Closing liquor stores could cut crime, improve the city ...
I couldn't agree more with Councilman Norman A. Handy ("Cut alcohol, control crime," OpinionCommentary, May 16). It's time we took a look at the availability of alcohol and the consequences of its abuse, especially among the poor.
Alcohol is an addictive, depressant drug that causes a lot of problems in addition to crime.
Alcohol addiction causes lost jobs and broken marriages. Some people who drink regularly become more aggressive; others become lethargic and hopeless. In areas where people are trying to deal with poverty, unemployment and violence on a daily basis, alcohol makes life even worse.
Also, rich or poor, people under the influence of alcohol make bad choices.
How many people have gotten drunk, and then told off the boss, totaled their car, missed an interview or hit a child?
Closing liquor stores is a good idea. They don't need to be so prominent in a landscape where children and families are trying to grow and survive.
But it's also important to examine the demand that keeps these places in business. Alcohol addiction is a disease and it responds to treatment.
Spiritual programs, based on abstaining from alcohol and drugs, are free and effective. People who are addicted to alcohol can be restored to health, and then they can reach out to help others.
Then imagine liquor stores having to close down because of lack of business.
Jenny Keith Ciattei
I agree with Councilman Norman A. Handy: We should allow citizens the right to vote on where and if they want liquor outlets in their communities.
As a courtroom clerk in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for the past 26 years, I have seen that alcohol is a common denominator in many crimes.
Norman Handy makes an excellent case. Who are we to quarrel with the success of such cities as Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland?
When we're offered a way to lessen crime and improve our city, let's go for it.
Sylvia B. Mandy
... enforcing liquor laws would be a good start
City Councilman Norman A. Handy's call to reduce liquor outlets will provoke debate about the proper number of liquor licenses for Baltimore and the fairest ways to reduce their number.
But a good start can be made immediately by enforcing more stringently the current liquor laws. Instead of a temporary license suspension for serving or selling to under-age drinkers, the penalty could be license termination.
If enforcement of the current laws does not thin the liquor licenses fast enough, it may at least encourage compliance with the law. It could also be implemented sooner than a legislative decision to cut the number of liquor licenses.
City neighborhoods need their firehouses
I really believe our mayor has a genuine interest in making Baltimore a great city. However, he was ill-advised concerning the closure of seven firehouses.
Engine Company No. 52, for instance, on the corner of Liberty Heights and Woodbrook avenues, is a vital emergency unit in a heavily populated neighborhood which includes Mondawmin Mall, old schools and dilapidated apartments.
The mayor needs to visit the firehouses personally to reach a sensible decision about which ones should be closed.
I applaud the proposed pay increases for the city's police and fire personnel. But, in calling for the closing of seven firehouses, the mayor and his advisers are not looking at the real picture.
Removing a firehouse from a neighborhood with houses 90 to 150 years old is asking for these still-viable blocks to die.
Nothing kills the value of a block or its neighbors like a burned-out shell.
Nothing adds to the city's upkeep burden like another derelict building to be torn down.
Honoring Southern soldiers need not venerate slavery
In his column "A final surrender 135 years after war"(OpinionCommentary, May 15), William Lowe concludes that it is not possible to honor the battlefield exploits of Southern armies without also honoring the system of racial oppression the armies fought to perpetuate.
If we apply such logic to all people and nations, history becomes nothing more than a litany of sins.
If honoring the commendable aspects of our natures means we should be condemned for having also honored our darker side, then we should take down every monument and be ashamed to fly the flag of the United States. The Vietnam Memorial should be bulldozed.
The lessons of history should not enforce bigotry and hatred. The lessons derived from the Holocaust, the treatment of native Americans and African-Americans should not include the notion that the people among the oppressors are somehow inherently evil and deserving of our undying derision.
The lesson I take from these and other events is that all peoples, under the right circumstances, are capable of being the oppressor or the oppressed.
But the lessons some take from the Civil War have resulted in anti-Southern bigotry.
Once Southern heritage has been condemned to oblivion and all Southerners are made to feel ashamed of their past, who will be attacked next? Whose heritage is free from collective guilt?
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Donald S. Smith
I beg to differ with William Lowe's premise that those who "honor the battlefield exploits of the Southern armies cannot do so "without also honoring the system of racially based oppression that those armies fought to perpetuate.
But, of course, I would differ; I'm a white Southerner.
Beyond my birthplace bias, however, I believe Mr. Lowe's approach to this matter is wrong.
I submit that both the northern and southern armies' efforts can be appreciated for what they were, exclusive of their backdrop: extraordinary military accomplishments under arduous conditions. Michael J. Land
Healthy, fit children make better students
The annual arrival of the MSPAP tests is an important opportunity to remind ourselves that the health of Maryland's children and their education success are inextricably linked. Healthy youngsters make better learners.
Across the state, principals in the days before the test ask parents to ensure children get a good night's sleep, eat well, exercise moderately and, perhaps, minimize their consumption of electronic media.
The simple measures we ask parents and children to take before the MSPAP tests should be a consistent practice before every school day.
Test scores have plateaued nationally. We will not make the next leap toward successful education of our young until we acknowledge the importance of their health to achieving education goals.
Dr. Daniel J. Levy
The writer is national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.