bad losers of all-time.

One could, of course, also say the same of Helen Delich Bentley, who not only snubbed Sauerbrey when she defeated Bentley in the gubernatorial primary election, but turned her back on the entire Republican party as well.

Is it axiomatic that all female Republican losers are poor losers? By her reported statements, Sauerbrey appears to be not only a bad loser but an irrational and illogical one.

If Sauerbrey's suit is bizarre, her "request" to have state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. step aside and not represent the state borders on the ridiculous. Curran is obliged by state charter to represent certain state agencies.

What Sauerbrey fails to see, obviously, is that the voters of

Maryland didn't want her as governor at the time of the election and that they want her even less now that she has shown by her ridiculous and uncalled for actions that she is not the type of person we want to see living in the governor's mansion.

Louis P. Boeri


Boys Town

Ronald A. Feldman, dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work, certainly showed a lack of understanding of what is going on at Boys Town today (Other Voices, Dec. 14).

This is not surprising, since he has not visited Boys Town for a decade and a half.

In addition, the description of Dean Feldman as "deputy director" may lead people to believe he was responsible for the enormously successful change in direction initiated at Boys Town.

Such was not the case. In fact, he was only one of several deputy directors and he had no line responsibility for program change. . . .

His article reflects a lack of discipline and attention to detail. The statement that no other child care institution has any hope of matching its resources is not in accord with the facts.

Any knowledgeable person could, without hesitation, name five or 10 other places with larger endowments of greater or comparable financial resources.

Professor Feldman would have us believe that "the truth about Boys Town was most famously revealed" in a 1972 article. That's about as accurate as saying that the truth about America was best revealed in the Vietnam War. It's not only wrong, it's mean-spirited.

He talks about Boys Town's homes built in those days as being "expensive even by today's standards." He does not mention ' perhaps he does not know ' that residences have been built since then at half the cost of those of his time.

All new technology is expensive in its start-up phase and has glitches. Boys Town was no exception in the 1970s.

But, 15-to-20 years have passed, and the advancements in treatment technology and operating efficiency have created a different picture.

Boys Town is now in 16 major metropolitan areas with programs running from parent training in the District of Columbia, treatment foster care in New Orleans, and shelters and long-term residential care in places like Brooklyn and Southern California.

DIt is interesting to note that all of these programs are competitive with programs in the local area in terms of cost.

In a current research project, our initial findings are that a large number of our youth coming into Boys Town residential care have two or more psychiatric diagnoses.

It might be good to contrast our costs for the care of these kids with the $500 to $2,550 per day that adolescent treatment hospitals charge.

Seen from this perspective, Boys Town is a bargain. Too often in my experience the debate abut child welfare is simply about money. It is pricing children who should not be priced but prized, and who should be parented by loving, skilled parents or their valid substitutes.

In other words, Dr. Feldman is no Father Flanagan and has been gone too long to be a good reporter on what is happening today. . . .

Daniel L. Daly

Boys Town, Neb.

The writer is director of program planning, research and evaluation at Boys Town.

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