Fact and FictionRoger Simon's commentary, "Dole is...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fact and Fiction

Roger Simon's commentary, "Dole is angry over fiction, not the reality of violence" (June 4), represents another example of how the anti-self-defense lobby will use hypocrisy and muddled thinking to endorse hypocritical and muddled policies.

Mr. Simon says "assault weapons are used to kill cops" and their ban must not be repealed. A little research (i.e. FBI Uniform Crime Reports) indicates that the facts do not support his wild assertion.

Assault weapons are used less than 1 percent of the time in all homicides. The number of "cops" killed by assault weapons is extremely small, and I sincerely doubt if Mr. Simon could even quote a source.

Furthermore, what will Mr. Simon say when he learns that 5 percent of all homicides are caused by fists and feet while 14.5 percent of all murders are caused by knives? Will Mr. Simon say ban all fists, feet and knives? Like Mr. and Mrs. Jim Brady say, "If it only saves one life, then turn them in, Mr. and Mrs. America!"

Once again, Mr. Simon says, "G. Gordon Liddy encourages people to shoot federal agents in the head so as to avoid their bulletproof vests." A little research reveals that there are no such things as bulletproof vests; they are called protective vests.

It also reveals that Mr. Liddy never encouraged people to shoot federal agents. He merely responded to a question and his answer was taken out of context. But truth, honesty and fairness are not part of the limousine liberal's anti-self-defense agenda. It is more important to practice sensationalism, isn't it?

Finally, Mr. Simon says, "George Bush, formerly a big supporter of the National Rifle Association, recently resigned in disgust" over NRA rhetoric. Bush was never a supporter of the NRA or gun ownership in America, and that is why the NRA refused to endorse Bush over Bill Clinton.

Even the Wall Street Journal acknowledged that revenge may have motivated Bush's resignation, since he blames the NRA for his failure to be re-elected president.

In any case, when two noted limousine liberals (Clinton and Simon) defend a Republican then Brigadoon, the "mythical Scottish village" must have reappeared making anything possible, right?

Well, almost anything, I can say I will never believe what Mr. Simon says without checking the facts, and I will never believe Mr. Simon's assertion, "I know which (fact or fiction) really threatens America."

Thomas E. Maloney

Bel Air

Criticism

I read with much distain, and I must say chagrin, Barry Rascovar's column of June 11, headlined, "Governor Stumblebum."

Isn't this the same person who was highly touted and editorialized in your paper as the chosen one?

Gov. Parris Glendening started out the year by being forced into a situation, a frivolous lawsuit not of his own making, which I believe would take considerable time and attention to cope with.

The transition from local politics to statewide politics is not an easy bjob, especially when you have 188 members of the General Assembly, each with his or her own agenda.

No matter how good you are, it is a tough baptism. I believe that Parris Glendening was the best candidate in the race and will become an excellent governor. Just like your endorsement said. Give the man a chance.

Mr. Rascovar also criticizes the governor for attempting to help a friend. Name one politician or individual who goes out and aids his enemies? Wake up, this is real life.

I think it is time to put aside petty bickering, witch hunts and personal ambition for the good of Maryland and her people.

Jeffrie Zellmer

Grasonville

One Is Enough

As part of their desire to "get government off our backs" and reduce the national debt, Republicans in Congress have proposed to cut government expenditures by $1.4 trillion over the next seven years.

Now, those of us who are used to dealing with personal annual budgets that contain no more than four or five zeros after the first digit may find it difficult to conceive of a budget reduction that amounts to one with twelve zeros after it.

However, if you expect to live into the next century you ought to pay attention to these figures, because budget tightening of such magnitude will affect you in a way that may be unprecedented since the Great Depression.

If the federal budget were cut today by $1.4 trillion, it would immediately result in massive layoffs affecting as many as 50 million people, nearly half of all gainfully employed people in the United States.

Of course, no one is currently proposing such a ruinous plan, but the Republicans are coming close, because the cuts they propose over the next seven years could lead to double-digit unemployment rates, which were hallmarks of the Great Depression.

Perhaps those baby boomers who stand to inherit these large unemployment rates ought to ask their grandparents what it was like in the soup lines of those dreadful years. They might conclude that one Republican-engineered depression in a century is enough.

John D. Venables

Towson

Child Support Is More Than a Monthly Check

Frederick Hayward's sardonic commentary on child support enforcement, "Choice Between Cars and Kids" (Opinion * Commentary, June 12), is a sad commentary on how little we, as males, have progressed in our awareness of the value of interpersonal relations, motherhood and familial responsibilities.

Mr. Hayward notes that men pay their car payments because they are provided the use and benefit of their cars while they pay.

In contrast, with child support men are forced to pay despite being frequently deprived of the benefit of any contact with their children by their mothers -- whom Mr. Hayward repeatedly refers as the "enemy."

He also contrasts the paltry support records of men in general with the exemplary record of men in "joint custody" situations, suggesting that joint custody is the key to child support collections.

As most child psychologists, family counselors and jurists know, however, joint custody is a difficult emotional balancing act that should be attempted only by two mature parents who are truly able to put their differences aside and place their children's interest above their own.

In short, joint custody is a product -- not a cause -- of two adults resolving their conflicts amicably. That fathers tend to support their children financially in such situations is simply one action, among many, that indicate that fathers have undertaken the difficult challenge that the resolution of interpersonal conflict requires.

Unfortunately, for most of us men, this is a challenge that we historically have shirked. We would much rather deal with cars or other objects, than with human beings -- especially those who hate us.

It is far easier for us to objectify our ex-spouse, call her an "enemy" and avoid any self-reflection on the fact that it takes two people to ruin a relationship.

Further, by imprisoning himself in an "enemy" mind set, Mr. Hayward again does what we men do a lot: belittle the duties of child care.

Child support is only worth paying, he implies, if Dad gets some direct benefit -- visitation -- out of it. Raising children is an arduous task, and a valuable one to society. That it isn't valued in the marketplace and is renumerated only in the courtroom when parents split up, is a problem of the marketplace, not the child support system.

For years, an overt sexism has dominated discussion of welfare -- welfare mothers have babies to acquire money. Fathers are not culpable because men are incapable of acting responsibly in sexual matters.

Now, as the issue of child support and male responsibility finally has been brought into the welfare discussion, men like Mr. Hayward have been quick to counter-attack, and have been given much attention by the media.

Certainly there are situations where men have been treated unjustly by the child support system, just as there are situations where men bite dogs.

That the media pays attention to the exception and not the rule is unfortunate and, at times, beyond our control.

That men historically have performed poorly when it comes to paying child support, resolving interpersonal conflict and valuing child-rearing is a situation we must acknowledge and one we can do something about.

Peter Sabonis

Baltimore

The writer is director of public policy for Advocates for Children and Youth.

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