Glendening was right to make a stand...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Glendening was right to make a stand against gamblin

I applaud Gov. Parris N. Glendening's firm stand against casinos and slot machines. The devastation from slot machines is not a sufficient trade-off for casino dollars even if some of the money could be used for schools and other needs.

To addict the state budget to slot machines' revenue is unconscionable, especially when much of the gain comes at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens: the children, the poor and the elderly.

The alarming growth of gambling in the United States is creating more and more problem gamblers, particularly among teen-agers. Each gambling addict affects numerous others. Hundreds of spouses, children, friends and employers will be harmed if Maryland allows slot machines. Which of our neighbors would we sacrifice for this "easy money"?

We must not be lured by the promise of riches from slot machines. In communities where casinos and slot machines proliferate, divorces, domestic violence, child abuse, bankruptcies, crime and political corruption have all increased.

Thirty-five years ago, nearly every bar, grocery store and motel in Southern Maryland had slot machines. We were right to drive them out. We would be wrong to go back to those days.

His continuing and consistent opposition to casinos and slot machines convinces me that Mr. Glendening deserves my full, wholehearted support.

Rev. Frank M. Reid III

Randallstown

A Delaware businessman recently told me that no amount of gambling money coming into Delaware could ever make up for what it's done to the "soul" of their state and to their families.

Calls to the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems started increasing within six to eight months after the slots opened in December 1995 (that's how quickly addiction problems can come with video lottery terminals, or slots, the "cocaine of gambling"). That office received more than 1,000 calls during 1997; it used to get 10 to 12 a month before the slots opened.

Owners of hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Delaware who are fighting to stop gambling expansion in their state now understand Robert Goodman's statement in his book, "The Luck Business": "Government has stacked the deck for the casino companies and left other businesses which are dependent on consumer dollars with one hand tied behind their backs."

I do not want this to happen in Maryland. I will vote for the candidates who say, "no casinos, no slots, no exceptions."

Cheryl Michael

East New Market

Woman's mother, father are those who adopted her

Your intern Stacy Patton wrote of her experiences searching for her birth parents ("An adoptee's search," June 15). I have read of many others who felt compelled to take this potentially traumatic walk to their identity.

I, too, am adopted. I was adopted when I was 3 months old. From the time I could sit and listen, my adoptive mother read me a wonderful story called "The Family Nobody Wanted." As you can imagine, it dealt with children being adopted. It told me how special I was, and I felt special.

I have never felt the need to look for my biological parents. I am not concerned about why I was placed for adoption. I accepted early on that the two people who raised me, clothed me, sent me to college and loved me were the only parents I needed to know.

My identity was decided when Mr. and Mrs. Nock brought me home on Father's Day, June 1951. I was their daughter.

Susan Nock Garde

Marriottsville

States should not sanction physician-assisted suicide

Sara Engram, deputy editorial page editor, correctly says true believers are on both sides of the physician-assisted suicide issue ("Suicide and choice," June 14).

She then accuses Thomas Constantine of the Drug Enforcement Administration of yielding to congressional pressure when he held such assistance to be outside legitimate medical usage (while calling Attorney General Janet Reno "gutsy" when she overruled him).

But (as Notre Dame Law School Professor Charles E. Rice has argued) when a state protects innocent, nonagressive people by forbidding them to be intentionally killed by another, it is a denial of equal protection of the law for the state to exclude from that protection some persons because they are terminally ill or because they have asked to be killed.

If this basic proposition seemed as clear to Mr. Constantine as it does to me, it is no wonder that he did not feel it necessary to consult Ms. Reno. The "democratic" choice of the Oregon voters, which to Ms. Engram seems to trump everything else, reminds me of the "states' rights," which were once invoked by majorities to deny minority citizens their rights.

James P. Lewis

Reisterstown

Some families not fortunate enough to live on one check

Regarding the letter from Maureen Larkin ("Children are suffering without their parents," June 13) on Susan Reimer's article ("The Juggling Act," June 3), how noble to have left a successful career because she and her husband believe their children need and deserve the nurturing only a parent can provide.

How narrow-minded of her to assume that every parent who goes back to work has chosen to do so because "they live frenzied lives and can't separate need from greed."

I wish Ms. Larkin could spend a few moments with my daughter as she agonizes over having to go back to work and put her son into day care. She and her husband have spent weeks searching for the best day care available and many nights discussing ways to stay home with their baby. They still hope something can be arranged where day care won't be needed.

There are no fancy vacations, no big evenings out, no beautiful clothes and jewelry -- just the everyday living for a young couple trying to do their best for their child and themselves with today's cost of living. Before judging those who are not as financially fortunate, people should show a little understanding instead of condemnation.

Sheila Bernstein

Owings Mills

Goldwater's libertarianism had room for a moral code

Normally, I tend to agree with the views of Jack Germond and Jules Witcover. This was not the case in the column "Today's conservatives have lessons to learn from Barry Goldwater" (June 8). The columnists expose one of the underlying problems with American politics.

The idea of separation of church and state, which intellectuals adore, has evolved nearly to the point of anarchy -- and with good reason: A government devoid of a moral code cannot exist.

Libertarians realize that there is a subtle, though important difference between their beliefs and those of anarchists: Libertarians uphold the constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights stem from a moral code, and the rejection of morality necessarily leads to anarchy. The conservatives whom Mr. Germond and Mr. Witcover castigate may very well be the final defenders of our rights as Americans.

The columnists cite abortion as an example of Goldwater's ability to keep morality out of politics. The abortion debate is about viability. When science allows a fetus to be developed outside a woman's womb, abortion rights advocates will lose the legs on which they stand.

Another example cited is the issue of gay rights. The issue of gay rights is proceeding along the same lines as the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. As the column states, Goldwater was a supporter of gay rights. Ironically, he vehemently opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- a fact that the columnists fail to mention.

Martin Joseph Moran

Baltimore

Rats! Creatures interrupt pleasant Canton memories

Recently, I revisited my old neighborhood of Canton. My family moved from there in the late 1950s, and I have been reading about this area's transformation into one of the more desirable areas in Baltimore.

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at the O'Donnell Street development of unique cafes, restaurants and bars.

We had dinner, and I reminisced about my enjoyable childhood in the 3100 block of O'Donnell St. during the 1940s and 1950s. I felt compelled to visit again.

We parked the car and walked to the back alley, where in an area bounded by garages "Our Gang" gathered daily, for fun and companionship.

Our arrival caused a major disturbance to the new creatures of the alley -- rats.

They scurried everywhere, some as big as small cats. They had little-to-no fear of our presence, and two even began to approach our direction.

Needless to say, we made a quick retreat, and I do not plan to revisit for possibly another 40 years.

George P. Kropkowski

White Marsh

Pub Date: 6/23/98

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