Cops and Guns
Michael A. Pretl's letter May 28 indicates that Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse's pending comprehensive gun control legislation has widespread support from the police in Maryland. It refers to "Maryland police organizations" as supporting MAHA's agenda and is not specific.
The Fraternal Order of Police should not be counted among the groups in support of new gun control legislation.
In March 1994 the board of directors for the National Fraternal Order of Police, meeting in Las Vegas, passed a resolution directing its national legislative committee to oppose any legislation that would require the licensing or registration of handguns.
Its reasoning is that further identification of handgun purchasers is not necessary to prevent violent crime and could lead to a
potential invasion of privacy of citizens.
In August 1994, the Maryland State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police held its convention at Deep Creek. I introduced a resolution, which passed without opposition, directing the Maryland legislative committee to oppose any further legislation that would infringe on the ownership of firearms by the law-abiding citizens of this state.
Rank and file police are not encouraged to speak out on the issue of gun control. When given a chance to voice their feelings on the issue, it is clear that gun control is not as popular with cops as some would like you to think.
The writer is chairman of the executive board of directors of FOP Lodge 4.
Armies and Wars
Sara Engram's column on the armed forces, May 28, made some good points. Unfortunately, they were overshadowed by her erroneous opening line, saying the U.S. Army fled Vietnam in 1975.
For the record, U.S. forces left Vietnam in 1973, after a cease-fire agreement in which the North Vietnamese promised to cease their attacks on the South. Until we left, we had done all an Army can do. We had won most of the battles and all the campaigns. Ms. Engram can correctly claim the U.S. lost the war, but not that the U.S. Army lost it.
More important than her factual misstatement, Ms. Engram misses the one clear lesson of Vietnam. That is -- please take note, for this will appear again on those pop quizzes the school of life loves to spring on us -- armies neither win nor lose wars.
Armies win battles and campaigns, but only a nation's leaders win or lose a war. It is possible, as we did in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf, to win almost all the battles and campaigns, and not win the war.
Indeed, it may be in the best interests of a country to settle for less than total victory. Had we destroyed Iraq in the Gulf War, we would have had to occupy Iraq for the indefinite future, or risk Iran seizing the Iraqi oil fields.
The U.S. Army need make no apologies for its achievements in Vietnam. The credit for ending the conflict, and the consequences thereof, rests as it should with the civilian leadership.
The article by Joan Jacobson and Melody Simmons about Govans (May 10) was a wonderful case of positive reporting that brought about focus on a problem for an old neighbor of mine (from the 1950s). Whereas many people remain on Rossiter Avenue in Govans from the 1950s, there have been many ups and downs, and this type of reporting helps the community.
This kind of story is what helps make The Sun shine in Baltimore again! Nancy Crawford told me today when I called to ask how
she is doing, that everything worked out fine.
Mary Ellen Graybill
The Evening Sun
I have the Baltimore blues.
6* I hate to see The Evening Sun go down.
Mildred G. Blum
Not only did The Sun choose a non-photographer to write a review of the Mapplethorpe biography (May 21), but you indicate a prejudice against his work by using a reviewer from the staff of the conservative monthly, National Review.
James Gardner's review seems more concerned with Mapplethorpe's work than with the book. His overall assessment would seem to be that, as a body of work, it cannot escape mediocrity. This, despite the fact that it has been seen in major exhibitions throughout the country.
The Baltimore Museum of Art show which was reviewed by John Dorsey (May 21) pairs his work with that of Edward Weston, certainly one of the giants of this century. Also, one only has to tTC browse the shelves of the BMA Gift Shop to find books of Mapplethorpe's work well represented.
Mr. Dorsey's review of the current show is a thoughtful one and one which recognizes the beauty and courage of this artist's contributions without failing to acknowledge the inevitable public reaction to some of his more controversial images. The insights of museum personnel included in the review add further interest and understanding of the man and his work.
I suppose The Sun must be given credit for showing an indication of balance for presenting contrasting points of view. It is unfortunate that Mr. Gardner chose to critique the aesthetic, technical and social merits of Mapplethorpe's work rather than devote more time to the book and its subject. It is clear to me that John Dorsey shows much more understanding and sensitivity for this form of art than does James Gardner.
Susan Reimer's column of May 14 warrants critical comment. To illustrate her opinion of talk (i.e., "hate" -- the headline) radio, she states that her choice, Diane Rehm, "is what the good Lord had in mind when he invented talk radio."
I'm sure the so-called religious right are bemused that Ms. Reimer has declared that God's preference is left-wing taxpayer-assisted radio.
But of course, again in her opinion, "traditional public radio listeners are high on the learning curve . . . people who like to talk issues . . . a profile of a Washington listener." Talk about an elitist declaration!
But then, as Rush Limbaugh constantly reminds his listeners: most left-leaning elitists in the media truly do believe that on balance the American people are too "simple" to understand life's complexities, which is why they (liberals) have always "volunteered" themselves the role of making life's decisions for the public at large -- hence the tremendous growth in government social programs intruding into everyone's life.
But getting back to Ms. Reimer's column, I cannot help but notice the depth and breadth of invective and "hate-like" speech she herself uses when describing such as Mr. Limbaugh in her column: "hate radio," "venom speak," "strident," "virulent," "whining," "bombast" and "bile." All in a space only one column wide. Ms. Reimer seems to resemble that which she disparages.
Ms. Reimer states that because Diane Rehm is "a public [read: tax-assisted] radio program," Rehm deals in "information," whereas "commercial radio . . . dealing in ratings and ad sales" does not.
Unless Ms. Reimer truly believes that the majority of talk radio's listeners (and participants) are as stupid or ignorant as she implies (not "high on the learning curve"), then how does she explain the huge audiences?
The most common and overwhelming reason given by new listeners of talk radio has been as a source of information (as well as opinion) not readily found in the left-leaning "mainstream" media.
I have no doubt, for example, that the left-wing Ms. Reimer disagrees with the right-wing Mr. Limbaugh on virtually all political, economic and social issues.
But if Ms. Reimer has ever truly listened to Mr. Limbaugh's program, she would learn, as did Washington Post columnist William Raspberry in an illuminating "mea culpa" column a couple of years ago, that the image the left has and promotes of Mr. Limbaugh does not remotely resemble the actual fact.
I'm sure the general motive for Ms. Reimer's column was to inform her readers that they can take heart that the left is expanding its sphere of talk radio to counterbalance the overwhelming influence that the right currently enjoys.
And that's just fine. What annoyed me is a column which promotes this activity as "the good Lord's" preference, comparing it to what Ms. Reimer calls the "bile, bombast, venom speak" of "hate radio" and declaring that only those such as Diane Rehm "inform" us. But then, such inaccuracies about all things not congruent with the left's point of view are usually subjected to such disapprobation and censure. As always, Ms. Reimer is so predictable.
H. C. Newbold