Black-on-black violence must be condemned
In 1964, the late civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, coined the famous phrase, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." As a proud and involved African-American male, I must echo the sentiments Ms. Hamer expressed in her struggles during the '60s civil rights movement.
I am sick and tired of reading about the killing of our sweet, young and innocent children at the hands of uncaring black men who conduct their drug wars and turf battles at anytime and anyplace without regard to others who may be in their presence.
The senseless killing of little James Smith III is just another example of the total indifference to life that losers like Maurice Blevin, 19, and Kenya Davis, 20, continue to demonstrate.
We all remember little Tiffany, shot while playing in front of her home, the boys shot while playing football, the elderly man shot while having a conversation with his friends. All were shot by black men, all of whom should have been in jail for other crimes committed against black people.
It is well past the time that the black community rises up and begins to attach some type of social stigma on these parasites of the black community.
Little James' mother stated that "the support she has received demonstrates that her son not only belonged to her, but that he belonged to the entire community."
It is time that the villagers exile those among us who have no regard for life. The thing that bothers me the most is that if, while conducting criminal activity in our community, the thugs who caused the death of little James were later shot by police, the outrage and outcries would last much longer.
Lewis A. Bracy
Sweeping up in the nation's capital
This is about five local Severna Park Middle School children and one Severna Park Middle School Bulgarian foreign exchange girl who all were part of history on Jan. 20 by being participants in the inaugural parade. My sister, Rebecca Owen, of Potomac, was coordinator for all the horses for the 53rd inaugural parade. She asked me if I would like to be in the parade with my two children, Ryan and Victoria Parisi, along with our foreign exchange sixth grader, Denitsa "Denny" Petrova.
She also said we could get three other kids to be in the parade with us to be the "rear guards." I asked my neighbor, sixth grader Matthew Robey and two of my eighth grade son's friends, Teddy Turnblacer and Jonathan Greenblatt, if they would like to join us. All agreed to do this honorable job in the parade, dressed as clowns and carrying shovels and wagons with balloons. We were in charge of the rear of the horses, in case they dropped anything.
It was fun and very exciting for all. It was a long day for all but the kids were wonderful and they will carry this experience with them for the rest of their lives and be able to pass down this story generation after generation. There was a lot of training for this position and everyone passed with flying colors.
Amy E. Parisi
More overtures to the gospel
In his Jan. 12 response to the "Overtures to the Gospel" article of Dec. 22, Glenn R. Parkinson made some statements that need to be corrected. Concerning the argument that the Roman census under Quirinius mentioned in Luke occurred in 6 A.D., which brought into question the birth date of Jesus, he stated, "But the evidence indicates that a Roman census was taken every 14 years, and Quirinius functioned with brief interruptions as military governor or commander-in-chief in Syria from 12 B.C to A.D. 16."
In the first place, the Roman census every 14 years applied only to provinces, such as Egypt, where the Romans ruled directly. The Romans did not tax the inhabitants of other provinces that were ruled by "client" kings, such as Herod. Moreover, every authoritative reference I have looked at states quite unequivocally that there is no evidence that Quirinius had been governor of Syria prior to 6 A.D. When King Herod died in 4 B.C., the Romans divided his territory among his three sons. Archelaus was given Judea, Idumea and Samaria to rule. Archelaus proved to be a particularly brutal ruler and his subjects appealed to Rome for relief. The Romans banished him in 6 A.D. and brought his territory under direct Roman rule. A census was ordered for the purpose of taxation, and Quirinius, as the new governor of Syria, was charged with overseeing it. As Mr. Parkinson pointed out, this did not go over too well with the Jews, some of whom openly rebelled.
This Roman census for the purpose of taxation (not an earlier one during the reign of Herod as Mr. Parkinson asserts, for there was no such census in Palestine) was the one to which Luke referred. In fact, he referred to it again in Acts 5: 37: "Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him." Luke saw no need to qualify "the census" further, for he had already mentioned it in Luke 2: 2 -- i.e., the census under Quirinius, which historically occurred in 6 A.D., and during which a Judas did, in fact, historically foment a rebellion.
An objective analysis of the birth stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke will reveal that they were both fabrications designed to "show" that Jesus was born in Bethlehem according to prophecy.
Incidentally, in that same issue, Jeff Smith stated, "Secular scholars and 'humanists' often approach Scripture with biases and assumptions." And Bible believers do not?
'Smart Growth' initiative is more than just politics
We almost had to laugh when we read a story in The Sun in Anne Arundel recently ("Growth plan may benefit executive," Dec. 29) suggesting the Glendening administration's Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation initiative would somehow unintentionally help County Executive John Gary's efforts to direct growth to where it makes the most sense in Anne Arundel County.
This is not a new issue for either of us. In 1994, both of us ran on this issue. We stressed the need to do something to control the adverse effects of suburban sprawl that is robbing our state of its beautiful forests and farmland and costing our government millions of dollars to finance infrastructure for far-flung development.
Furthermore, Anne Arundel County has employed the concepts of "smart growth" for several years in development and planning. The "town center" initiatives of Glen Burnie, Odenton and Parole are results of these efforts. The pending, newly revised General Development Plan for Anne Arundel County will continue the use of town center/smart growth initiatives to direct growth without the adverse impacts of sprawl.
The article implies this is somehow either a new issue, or a partisan one. That is simply not the case. This is an issue that Democrats and Republicans alike recognize as basic to what the state of Maryland will look like in 10, 20, or 50 years.
The smart growth initiatives before this year's General Assembly focus state dollars and resources on helping established communities, rebuilding existing infrastructure, encouraging the development of jobs and businesses in older areas, and doing more to preserve our farmlands, forests and natural resources. Those goals are shared by many state and county leaders. They affect our quality of life and protect a legacy for the future.
Preserving our quality of life, and what's best about Anne Arundel County and the state, are not political issues, but make good sense.
Local and state government collaboration and partnerships are a necessity for good planning and "smart growth." The process of collaboration is a continuing one, an effort initiated on the state's side in the 1992 Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act which called for counties to create or revise comprehensive development plans to incorporate growth policies. That act grew from the visions for the future of our state first expressed in the Chesapeake Bay agreement in 1987.
For many of our citizens, Anne Arundel County is defined by the Chesapeake Bay, our shoreline and rolling countryside. The protection of the bay begins on land, and the face of the countryside, once developed, is forever changed.
By re-directing existing funds in the state budget, the state and counties will work in partnership to greatly accelerate the purchase of easements and natural open space to preserve unique rural lands. A "rural legacy" program, with a commitment of more than $170 million statewide, will preserve 90,000 acres of Maryland's finest countryside resources.
While we work together toward these shared goals, the Glendening administration is also working with C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger in Baltimore County, Doug Duncan in Montgomery County and other local leaders around the state on this same issue. Sprawl is not a disease that afflicts one jurisdiction. Like a cancer, it is spreading all over the state. Working together, state and local officials can bring the spread under control.
Saving our quality of life, our towns and communities, and using resources wisely is the bottom line for smart growth. It is a plan we and many others support.
Parris N. Glendening
John G. Gary Annapolis
The writers are, respectively, governor of Maryland and Anne Arundel County executive.
Pub Date: 2/02/97