Baltimore, Annapolis praised for warmth, knowledge of sailing
Our yacht, Merit Cup, was one of the participants in the Whitbread Round the World Race, and we recently had our first stopover in the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis.
Of all the countries and ports that we have visited in the past nine months, none beat the welcome that we received on the afternoon that we arrived in Baltimore and how the city and the people greeted not only our boat, but all the others. The same can be said for the farewell from Annapolis.
The people of Maryland really did take this event on board, and the extent of knowledge that the people on the street had about the race was just amazing. But what we will really remember Maryland for is the friendliness of the people and how they took us in and made us feel welcome. The organization of the stopover was first class.
We look forward to coming back in four years.
This letter is a thank you to Maryland from the yacht Merit Cup (Monaco) and all those associated with our project.
La Rochelle, France
The writer is project manager of the Merit Cup, which finished second in the Whitbread Round the World Race.
Israelis move slowly because of painful past
In the controversy over Israel's failure to hand over 13 percent of the land it occupies in the West Bank -- despite prodding by the Clinton administration, its best friend and staunchest ally -- somehow the core of the Palestinian problem has been sadly overlooked.
The reluctance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give in probably would vanish if only Israel could be assured that its already tenuous security would not be further endangered. The oft-discussed "land for peace" concept could be a perfect solution to Israel's greatest problem if carried to fulfillment, but alas, this well-intentioned hope is still a dream and not a reality.
The bitter members of Hamas and other Arab terrorists whose cowardly acts of violence have taken scores of innocent Israeli lives over the years still cling to their avowed goal of destroying the Jewish state. Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat has proved incapable of controlling the murderers and rock throwers, who remain Israel's gravest threat.
Under these conditions, can the Netanyahu government be faulted for risking the threat of national suicide by ceding more and more conquered land to people who would destroy them?
Since its establishment as a nation, Israel has been forced to spend an unreasonable portion of its national wealth on defense in order to survive. Being forced to fight four major wars at an enormous loss of human life would be regarded as catastrophic and intolerable by a larger nation. Is it any wonder that Israel moves cautiously?
Columnist George Will, in a brilliant, penetrating Opinion Commentary column ("Israel's democracy is a bright beacon in the Middle East," May 7), commented on America's insistence that Israel should "take risks for peace."
"Israelis," he wrote, "take a risk every time they board a bus." That pretty much sums up Israel's present position.
Albert E. Denny
Those who want to teach should consider city schools
We applaud Sgt. Craig Pope ("Police officer changes his course at midcareer," May 26) for fulfilling his goal of becoming a teacher, a career change that will be enhanced by his years as a police officer.
It is unfortunate that more people cannot bring their valuable skills to the classroom. Despite the rise of graduate programs designed for adults who have a bachelor's degree, there are still many skilled career changers who are deterred by the coursework requirements for Maryland certification.
Baltimore City, however, has found a way to meet its need for highly skilled teachers and to ease the transition to education for career changers. The Resident Teacher Program, created under a Maryland bylaw, works with the Baltimore City public school system to provide an alternative for qualified individuals who are committed to urban education.
Our mission is to move exemplary career changers into teaching, providing a structured program of coursework, mentoring and providing professional development while participants are working full time in the classroom and earning a teacher's salary.
We hire 40 to 75 new teachers each year, drawing professionals from numerous fields -- including retired Baltimore police officers -- who receive teaching certificates after completing our program and two successful years of teaching.
The writer is support director of the Resident Teacher Program.
More guns are a deterrent to mass shootings in schools
A study recently published by the University of Chicago on gun-free school zones and mass public shootings explains why we have suffered through five horrific mass shootings of schoolchildren in the past seven months.
The laws that prevent responsible adults and teachers from having legal access to guns within 1,000 feet of our schools have backfired. Instead of creating "safe zones" for our children, these laws have created "safe zones" for those intent on harming our children.
People who engage in mass public shootings would be deterred by the possibility that law-abiding citizens may be carrying guns. Such people may be deranged, but they still care whether they will be shot as they attempt to kill others.
Allowing responsible adults and teachers legal access to guns would serve to make schools less vulnerable to mass shootings. That's exactly what stopped the shooting spree in Pearl, Miss., when an assistant principal retrieved a gun from his car, immobilized the gunman and prevented more children from being shot.
Clearly, if just one responsible adult at each of those other four schools had been legally armed, many children would have been saved. Instead, the only protection that the teachers could offer to their beloved students was to place their own bodies in front of them. Some teachers were killed doing exactly this.
We must stop heeding the reckless and dangerous blandishments of anti-self-defense lobby groups who are making life safer and easier for vicious murderers.
N. C. Panella
Business is too dependent on government assistance
I thought business leaders were savvy, fiercely independent bootstrap types who hated any government interference.
Now I read in a Business section interview that James T. Brady, the governor's former economic development secretary who resigned in a huff over his boss' refusal to build the Inter-County Connector, had pinned the future hopes of the business community on this road ("Q&A;: James Brady," May 17).
If business leaders believe their long-range economic growth is contingent on building unwanted roads through rural areas, they are the biggest "welfare queens" of all.
If business has no idea of how to encourage economic growth other than by coaxing unpopular highways from politicians, they have no vision other than their dependency on government assistance.
Paul R. Schlitz Jr.
Casting doubt on group that casts doubt on Jesus
The article ("The historical Jesus and the Bible," May 3) by a so-called scholars group called the Jesus Seminar, which has published a book titled "The Acts of Jesus," was another ludicrous attempt to disprove the many miracles of Jesus in the New Testament.
Of the 176 events documented, this far-left-wing group concluded only 28 could have occurred "with any degree of historical probability."
So, what history did they use for guidance? A book by German Hermann Reimarus of the late 1700s and a work by medical missionary Albert Schweitzer of 1906. There was not even a mention of writings by the great Jewish historian Josephus about Christ's earthly times.
This group proposed to analyze the Gospels and determine from history the extent of worthy belief. Its conclusions were at once assailed by biblical scholars and seminary professors.
The group could have been gathered only for the express purpose of trying to cast doubt on the only believable history of that time, the Bible.
I would enjoy watching the quaking of John Dominic Crossan and his cohorts as they stand before the throne at the inevitable end of time.
Samuel M. Poist
Pub Date: 5/31/98