It was shameful to criticize military as...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It was shameful to criticize military as we honor veterans

The decision to print the editorial "Memorial to what?" (May 28) the day before the holiday set aside to honor the men and women who have given their lives for our country was an absolute disgrace.

How dare The Sun desecrate their memory with the suggestion of "reports that strongly suggest ... misconduct by a few American units" in the Persian Gulf war.

The Sun was undeterred by the fact that Seymour Hersch's charges published in the New Yorker are in dispute.

Memorial Day is set aside to pay tribute to all the brave men, dead and alive, who put our lives above their own, not to dredge up half-truths that sully the reputation of our fighting forces.

The drivel in that editorial was obviously written by someone who has no understanding of war.

We are not "celebrating" with holiday parades. We are honoring the lives honorably lost to protect ours.

Cooky McClung, Chestertown

The Sun editorial "Memorial to what?" (May 28) is a cause for sadness. The decision to criticize the U.S. military at a time set aside to honor those who served this nation honorably was shameful.

I find no fault with the idea that we should investigate charges of wartime wrongdoing. I do think we should await the conclusion of such investigations before we condemn the brave defenders of the freedoms we enjoy.

It would also have been more thoughtful to express such criticisms at a more appropriate time -- when the loved ones of those killed in battle aren't grieving over their loss.

Frank Harbin, Parkville

I was completely taken aback by The Sun's editorial "Memorial to what?" How could The Sun in good conscience smear this holiday with a reference to some unproven allegations of misconduct by our troops in the Persian Gulf war.

The Sun's liberalism has sunk to new lows -- and bad taste.

Tom C. Feldman, Pikesville

Are we becoming inured to shootings in school?

Another school shooting ("Fla. teen fatally shoots teacher after being suspended from school," May 27). This time the story was on page 9.

The week before a school shooting got a short blurb in the National Digest. We are so inured to murder in our schools that it no longer makes front-page news.

When are we going to learn: Allowing a child access to a loaded gun is an unpardonable act of negligence, all too often committed by a parent or grandparent.

Teaching children about gun safety, as the National Rifle Association (NRA) proposes, is not the answer. A small child is curious and lacks an understanding of reality; an angry teen-ager is emotionally unstable and irresponsible.

We understand this concept when it comes to driving a car or signing a legal contract. As a nation, how can we be so ignorant when it comes to guns?

No matter how much sympathy we may feel for the child's grieving family, until there are swift and strong consequences for allowing a child access to a loaded gun, the mayhem will continue.

And we can no longer afford to let Charlton Heston play God with our children's lives.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann, Phoenix

What about the rights of those threatened by guns?

Before we become concerned that the members of the National Rifle Association rights are being abrogated, there is another concern.

How can we ignore the seniors who are afraid to go out at night and the mothers who won't allow their children to play outside because of flying bullets?

Who is speaking up for their rights?

Stanley Oring, Pikesville

A better world for little boys requires more responsibility

On the front of the May 23 Sun was a beautiful picture of a little boy in a yellow raincoat walking through a mud puddle.

Surrounding this picture were articles on the disbarment of the president of the United States, a city public works director found guilty of wrongdoing, an all-pro football player's murder trial, unrest in Israel and mortgage rates going up.

What kind of world are we leaving this boy?

Yet in that picture is hope for the future. We have to hang in there for that little boy, and all the boys and girls like him.

And we've got to be responsible and teach responsibility -- at home, at school, in church and yes, in the National Football League, too.

Gordon Straus, Fallston

Disbar President Clinton, before he leaves public life

I disagree strongly with The Sun's editorial position that the Arkansas Supreme Court should wait until Bill Clinton's term ends to act on his disbarment ("Deciding Bill Clinton's fate," May 29).

The editorial said that this "courtesy" was extended to Richard Nixon, whose sins, The Sun says, "were much greater."

Clinton lied under oath in a deposition while president of the United States. Why should he not be punished for this misconduct while he is still president?

Disbarment once he leaves the public eye would be but a blow to his pride. But revoking his law license will demonstrate that even a president cannot flout the law with impunity.

Nixon was a crook and he paid the price. However, his disbarment followed his resignation from office, as did that of his vice president, Spiro T. Agnew.

Unfortunately, Mr. Clinton did not demonstrate sufficient integrity to resign once his serial lying and his personal misconduct became public and he brought shame to the presidency.

Unlike Nixon, Mr. Clinton put the country through the torture of an impeachment trial, at the end of which, everyone knew he was guilty but the jury let him walk.

Let's hope the Arkansas Supreme Court does not take the same view.

Robert A. Erlandson, Towson

Balog worked hard for a better Baltimore

The Sun's recent articles and editorial on George Balog's tenure as Baltimore's director of public works painted a biased picture ("Balog's comeuppance," editorial May 24).

As an aide to Mr. Balog, I saw a man who worked 12 to 16 hours a day to make Baltimore better.

Mr. Balog's strict management style was necessary to motivate a lethargic work force whose education and skills were well below those of private industry.

Mr. Balog, while tough, was always fair, never fired an employee for challenging his authority, and never laid off a laborer.

He was nationally acclaimed as the best public works director in the country.

How long would these disgruntled employees have lasted in private industry if they challenged their supervisor the way they did while working for the city? About two minutes.

Now, as a result of the jury's verdict, the notion that employees can challenge their supervisor's authority and speak publicly against management decisions will result in chaos in the workplace.

Finally, The Sun's notion that Mr. Balog required employees to call him "Director" is absurd. A lot of people called him Mr. Balog, Boss or George.

I called him, George, and when he really got me mad, a lot worse.

David Mitchell, Baltimore

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