School Bus Safety
After reading Richard L. Gorman's letter of March 2 regarding school bus safety, I could only shake my head . . .
Dr. Gorman attempts to minimize the dangers presented by motorists who run through the red flashing lights of a stopped school bus by stating that "the average school bus experiences one 'fly-by' each 100 days." This is so far off the mark as to be laughable.
In our testimony, heard by the senators and Dr. Gorman, I stated that we have recorded over 1,200 "fly-bys" in the first four months of the school year, but that those are just the ones for which we were able to get tag numbers. The actual incidence of "fly-bys" is many times that amount each and every year.
I would suggest that anyone who doubts the word or questions "the hubris of Baltimore County officials" on this issue can simply walk to the bus stop and talk to any one of our bus drivers for verification.
Anyone who wants to take the time to thoroughly understand the problem will soon discover that the issue of "fly-bys" is a serious concern throughout the student transportation industry . . .
Between June 1993 and February 1995, five Baltimore County students were struck by motorists who violated the school bus stop law.
For the third year in a row, nationwide accident statistics indicate an increase in student fatalities in the "danger zone" around the school bus. Baltimore County policy is designed to keep children out of the danger zone . . .
This is not some mindless bureaucratic game we are playing. Our opposition to Senate Bill 37 was based on thoughtful reflection and study of an issue that is the most serious and direct threat to student safety that we face.
I applaud Del. Ann Marie Doory for her efforts in Baltimore City and testified in support of her bill. I supported and testified in favor of two of Sen. Vernon Boozer's school bus bills. I applaud him for his commitment to student safety.
But I continue to believe that to ignore the constant reality of the student injuries caused by "fly-bys" would be foolhardy, irresponsible and deadly.
The writer is manager of transportation for the Baltimore County Public Schools.
Doug Struck is misinformed when he refers to the radical Muslims as "fighters" (Feb. 19). They're not fighters -- they're terrorists. Fighters engage in direct combat with an armed adversary. Terrorists ambush unarmed civilians/children or create havoc within cities with hidden bombs. Fighters? Hardly.
The United States is not enduring terrorism on the scale the Middle East is, and the State Department's criticism of Egypt is unjustified.
Egypt is fighting for its survival. Muslim fanatics' success in Egypt will spread all over the world if unchecked now.
The World Trade Center is a prime example in the United States. Would Mr. Struck like to see that proliferate here? Any tactic a government can employ to destroy terrorists is acceptable -- as anyone who lost a relative in a terrorist attack will tell you.
I don't recall the human rights organizations protesting when the terrorists deprived hundreds of other people of their lives at Lockerbie, the World Trade Center, the bombing in Argentina, the bombings in Israel, etc. Can it be that Muslim lives are more valuable?
Actually, the Egyptians have hit on the perfect deterrent to terrorism. As the terrorists are unwilling to change the government peacefully and are willing to sacrifice their own families and homes in their quest, the choice is theirs. Obey the law or suffer the consequences.
Terrorism is not solitaire -- it's a game two can play.
As we close another Black History Month, I am reminded of how far blacks in America have come and how the long road is ahead of us.
The carjacking events near and in Roland Park showed me just how responsive the police are to victims of crime who are white and what goes on when the victims are black.
My car was recently broken into and damaged very severely. The criminals, who happened to be teen-agers, were seen and the description was given to the police.
Moments later, suspects matching the description were stopped, but because we could only identify these persons by their clothing, the police let them go.
We repeatedly asked the police to take fingerprints but finally realized that it would easier and less trouble to just repair the damage and think about moving.
It appears that Roland Park residents do not have to ask for complete crime investigation. They have their cars towed to police headquarters for finger-printing.
Now I wonder, if the same events with the same ending had happened in West Baltimore, would the police have handled the crime in the same manner?
My guess is the police would have responded, this way: "Be thankful the child is safe. After all, you left the car running with the child inside. You know you should never leave a car unattended and especially not with a child inside, plus there was not any damage done to your car. Our work is done here, case closed."
Black residents in this city know exactly what I am speaking about. But we can no longer blame anyone but ourselves for many of these ills. I wish I could have responded as the boy's father responded, "The police were great and very responsible."
These words should make the mayor feel good. I hope the residents of Roland Park can also re-elect him this fall.
Jeffrey A. Hubbard
A Public Apology
Remarks attributed to me during a prolonged public hearing on smoking ban regulations have resulted in an unfortunate misunderstanding between the spoken word and the intention behind those words.
As a result, I wish to apologize to all who were affected by those words and to Dr. Martin Wasserman to whom the remarks were directed.
George W. Owings III
The writer represents District 27B of Anne Arundel and Calvert counties in the House of Delegates.
After reading the Feb. 19 letters of Jonathan Jensen and Martha H. Winslow, I realize that many Americans educated in our school systems must have been deliberately deluded about the constitutional functions of the federal government.
The powers of the central government are very carefully spelled out in our Constitution, and they are few. Most are left to the individual state governments.
The socialists in our political parties and court systems have managed to subvert the purposes so spelled out. It is absolutely ludicrous to even consider discussion of whether the central government should fund public broadcasting or to even consider how we agree or disagree with such programs.
Nowhere in our Constitution does it spell out such a function. These programs, as well as all the other socialist agendas enacted in the past 50 to 60 years, have resulted in the debasement of this document and, as a consequence, have given the central government huge powers never envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
This has led to the vast spending mania that is leading to the ultimate bankruptcy of our nation.
No, it is not defense spending that should be criticized. After all, defense is a function that rightfully belongs to the central government.
Just as an aside, what is wrong with commercials on TV? Just who produces the jobs in this society? Certainly not government.
Otto C. Beyer
Best for Children
The conflict between a career and parenting, highlighted by O. J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, is nothing new to men. But men were not able to make the choice.
They had to take the career, the women took the kids, regardless of parental attachment and caring. Now women are having to make a choice, and many want both.
The argument against male custody was that women had time to give caring.
Now men have to be able, in a gender-neutral society where women have the opportunity to choose a career of choice, like being a prosecuting attorney, to be viewed equally on time and caring for the children.
Gender does not make one parent less caring for a child. The important issue always has to be who can provide the most quality time for the betterment of the child, not the emotional and ego goals of either parent.
AIDS Prevention is Everyone's Responsibility
Roger Simon's March 1 column branded Greg Louganis as a money hungry, unconcerned individual who would put another at risk to win gold medals at the Olympics.
Mr. Simon does not know the first thing about the fear and discrimination that one lives with when one is infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
He has no right to mount his high horse and dictate what a person should do or say in that situation.
Look at the facts. Because the sports world in general, and society as a whole, scorns, ridicules, isolates and fears people vTC with the AIDS virus, Greg Louganis was petrified to reveal his HIV status.
Just ask Magic Johnson about his forced retirement because a number of players were refusing to play with him out of ungrounded fear.
Mr. Simon has no idea what this is like. He cannot judge Mr. Louganis fairly without first-hand knowledge and, thank God, he does not have it.
I do. Recently I went to a doctor about minor surgery and was sent to a nurse to draw blood. There were four patients in the room in very close proximity, and I was next. The nurse was not wearing gloves. I said, "Aren't you going to wear gloves?"
I can assure you that was one of the most uncomfortable situations I've ever handled. The nurse explained that if she was going to stick herself with a needle, the gloves wouldn't protect her; she then drew my blood without gloves.
Does this make me a hero and Mr. Louganis an uncaring money-desiring person as Mr. Simon would have us believe? I think not.
Health care professionals know the risk of not using gloves, period. Whether people choose to divulge their HIV status or not, they know that there is a period of several weeks in HIV infection in which the infected person will test negative and yet is infected and can pass on the virus.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the health care professional to take the necessary precautions and not upon hapless patients such as I or Mr. Louganis to reveal a terrible and traumatic truth about ourselves.
Mr. Simon is wrong and should apologize to everyone with the HIV virus for putting forth such an ill-thought-out column that impugns and maligns someone about a subject about which he knows nothing . . .
The doctor who stitched Mr. Louganis knew the risks. He, like anyone else, should make the assumption that all blood is possibly infected with HIV and act according to his own conscience.
The doctor himself said, "The risk was there but minimal.". . .
Tom Ditty III