Bandits: not cute and not role models
In the Aug. 30 issue of The Sun that carried the front-page headline, "Harborplace merchants nervous about robberies," an ad appeared in the sports section touting the city's new professional hockey team, the Baltimore Bandits.
I suppose the owners could not resist the banal charm of alliteration, but in the past we have been spared such potential monikers as the Maryland Muggers, the Towson Thieves and the Randallstown Robbers.
In a period when the fear of crime threatens to destabilize the entire city, the hockey owners might rethink their sense of social responsibility. Bandits are not role models for children or adults. They are not cute in any guise. They harm people and property. They have no place in sports promotion.
George R. La Noue
Taking writing and life seriously
Alice Steinbach has always been my favorite columnist, and now I know why. Our creative writing teachers. In my case she was a bit taller than Ms. Steinbach's Miss Dennis and wore a bit more fashionable clothing. She wore her long dark hair in an old-fashioned bun, into which she stuck whatever pencil she had just finished using. At the end of the day she had so many pencils in her bun that her students had to stifle their laughter. But it really didn't matter; she probably would have laughed along with us. She was that sure of herself.
I was a gangling, physically uncoordinated, insecure, high school senior. When sides were chosen for a pick-up baseball game, I was the kid who was always chosen last. I had already started compensating for rejection by rejecting others first. For my first writing assignment, I turned in a morbid, macabre piece that any self-respecting English teacher would have thrown in the trash. This lady returned it corrected, with suggestions for its improvement. After that I started taking creative writing more seriously. After that I started taking life more seriously.
I do not have the talent that Ms. Steinbach has, nor the field experience. I have not won the awards, nor do I make my living in the trade. However, I do have one advantage over her. At our class reunion several years ago, I had the privilege of approaching Louella Tatum and thanking her for opening my eyes to the fact that I had some talent, that I could contribute. Mrs. Tatum, always the teacher, replied: "All you had to do was believe in yourself."
Robert H. Scott Jr.
Killing your family is not a loving act
The lead article that appeared in the Sept. 18 Sun about a man who car-bombed his family exploits every stereotype about domestic violence.
Mark Clark did not stalk his wife because he loved her "too much." He did not point his rifle at her because he loved her "more than anything." He did not blow his family to pieces in a car behind a shopping mall out of love.
Domestic violence has nothing to do with love. It is about power. It is about control. Too often it is about death.
When we talk about domestic violence as having "a certain logic," as love gone one step too far, we validate violence as an understandable expression of love. This false perception should not be tolerated by society or exploited by the press. When a man kills his wife and children, let's call it what it is: murder.
M. Brooke Murdock
The writer is president of the Women's Law Center.
Relevant cartoon, offensive image
The Sept. 14 cartoon on the editorial page of a triumphant Mayor Kurt Schmoke, hands raised in victory, transforming into a man shackled to a rack, being stretched by the opposing forces of city problems and declining revenue under the watchful eye of a hooded executioner representing the federal government, is tasteless and insensitive.
The cartoonist was trying to make a relevant point. The mayor will have a difficult time trying to solve a plethora of city problems with a dwindling pool of resources.
In trying to make that point, he was too insensitive to realize that a picture of a shackled African-American man with his shirt in tatters being tortured by a man who looks like a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan conjures up images of lynchings and beatings.
And that is offensive to the majority of the people who live in the city.
James B. Parks
Medicare is working, don't tinker with it
I am 69 years old, with Maryland Blues MediGap, Medicare and, through my wife's employment, general medical insurance through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland.
This August, while on vacation in the Bluefield region of West Virginia, after suffering for almost one week with unrelenting gastritis and inability to hold down food, I presented myself to the emergency room of the Bluefield Regional Medical Center on Aug. 21.
XTC Within a half-hour, after giving my insurance information to the admissions clerk, I was in an emergency examination room with an I-V drip for saline solution and another for analgesia.
After X-rays, an initial sonogram and various blood tests, I was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of gall stones -- acute cholecystitis.
Surgery for the removal of my gall bladder was performed on Aug. 23, and I was discharged on Aug. 30.
I received superb medical care from on-call medical and nursing staff. Upon discharge, I was taken in a wheelchair directly from my room to the hospital's main-entrance parking lot, and was on my way home.
At no time after the admission screening did I meet any financial/billing staff -- it was directly from my room to my car and home. I found this manner of leaving the hospital truly impressive.
I should therefore emphatically state that any attempt on the part of our federal government, both Congress and the president, to cut my Medicare benefits will meet with my strong resistance -- at the voting booth, in community organizations and in my involvement with retirement and health care lobbying efforts.
If the political structure wants to deal with any asserted Medicare funding crisis, then I say again, leave benefits alone.
There are plenty of ways to curtail the insurance industry (premium levels, corporate profits and executive salaries), the pharmaceutical industry (drug charges, advertising practices and administrative salaries and perks), physician incomes (outrageously out of line; I spent my entire life as a salaried executive and do not understand why fee-for-service business practice has to be the basis of providing health care; it certainly is not true for other industrialized countries) and the health care/hospital industry (both profit and non-profit).
erome S. Rauch