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Doesn't help to keep epilepsy a secretIn...

Doesn't help to keep epilepsy a secret

In her June 8 article, "What's wrong with me?," Sun health reporter Diana K. Sugg described what it was like to have not-yet-diagnosed epilepsy. "I also learned to keep it a secret," she said.

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As is often the case, the age-old enemy of epilepsy -- reluctance of people to openly associate themselves with the disorder for fear of discrimination -- still exists.

For that reason, epilepsy has lacked much of the public support and awareness given to other health disorders.

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Hurrah for Ms. Sugg! The secret is out. On behalf of the entire epilepsy community, I want to laud her for so bravely and publicly disclosing her epilepsy. I am quite certain it must have taken a lot of courage for her to address, in print, the struggles she encountered during 10 years of searching for a diagnosis of this often misunderstood disorder of the brain.

I am even more certain that the challenges and "I've been there" message she sends to Sun readers who experience similar levels of frustration about their health-diagnoses dilemmas will provide them with much needed encouragement.

Most importantly, however, is that because of her eventual diagnosis and sound medical treatment, Ms. Sugg will likely be able to live her 30s happier than when she faced "the monster that had swallowed my 20s."

It is important to note that people need not face their health issues alone. In Maryland, we should rely on the many social-service agencies for information, counseling and support. Adults and children needing information, advocacy or education regarding epilepsy and seizure issues are encouraged to call the Epilepsy Association of Maryland at 1-800-492-2523.

James M. Baldwin

Towson

The writer is director of communications for the Epilepsy Association of Maryland.

No restitution possible for wrongful execution

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In his letter of June 23, Fred Tepper advocates capital punishment, stating that it is necessary to "protect our children, our families and our communities." This is an understandable and common point of view.

What is less understandable is that if a "rare, accidental innocent life" is lost, this is merely "unfortunate" and by no means a reason to hesitate in using the death penalty.

Mr. Tepper suggests that restitution in the form of life insurance payments could be made to the families of those falsely convicted and executed.

If cold, hard cash could compensate for the loss of innocent life, why have the death penalty at all? Why not have the state pay out an appropriate amount to the families of those murdered?

This would probably be far cheaper than the cost of a death penalty trial and the resultant appeals.

Could money adequately compensate a parent for a son or daughter wrongly convicted of a crime and executed?

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Linda Burkins

Baltimore

Baptist protest raises questions

I call your attention to the words of a Southern Baptist interviewed at Disney World and quoted in The Sun June 23: "But I think they should definitely keep out the gays."

Will Christian theologians please advise? My faith wavers.

Is my knowledge wanting in the finer points of prejudice? Indeed, do I want to be a Christian?

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John G. Barry

Baltimore

Affirmative action erodes military trust

The committee reviewing policies at the Naval Academy has found "no systemic" problems. Fine.

But among its recommendations, the panel suggests the academy administration appoint more women and minorities to leadership positions within the student body. The results of such a policy would be most counterproductive.

First, there are not that many leadership positions among the academy's student body. As leadership positions, they are supposed to be earned, not bestowed because of sex or race. Such a policy is simply affirmative action, which has no place in the military. Imagine going into battle knowing your leader is only in the position because of race or sex. What do you think this would do to morale?

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Second, the Naval Academy is not like a civilian institution. Midshipmen live and perform in a closed military society. Not only would morale be adversely affected, but resentments that would arise among the majority of midshipmen would breed an atmosphere of cynicism.

This attitude has been shown to contribute to producing the sort of "problems" the academy has experienced in recent years -- exactly what Adm. Charles R. Larson has been trying to get rid of, and is succeeding.

H. Eley

Baltimore

Kane resorts to reverse racism

Gregory Kane (June 18) must be blind to label black slave traders on the West Coast of Africa as silly people. This is reverse racism.

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How can any thinking person belittle the crimes of these people? The blame for black slavery starts with them. If Mr. Kane must lay blame, blame it on greed. Satan comes in all colors.

arl Dandy Jr.

Cockeysville

Southern Hotel deserves new life

Your June 22 editorial, "New life for old Baltimore offices," described developers' interest in turning underused buildings into apartments. That's a great way to revitalize downtown Baltimore.

It not only will bring these older buildings back to life and put them in a reliable tax base to help support the city, it will bring much needed residents into the downtown area. What an excellent way to help stabilize the inner city.

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I am particularly concerned about the revitalization of the older Southern Hotel. Years ago, there was a demolition sign indicating this building was to be torn down. That sign eventually disappeared and this stately building still stands, boarded up as a monument to the desecration of the inner city.

The Southern Hotel is located on Light Street, just a block south of Baltimore Street in the center of town. In its glory days it was a very beautiful and well run hotel that made our city proud.

If the demolition team doesn't soon take this edifice down, then it surely would be a prime building to convert to apartments. It is much too nice of a location to be allowed to sit vacant as a monument to the neglect of our proud city and a stain on our Inner Harbor fame.

Walter Boyd

Lutherville

Cartoon linking Nixon, Clinton was unfair

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We all understand that a cartoonist's job is to ridicule public figures, expose their frailties and deflate their egos.

But Mike Lane's recent cartoon equating the behavior of President Richard Nixon, who was proven guilty of criminal behavior, with that of President Bill Clinton is really outrageous.

President Clinton is not without faults. But we do not know if the accusations of Paula Jones are true.

We do know that her legal efforts have been given impetus, and heavy financial support, by Clinton's political enemies.

Bernard Udel

Baltimore

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Pub Date: 6/27/97



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