Asking an 'authority' to restrict big vehicles...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Asking an 'authority' to restrict big vehicles could limit freedom

A writer complains in his letter "Something must be done about sport utility vehicles" (Dec 31) of the proliferation of sport utility vehicles. While his logic is not surprising to read in the editorial pages of The Sun, it is still disheartening to read a letter from a citizen who fears freedom.

His letter begins, "How long will it be before someone in authority stops the ever-increasing number of sport utility vehicles on your highways?" Who is the "authority" to which the writer pleads? Obviously some level of government.

The letter writer appears to prefer to drive a vehicle with that does not have "a bumper six inches higher than the cars." The implication is that in a crash between a car and an SUV, the SUV will suffer less damage than the car. His argument appears to be that someone who wishes to drive a safer vehicle should not be allowed to do so because this would put him or her at a disadvantage in a collision.

Again and again, the pages of The Sun are filled with people pleading with the government to enforce their choices on their fellow citizens. The letter writer obviously dislikes SUVs and would probably not buy one, which is his right.

However, to try to enforce his will on his fellow citizens, through the offices of "someone in authority," is an assault on the very bedrock of freedom. If we beg the government to limit the freedom of others, we destroy our own liberty.

Ted Gettinger III

Elkridge

I read with great indignation the letter to your paper regarding the use of SUVs on the highways. Has this reader lost his perspective?

As an owner and driver of a Chevrolet Suburban LT and a Jeep Cherokee, I feel safe and secure from the hundreds of tractor trailers and delivery trucks on the roads. We bought our vehicles so that we could get my husband to his chemotherapy and radiation therapy sessions in any kind of weather, so our SUVs are being used in life-saving ways.

Not all of us drive like maniacs and endanger others' lives.

Michele Popp

Baltimore

Ending year, starting year with KAL, Lane cartoons

I immensely enjoyed the cartoons by KAL Dec. 1 and Mike Lane Jan. 1. Both artists are genuinely unique and clever, and the cartoons gave me a chuckle to end and start the New Year.

Marge Griffith

Pasadena

Ohioans taking pleasure in painful Ravens season

Cleveland Brown fans everywhere let out a giggle of satisfaction watching the Ravens cap off yet another losing season with their first head coach firing. With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe, may there be many more, many more.

Jim Mollenkopf

Toledo, OH

Pointing out the problems with popular laser devices

Parents of children and adolescents who have received laser pointers as holiday presents should be reminded that these devices are not toys.

A recent report of a seventh-grader in Kansas City who suffered an injury to his retina serves as a reminder that laser pointers can be harmful, particularly when one stares at the beam for more than 10 seconds.

Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates lasers and, therefore, these devices must carry warnings indicating that the beam should not be directed at anyone's eyes. Powerful laser pointers that may be available via the Internet have not met FDA requirements and have a greater potential to damage the retina.

It is important to keep these devices away from infants and children and remind all family members regarding the importance of eye safety.

Dr. Eve J. Higginbotham

Baltimore

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and chairwoman of the University of Maryland's Department of Ophthalmology.

Stop picking on smokers with tobacco tax try

I just wish that people would just leave us smokers alone. I am 43 and have been smoking for about 25 years. Some people want to raise the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 a pack so that kids can't afford to buy them. But the tax would only hurt smokers like me.

Peter Luik

Baltimore

'Baltimore's Jesse Ventura' should become its mayor

Electing a candidate from the ranks of current officeholders guarantees that Baltimore will get more of what it's been getting. Every year, more and more dollars are thrown down a bottomless hole by self-serving politicians who owe others for their employment.

We should follow the example recently set by Minnesotans. Rather than align themselves with either traditional party, a majority of the voters chose a "maverick" candidate who avoided labels and addressed the issues with new approaches. Electing Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura gives those citizens a chance at really solving their problems.

An "activist mayor" is already here, waiting to be elected. Like Mr. Ventura, he's short of hair, and like Mr. Ventura, he's short on political "graces." He has a long record of organizing the citizenry, but is short on political debt; he's beholden to no one's organization.

His positions are not unpopular; some are similar to the current mayor's. A resident of Walbrook Junction, he has devoted years of his life to attaining equality for all groups, demonstrating for civil rights as early as the 1940s and 1950s, and for a nonprofit insurance co-op for city residents in the 1980s and 1990s.

A. Robert Kaufman is Baltimore's Jesse Ventura. If this paper continues to objectively inform its readers of the candidates' positions, those readers just might elect a mayor who will actually accomplish something.

Howard H. Conaway Jr.

Sparks

President (Elizabeth) Dole brings reason to cheer

Elizabeth Dole's expression of interest in running for the presidency presents the interesting possibility of at last having a lady in the White House. Go Liddy!

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

'Extra' monthly cable fees are no piddling amount

Mark Ribbing's article in the Jan. 3 Perspective section on "digital cable's far-reaching promise" contains a reference to the cost of Comcast's new digital service that is misleading.

Comcast's David Nevins says its 170-channel offering costs "about $43 per month . . . other required monthly fees are extra."

In my case, the extra monthly fees add another $30, which pays for about 160 of the 170 channel offerings (40 of which are CD quality music channels). I think the Comcast offering is a good value but only if you are willing to pay extra fees for viewing variety. Without extra fees, digital alone brings little to the party.

Ken Mayhorne

Lutherville

Is Marshall the top name in United States history?

Your article "Shakespeare's the man of millennium in Britain" (Jan. 2) provoked some interesting conversation around our breakfast table.

The United States hasn't been around for 1,000 years, but we tried to pick significant Americans anyway. As we made our list, we were surprised at the number of times one name kept coming up: Marshall (John, George and Thurgood).

Maybe it's not the U.S. name of the millennium, but looking at our courts, foreign policy, education and civil rights, Marshall certainly has been an important name in our history.

Jacqui Hedberg

Baltimore

Sunspot.net keeps reader connected to Baltimore

I used to read your newspaper daily when I lived in Baltimore. Now that I am living in San Antonio, Texas, I find that http: //www.sunspot.net is a wonderful way for me to stay connected with happenings in and around Baltimore, not to mention national and international news.

I commend your staff for keeping such a visible presence of Baltimore in my life.

Jamie Blount

San Antonio, TX

To our readers

The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letters@baltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

Pub Date: 1/08/99

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