Virginia deals with crime more firmly
Two adjacent states both have voted in new administrations: Virginia and Maryland. Virginia's new governor, George Allen, has declared an all-out war on crime, especially in regard to repeat offenders.
According to Governor Allen, three out of four violent crimes -- murder, armed robbery, rape, assault -- were being committed by repeat offenders.
Governor Allen's answer was to set up a commission on stronger measures of punishment for violent crimes, which recommended requirement for offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before parole.
Also sentences for violent offenders are being lengthened. The Virginia prison population is expected to double by the year 2005, and a construction program is planned to build the necessary prison space.
Maryland, on the other hand, is not inclined toward any get-tough on crime policy. Instead, Maryland is considering what former Del. Timothy F. Mahoney calls alternatives for jail.
Four million dollars from the Maryland prison construction fund was diverted to pay for the creation of a committee called Maryland's Correctional Options program.
According to Maryland Public Safety Secretary Bishop L. Robinson, "We have to think about what the American people really want. They favor a balanced approach: prevention, treatment as well as punishment.
"It's common sense. Why should we fill up the jails with individuals who are drug dependent and committing crimes because they are drug dependent?"
The difference between these two approaches is striking. Virginia is listening to the people and providing for their public safety, whereas Maryland is sticking its head in the sand until the effects of crime eat at the very heart of our society.
The people of Maryland may decide that come the next election they will finally vote in a different administration committed to providing for the people's safety.
Michael J. Davis
Power Plant ideas
Unfortunately, the city administration has run aground again regarding our Power Plant. I have two suggestions.
The first involves the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Let's entice them to set up shop in our city, dig up their exhibits in hiding in their basement and put them on display in our Power Plant -- memorabilia on industry, transportation, medicine or maritime would be especially appreciated. Charging no admission fee would be an attraction in itself.
The second idea, first part, is new. Let's blow the building up. We have a white elephant on our hands and it is costing us plenty.
The second part of this idea is especially attractive. Let's provide a dry dock arrangement for a refurbished Constellation.
I still think the old ship is a good tourist attraction. In such a setting, the old ship would need less maintenance.
If additional space is available around the ship, let's create our own little "Mystic Seaport Town" of maritime stores, antiques stores, shops and restaurants.
As my patrol leader in the Boy Scouts used to say, "Let's not stand there, do something productive."
It's about time.
This is to the people who broke into the Walter P. Carter Recreation Center swimming pool during the night of July 13.
I don't know your reasons for breaking into the pool and vandalizing it. You even tossed the pump into the water. I don't know your anger or your sense of fun, your need for risk or perhaps even for getting caught.
I only know that 50 children, ages 5 through 12, attending the summer program at All Saints Lutheran Church were extremely disappointed when they arrived at the pool but were told we could not swim.
We were expecting 100-degree temperatures with high humidity and looking forward to getting wet, having fun and feeling refreshed. Instead, we were more than just hot; we were disappointed, cranky and let down.
How sad it is that we want what we want and seem to care little about others and what they want.
How sad it is that we sometimes feel we must ruin things that give others enjoyment.
How sad it is that we often feel we must engage in destruction, to feel we have made a statement or accomplished something.
I would simply ask you to think of your little sister or brother and how hurt they might be if all the amusements that give them joy were destroyed. And think about how you would feel because you want your sister or brother to have some appreciation for their growing-up years, to enjoy being children in the summer when the temperature reaches 100 degrees and all you want for them is to have fun.
Please think about it and remember that others are affected by your actions; perhaps even others that you know and love.
Rev. Laura Ingersol
Sentenced to death by AIDS
Lifestyle is Sen. Jesse Helms' criterion for care of AIDS patients. Is his above reproach?
Has he ever drunk to excess, spoken ill of a person, taken something that did not belong to him, spoken foul language, used government money for personal expenses?
What type of people supported his political campaign? Where did the money come from? Is any of it tainted?
Will Senator Helms refuse to accept his salary because it may have been paid by AIDS victims' taxes?
Senator Helms is a big supporter of the tobacco industry. A smoker's lifestyle is now not acceptable. Using his criteria, money should not be spent on research or treatment of cancers caused by tobacco.
Dying is stressful enough. Do we have to be also stressed by the attitude of politicians like Jesse Helms?
Ryan White, an innocent child for whom the AIDS Fund was named, was a person with hemophilia who received contaminated blood products.
Arthur Ashe, a role model for children, received contaminated blood. Elizabeth Glazer, a mother, received contaminated blood and unknowingly infected her children.
Five members of my family, three sons, a brother and my daughter-in-law, died from AIDS, with transfusion of HIV-contaminated blood products a factor. All worthy members of society.
Can Senator Helms tell me to my face that my sons' and my daughter-in-law's lifestyles were disgusting? I doubt he would have the moral courage to meet with me. The last days of AIDS are full of horrendous grief, pain and suffering.
My rights have not been protected. My right to a fair trial in court has been usurped by the elected officials who listened to the industry and its fears of being bankrupted if over 10,000 &L; innocent hemophiliacs were allowed their day in court.
The courts have not been allowed to judge the integrity of the blood industry, but the rights and integrity of the unfortunates are continuing to be judged and attacked.
AIDS funds should not be based on the lifestyle of the recipients. Money for AIDS should not be cut but increased.
Our community has improved access to medical care at the comprehensive treatment center established with Ryan White funds . . .
I watched my family members disintegrate before my eyes. Their bodies were eaten slowly away until the disease of AIDS had won its battle.
My family and many others have suffered because of the political attitude of this country about a disease that is not a political disaster but a medical disaster.
Our country is being decimated by a viral infection that has been allowed to run rampant, affecting many babies and human beings who receive blood or a blood product (the blood supply cannot be made 100 percent safe) as well as those described by Jesse Helms as having "disgusting lifestyles."
Why is it required that your lifestyle be judged before you receive medical treatment? What did a new-born baby do to this distinguished gentleman? Where is compassion for someone who is terminally ill?
The drug industry is stating it may stop the research and production of drugs to fight AIDS because there is not enough profit. Who decides what a human life is worth?
When someone you love dies, can you still say that too much money is being spent on AIDS? More attention is given to someone accused of murder than to the legal genocide of AIDS patients . . .
If other elected officials' policies are the same as that misguided, uninformed senator from North Carolina, a campaign should be started to vote them out.