When it comes to heroin, we can't...


When it comes to heroin, we can't afford delusion

Heroin use. How do we illustrate the historical misery of it for county residents in terms that can be easily grasped?

Do we start with the body count? Add two well-liked Howard boys one recent week. One was asthmatic, but it was his alleged fondness for heroin that put him in jail in the first place. Or should we measure it in promising careers ruined, as happened earlier this year when a kindergarten teacher was found nodded out in a boys room stall?

There are two things the police would tell us if we listened.

One is that "H" is back, cheaper and more potent than ever, though like ATM fees, it will rise in price as the market expands and the profit motive takes over.

Two, our children, no matter how we have boosted our socioeconomic status, are out there where the action is.

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting an opportunistic addict in person or had your home broken into by one while you were at work, let me share with you this basic observation from life in the big city.

Junkies, male or female, are magnificent liars and unrepentant thieves who will steal from anybody anytime anywhere to put off withdrawal. The spiral down to death or salvation can take years and pull innocent people in by the dozens.

It doesn't matter who your father is, as the Kennedys sadly know, and it doesn't matter how well-intentioned you are when you give them another break. Pleas, threats and promises are worthless currency to crackheads and junkies. A few manage to survive to recovery. Many don't. However, by the time that is worked out, a great deal of your energy and money has been spent because some knucklehead made a series of very bad decisions.

The good news is that there are people lined up to manage the nasty business of law enforcement, treatment options and funeral arrangements for us. The bad news is that we have to pay for it one way or another every day.

Love your kids and lock your doors because we ain't seen nothing yet. The traditional heroin markets are minutes away on the interstate, but daring entrepreneurs are willing to deliver death to the fertile fields of bored suburban youth with the same bottom-line goals and clever skills as pizza sellers.

I'm not sure the problem can be overstated. We will certainly see this summer if that is true or not.

John J. Snyder


Failing to try Judge Martin was wrong

It is shocking that the Howard County state's attorney's office has chosen not to prosecute Prince George's Circuit Judge Larnzell Martin Jr. Judge Martin was accused of indecent exposure, assault and a sex offense.

Howard Assistant State's Attorney Sue-Ellen Hantman has effectively swept these charges under the rug. The circumstances allegedly took place in a public restroom in an Annapolis mall and were apparently witnessed by an undercover police officer.

It is inexplicable that activity of this sort would not be aggressively prosecuted, especially when the defendant is a judge who serves in a high position of public trust.

The alleged victim in this case was a stranger to Judge Martin. These are the same restrooms used by unsuspecting children and teen-agers. Ms. Hantman's failure to aggressively pursue this matter was simply wrong.

Timothy J. McCrone

Ellicott City

The writer is a Democratic candidate for Howard County state's attorney.

SHA keeps Howard residents in the dark

It was disconcerting to read in the June 15 article ("Buyers pay for not doing homework about land plans") the callous, sarcastic remarks made by Joseph Rutter, Howard County's director of planning and zoning to homeowners who were disturbed by highway projects in their neighborhoods.

I don't disagree that potential homeowners should research before building. But homeowners can also be unwitting pawns in the political game favoring developers, businesses and the self-perpetuation of the State Highway Administration.

The county and the SHA have duped people who "do their homework." In 1991, we were told that development of Route 32 from Route 108 to Interstate 70 was "not even on the 20-year plan." Five years later, formal planning began. In this same area, two schools are being built and a propane gas storage company wants rezoning to relocate its commercial enterprise from U.S. 40.

No amount of homework or crystal ball gazing could have provided accurate information to homeowners in these circumstances.

Nancy H. Peters

Ellicott City

EMS is a service, not a business

When our politicians say they're going to save the county money, they're not always too specific on how it can be accomplished. Unfortunately, the one entity under financial attack seems to be fire and rescue service.

If the average citizen never had to use the 911 system, he could probably care less where the funds are going.

Shouldn't we maintain the absolute best service if only to save a life or someone's property? Maryland has one of the best programs in the world. The average paramedic and firefighter must be prepared for any emergency at any point in time.

The politicians tend to thrive on statistical reports, and they often question why we need a fire engine here or why we need to hire more personnel. That would be like a paramedic saying, "we generally run about 10 percent pediatric calls yearly, so why do we need to constantly train for such incidents"?

We do this for, you, the public. It's really degrading when the county executives are constantly finding ways to cut our salaries, budgets and morale.

Do we hold off on paying our insurance premiums, assuming we'll never get sick? Of course not. So why jeopardize our public 911 services by allowing these politicians to withhold the necessary funds to maintain this remarkable system?

Stand for what is right. A private organization has moved into the area trying to privatize your emergency medical services.

It is promising large savings to the politicians but neglects to tell the public that their service will become a business.

If you ever need a paramedic unit, you may end up getting a large bill at the end of the transport. Your insurance may not cover such expenses.

Let's keep this great service and fight to eliminate the threat of privatization.

Michael C. Quinlan


The writer is a paramedic.

Pub Date: 6/28/98

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