The American WayFor several years now as...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The American Way

For several years now as a Baltimore City elementary school teacher, I've been baffled as to the underlying educational philosophy of our Superintendent, Walter Amprey.

The recent series in The Sun about Dr. Amprey's relationship with Education Alternatives Inc.'s John Golle cleared up this matter.

Dr. Amprey was quoted as saying, "It's hard to find anybody who doesn't make money off of education. It's part of the American way."

Now I know exactly where he stands.

Peter French

Baltimore

Don't Judge Mantle

Mickey Mantle -- hero or fraud, deserving or not? Those are the questions being asked by a judgmental public that is, perhaps, too cynical and angry to look at what might be a different truth.

He has abused his body, but do we judge him forever for what he did in the past? How about what he can do in the future for prospective liver transplant recipients, for science and for himself?

We try to rehabilitate criminals with known horrific crimes, and yet we are going to deny him the chance at a second life? When did we go from being mortals to being God?

Have we thought that perhaps this particular transplant will give doctors the answer needed to save someone else with hepatitis and cancer? Can we really know that he will abuse this organ?

In 1985, after suffering for more than seven years from primary biliary cirrhosis (nothing to do with alcohol or abuse), I was told by the transplant team at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia that I had very little time left without a transplant.

After much heart searching and terror, I made the decision to go for it because I knew there was no alternative.

My new liver was implanted one week after I received the beeper that was to alert me when an organ had been found.

I was an ordinary 50-year-old woman who had never been in the Baseball Hall of Fame, never did anything more than raise a family, so why me and why in one week?

Because I was so critical that the doctors thought if I had to wait more than two weeks I would have died. My liver was so hardened that they were afraid it would shatter while they removed it from the cavity.

Now, almost 10 years later, I am healthy, active and living life to its fullest.

Let us look for Mickey Mantle to become a spokesman for the organ donor program, for him to become an active advocate who reaches the millions of potential donors that those of us who are just plain people can never reach.

We should ask other important people who have received organ transplants to become active in espousing the donor program.

I urge those who know little about hepatitis or cancer of the liver to write or call the American Liver Foundation to become aware of what these diseases do and what transplantation can mean.

Let us not ridicule Mickey Mantle for past mistakes, abuses and fraility. Let us hope that now he will be a strong voice for the cause of organ donation and that his name will arouse people to action.

Sharon Roxin

Leonardtown

Who's Objecting?

In regard to your front-page (May 28) article on the grisly experiments on U.S. airmen by the Japanese during World War II, tell me again: Who is it that objects to the Enola Gay exhibit originally planned by the Smithsonian Institution?

Mary Jane Duggan

Frederick

Editorial Imbalance

At one time (before about 1991) the editorial page of The Sun could be relied upon to show balance in spite of its liberal leanings. That day is no more. Here are two examples.

On May 20, you devoted an entire column to the ravings of a left-wing radical, S. Wojciech Sokolowski, who compared "the GOP and the Christian right" to "Nazi or Soviet attempts to jam foreign broadcasting." He also called the Kennedy assassination "case of right-wing terrorism."

On May 21, you featured a letter from Joan I. Senyk, a Methodist minister, whose purpose in writing was "to correct Biblical and theological errors" in an article written by Cal Thomas (April 28) which she called a "vicious attack." (It wasn't).

She then proceeded to nothing of the sort. Instead, she rambled on about socialism, Biblical contradictions and the 104th Congress and a quote from Herb Valentine of the Interfaith Alliance, whose "non-partisan" organization recently accepted a $25,00 donation from the Democratic Party. Her rambling tirade had nothing to do with correcting Cal Thomas. Compare these two letters with the carefully screened letters that you print from the right.

It is not difficult to determine that the scales are heavily weighted on the left. Do you people really believe that letters such as these balance letters such as the one you recently printed from Ron Smith?

James R. Kniss

Aberdeen

Human Rights Violations in Honduras

Sun reporters Ginger Thompson and Gary Cohn have done the American people a great service in bringing to light our government's support for murderers and torturers in Honduras' Battalion 316 during the 1980s.

Similar reports could have been prepared on U.S. complicity in human rights violations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and many other countries.

As the article by Mark Matthews June 20 demonstrates, these acts were not aberrations by deranged or incompetent diplomats, but part of a deliberate "counter-insurgency" policy of the U.S. government that was directed from the highest levels.

Part of the plan was to provide support covertly through the CIA and to conceal this dirty business from Congress and the American people.

This pattern of complicity will continue unless the American people hold their own government accountable and demand that U.S. support for regimes that violate human rights be ended.

We can do this by urging members of Congress to support the Hatfield-McKinney Code of Conduct Bill (H.R. 772 / S. 326) which would prohibit U.S. military assistance and arms transfers to foreign governments that do not adequately protect human rights.

We can help to repair the damage done in the past by urging support for the Torture Victims Relief Act (H.R. 1416), which would provide rehabilitation services for victims of torture and protect torture victims seeking political asylum or refugee status in the United States.

A further necessary step is to reveal the full story of past CIA complicity in human rights violations and then enforce strict policies of congressional oversight over its future operations.

The American people must insist that our government will never again tolerate or support human rights violations being carried out in our names.

Morton Winston

Timonium

I would like to congratulate The Sun for running the series on the CIA's involvement with Battalion 316 in Honduras.

As a citizen who was concerned about my government's covert involvement in human rights abuses in Central America for the past 15 years, I am saddened that it has taken this long for the United States' role in the perpetration of these atrocities to be revealed to the American public in the mainstream press.

Concerned citizens may be interested in knowing that there have been other sources reporting the CIA's connection to U.S.-backed governments in Central America that use torture, rape and murder to terrorize those who attempt to assert their human rights.

Since 1980 I have been reading such accounts in the Catholic press. These reports come straight from the field: missionaries (nuns, priests, lay people) who told stories similar to those we have been reading in The Sun.

These missionaries were labeled "Communists" and "subversives" by the Reagan administration and were thus discounted.

As a citizen and as a Catholic I was faced with a choice: whom to believe, our government officials or the people of faith who were experiencing the realities of the poor and oppressed in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

I asked myself the question: Who had the most to gain by lying? The answer was clear to me then and has been proven to be true now.

My litmus test for who to believe continues to be: Whoever is closest to the poor is closest to the truth.

Lucy Strausbaugh

Baltimore

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