The evidence against Kelvin Drummond is overwhelming
I write to express my dismay at Gregory Kane's column "Governor gets 2nd chance to make the right decision" (June 7). Mr. Kane reports that the strongest evidence against Tyrone Gilliam was the testimony of Kelvin Drummond, who "just happened to be Gilliam's co-defendant."
Mr. Kane opines "it's just as possible that Kelvin Drummond was the trigger man."
I'm certain that, if Mr. Kane were to look in The Sun's archives concerning Christine Doerfler's murder and Tyrone Gilliam's trial, he would easily learn that Tyrone Gilliam confessed, on tape, to being the trigger man.
In post-conviction proceedings it was learned that Tyrone Gilliam had also told his lawyer that he was the trigger man. His own written words included "I've cold bloodedly killed someone" and "I've caused a lot of hurt, just by pulling a trigger one time."
Two days after Mr. Doerfler's death, Tyrone Gilliam was captured with the murder weapon after a high-speed chase.
All of these facts are unquestioned, a matter of public record and easily available to Mr. Kane.
I cannot imagine the source of information Mr. Kane used to report that the testimony of Kelvin Drummond was the strongest evidence and to suggest that it was the only evidence.
But such shoddy journalism does a disservice to readers and the citizens of Maryland.
John P. Cox
The writer is an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore County who was involved in prosecuting Tyrone Gilliam.
Afghani women resist oppression heroically
Kudos for The Sun's article "Taliban's yoke crushes women" (June 11, Perspective) by Lauren Goodsmith.
The human rights abuses in Afghanistan are so horrific, the violent abridging of women's rights so appalling, that we must not let them fade from the radar screen of U.S. policy discussions or our own personal consciousness.
I was glad to see that Ms. Goodsmith's excellent article portrayed the people of Afghanistan as more than passive victims.
The work and the women of the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan is an inspiring example of resistance and constructive action under dire circumstances and with few resources.
U.S. health system isn't as bad as headline suggested
The Sun's headline suggesting that the United States stands 24th in health, even though it exceeds all nations in health expenditures per capita, was disconcerting ("Japanese rated most healthy; Americans rank 24th," June 5). However, it is not accurate.
The index the World Health Organization used to reach that rating is based upon assumptions that are not applicable internationally. A more valid indicator is life expectancy at birth. In this regard, the United States ranks 13th among nations with 10 million or more people.
And part of the gap between the United States and top-ranking countries is because we report all infant deaths regardless of birthweight. Some nations, pursuant to WHO instructions, do not report deaths among very low weight babies.
U.S. data also includes the cost of institutional and related paid home care of the impaired elderly as a health expenditure. In other nations, these costs may be included under social expenditures.
We have room for improvement of our health care, but overall we're in good shape. Our medical care for the elderly, in particular, under Medicare, is among the best in the world.
The writer is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Can't we finally just let Elian Gonzalez go home?
It is troublesome that Judicial Watch has taken on U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in the Elian Gonzalez matter ("Panel subpoenas Reno over Elian raid," June 9).
I am no friend of Fidel Castro or fan of President Clinton, yet dragging this case on has become a tiresome redundancy.
Why should I care if the U.S. State Department was in touch with Mr. Castro? Doesn't it occur to Sen. Orrin Hatch or the Senate Judiciary Committee that Elian Gonzalez is a Cuban citizen?
It is tragic to witness a little boy turned into a war trophy by the Cuban exiles in Miami and the Cubans in Havana.
The way these folks have exploited the situation is just awful, and it should stop.
Criticism of Dixon was unwarranted
It's unfortunate that Michael Olesker's column "A brash strip-joint owner asks for aid" (June 8) ignored the comments I made to Tom Pelton, who wrote the article Mr. Olesker was commenting on ("Dixon helps felon looking for property," June 6).
The implication of Mr. Olesker's column was that Kenneth Jackson received preferential treatment because he contributed to City Council President Sheila Dixon's campaign -- and that those who didn't contribute to her campaign didn't get her help.
In Mr. Pelton's article, however, I was accurately quoted saying, "I don't think she's [Ms. Dixon] doing anything special for Jackson. She's offered to help me a couple of times, and I know that offer is still on the table."
Mr. Pelton also accurately reported that I did not contribute to Ms. Dixon's campaign.
From the beginning, in fact, Ms. Dixon has been sympathetic to the plight of the west side's business people. Twice she has said to me, "If you have any trouble with the city, come and see me."
Ms. Dixon should be applauded as a champion of small business people -- not admonished for appearance's sake.
Lou Boulmetis Baltimore
The writer is the owner of Hippodrome Hatters, a west-side haberdashery.
The recent Sun headline that attempted to impugn the ethical integrity of the president of the Baltimore City Council for assisting a taxpaying Baltimore City entrepreneur illustrates poor journalistic judgment or naivete ("Dixon helps felon looking for property," June 6).
Our responsibility as public servants is to serve the public. Ex-offenders are a part of the public that we serve.
Maryland releases 13,500 individuals from the state prison system each year. The limited number of rehabilitation programs in the state prison system and the scarcity of needed support services in the community for released inmates contribute to a significant percentage of them returning to state prisons.
The Jackson family should be commended for the type of self-reliance that has resulted in Mr. Jackson not becoming a recidivism statistic.
Maryland is one of a small group of states that renders individuals convicted of certain crimes ineligible for life to register to vote.
The suggestion that rehabilitated individuals should be further disenfranchised by denying them the right to support candidates of their choice is absurd.
Salima Siler Marriott Baltimore
The writer represents District 40 in the Maryland House of Delegates.