Defendant accused of slaying Prothero should face...


Defendant accused of slaying Prothero should face death

One of the defendants accused of killing Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero wants a judge to rule that he can't face the death penalty ("Suspect in killing contests death penalty," Aug. 26).

I wonder if Sergeant Prothero, who was killed working a second job because our police officers, like our teachers, are horribly underpaid, would like to have avoided the death penalty inflicted on him by lowlifes who find it easier to steal and kill than work.

I'm also not sure what the defendant is so worried about. If (and, I hope, when) he gets the death penalty, in our wonderful justice system he won't have to worry about getting remotely close to the death chamber for another 15 or 20 years.

Katherine Miller, Baltimore

Why do those accused of murder, such as in the Bruce A. Prothero case, worry so much about facing the death penalty?

Unless one is lucky enough to live in a state with the courage to carry death sentences out, such as Texas, the killers will be able to play the justice system with years of appeals and drag out the issue for 25 years or so.

If only their victims had the luxury of postponing their deaths as long.

Katherine Weber, Baltimore

What about cigarette sales in Delaware?

Perhaps before Maryland starts patting itself on the back for the drop in cigarette sales and considering the reasons for it, we should check out the increase of cigarette sales in Delaware ("Sharp drop in cigarette sales in state," Aug. 26).

Sharon Neese, Baltimore

We must stop allowing OPEC to hold us hostage

The United States is again begging OPEC for an oil production increase ("U.S. again asks OPEC's help as oil stock near 24-year low," Aug. 24).

It is inconceivable that this country continues to let itself be held hostage for oil by the countries of the Middle East, which is one of the more unstable and volatile areas of the world.

With all of the technology, ingenuity and money we have available, I'm sure our engineers could develop more efficient automobile engines, alternate fuels or a combination of both.

We've made great strides in war weaponry -- we can drop a bomb down a smokestack from five miles up -- but a redesigned car engine stymies us?

I suspect that one of the culprits in this non-action scenario is Big Oil, which would probably not sit idly by while a large portion of its market disappears.

Herman W. Koletschke, Cockeysville

Rapper Eminem's song didn't celebrate violence

In her column "Awards in the year of Erin Brockovich" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 25), Ellen Goodman presented recording artist Eminem with the "Misogyny in Music Award" for the his account of a murder in the song "Kim."

While Eminem, along with countless other rappers, is often guilty of the despicable, casual misogyny that runs strongly through hip-hop music, "Kim" is not a part of this disturbing tradition.

It is rather a harrowing and unsettling musical account of domestic violence, one that should leave unsuspecting listeners chilled and upset.

The song's narrator is not bragging about his heinous actions, nor is the abuse and murder presented as acceptable or cool. Eminem's masterful voice-acting and lyrics make it clear that the murderer in the song is deranged and psychotic -- not a hero but a mentally ill animal.

This piece of art should be viewed as a strong affirmation of what's wrong and what's right, not as an endorsement of domestic violence.

Len Gutkin, Baltimore

Riding husband's coattails, first lady betrays feminism

In her column "Where have all the women gone?" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 29), Helen Thomas mentioned the antipathy toward Hillary Clinton by some women in New York City and reports that a "prominent woman, who was in the trenches in the women's movement years ago" finds the backlash against Mrs. Clinton "baffling."

Baffling? I don't think so.

Ms. Clinton has been riding her husband's coattails for years. Does anyone honestly think that the Democratic Party would have given her its Senate nomination if she was not the wife of the president?

Ms. Clinton is more than a carpetbagger. By seizing her party's Senate nomination, she has demonstrated that she either does not understand or has decided not to abide by a fundamental principle of the women's rights movement: that women should have equal opportunities to demonstrate their abilities and be recognized and rewarded for their achievements.

Carol Andersen, Baltimore

'Survivor's' popularity shows our values are in decline

I couldn't agree more with Gregory Kane's opinion of "Survivor" ("Stupid show offers us a bleak view of our values," Aug. 26).

I cannot believe that such an insult to our intelligence was viewed by so many: 51 million viewers -- that's almost 20 percent of the population.

I am shocked and dismayed by the new depths to which entertainment has sunk. I'm afraid to say that it can't get worse because whenever anyone says that, it does get worse.

Mike Gilberg, Reisterstown

School bus drivers are absolutely drug-free

The Sun's article "Drug abusers don't necessarily lose job" (Aug. 19) was interesting, but did not include one piece of information of utmost interest to readers with children in Maryland's public schools.

Perhaps you will find "people in all kinds of jobs" who have been caught using drugs or alcohol on the job, but there is one place you absolutely will not find them: behind the wheel of a public school bus.

Maryland's pupil transportation industry has a long history of aggressive and proactive action on behalf of our students.

Before federal laws mandated drug testing for school bus drivers, Maryland's State Department of Education, in concert with transportation directors in each county, advocated drug testing.

We worked cooperatively to have bylaws approved that ensure that any public school bus driver who tests positive for alcohol or illegal drugs, forever loses the right to drive a school bus in this state.

To comply with the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act, many school systems provide support for any of our employees with documented disabilities who are in recovery.

In Baltimore County we provide a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program; however, employees are removed from "safety-sensitive" functions while participating in such programs. And drivers know that once a drug test is administered and a positive result is confirmed, the opportunity to seek assistance is gone.

It is neither coincidental nor accidental that school buses are considered the safest form of transportation.

This proactive approach to driver and vehicle safety is a reflection of our continuing belief that we carry the most precious cargo in the world.

Rita Fromm, Baltimore

The writer is director of transportation for the Baltimore County Public Schools.

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