Coverage didn't do justice to success of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Coverage didn't do justice to success of Roland Park students

How thoroughly disheartening to read The Sun's paltry coverage of Roland Park Middle School's participation in the National Academic League (NAL) national championship and the headline's negative slant ("Roland Park Middle loses in semifinal of academic competition," April 26).

A headline that concentrates on defeat, rather than the fact a Baltimore City school team placed fourth in the nation, is a subtle message to students that if they work hard (several extra-curricular hours every week for most of the year), the best they'll get is a focus on their defeat.

And where has the coverage been during our regular season play, when students from 27 Baltimore middle schools compete academically?

At a time when it is critical for Baltimore residents to hear what is working in our city, The Sun has done readers, residents and students a grave disservice.

Shannon E. Katona

Baltimore

We would like to propose a different headline for The Sun's article "Roland Park Middle loses in semifinal of academic competition." How about "Roland Park Middle School battles hard in NAL national semifinals" ?

As parents of children who went through Roland Park Middle School, we would like to express our pride in these students and their accomplishments.

Nearly every year our NAL team, under coach Marty Sharrow, wins the city and state titles. They do it through dedication and hard work. They do it by coming to school early and spending their own time practicing and practicing.

They deserve nothing but our praise and admiration for having earned the chance to compete on a national level.

We think The Sun missed a real opportunity here. A newspaper that considers Reading by Nine an accomplishment should not use words like "lose" and "soundly defeated" to describe our best and brightest children.

Nina Harkness

Gary Harkness

Baltimore

Put libraries' resources into underused city schools

Two of the problems the city is dealing with now are empty space in elementary and middle schools, some of which have no libraries, and the budgetary need to close some public libraries.

Wouldn't a good solution be to take the books from a closing library, along with a library staff person, and put them into the empty space in schools with no library?

This would give the children in those neighborhoods more access to books, and previously non-existent library time could be scheduled during the school day.

Martha N. Wilson

Baltimore

Trade pact surrenders sovereignty to the market

I think it is necessary to re-examine exactly what is and is not democratic about the Free Trade Area of the Americas ("A hemispheric shift to dictator-free trade zone," editorial, April 24).

The political leaders? President Bush's status as democratically elected is debatable, but even if one accepts it, the choice was not based on free trade. In fact there was no choice, since Al Gore's position on free trade was identical. Corporations interested in free trade fund both parties to ensure a friendly administration.

The protesters? Of course we were not elected. We are the electorate. In addition to overwhelmingly nonviolent students and others from diverse backgrounds, tens of thousands of union members and their families were there to protest. Nevertheless, we were gassed indiscriminately.

The multinational corporations which will benefit from free trade are certainly not elected. The working conditions and environmental effects they will bring will reflect that fact.

The agreement itself? Under it, governments would be bound to tear up any law that buffers their land or people from the ravages of the market.

This is nothing more than a surrender of democratic sovereignty.

Tyler Roylance

Hunt Valley

Civilians and enemy soldiers can be difficult to tell apart

The controversy about ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey's conduct in Vietnam is really about the "fog of war" ("'I feel guilty' for attack in Vietnam, Kerrey says," April 27).

Since World War II, the superiority of American technology has caused our military enemies to hide behind civilians. During almost a year of front-line combat in Korea, I encountered many times when the enemy's military hid behind civilians. When they shoot at you from behind the civilians, do you shoot back?

Thinking back 50 years, I recall sitting at a roadblock as thousands of civilian refugees mixed with enemy soldiers passed through us, then that night hearing bugles and seeing flares as enemy forces hit us from the rear. Combat is confusion.

D. Randall Beirne

Baltimore

Criminals who take our trust earn harm that befalls them

Michael Olesker's column ("Weighing property against a human life," April 29) skirted a key issue: The issue is not the value of the property; the feeling of rage comes from the loss of one's lifestyle, not money.

When someone robs you or steals your property, he or she changes your whole life. It doesn't matter the value of the property they take; it's the security, peace of mind and trust they have taken.

The question remains whether this is worth a life.

I guess it depends on whose life you're talking about: The law-abiding citizen whose life is destroyed, or at least altered significantly, or the lazy, good-for-nothing thief who cares about nothing but himself.

H. Staton

Clarksville

Those planning robberies can learn from the Back River Supply robbery that stealing can be injurious to your health.

Evelyn C. Schad

Baltimore

Submarine commander has suffered enough

The Sun's editorial about Cmdr. Scott Waddle left me mystified ("Sub collision outcome far from justice for all," April 26).

So the Japanese are not satisfied by this punishment. Isn't that too bad? We were never given an apology from Japan for attacking Pearl Harbor.

The commander was forced into retirement after his imminent 20th anniversary in the service. Can you imagine his sorrow and humiliation?

Marge Provance

Baltimore

Raising tax will spur exodus from the city

The exodus from Baltimore continues and will continue because of the proposed increase in the local income tax by our now-unpopular mayor.

What guts it took for Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. to ask that the City Council and the city's deputy mayors and department heads lead by example and "take a 10 percent pay cut" ("Income tax rise of 20% sought," April 26).

Let the Baltimore voting public (whatever is left) make note of the reaction to this timely suggestion.

Grace Y. Jones

Baltimore

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