Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

We must not stop striving to develop...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

We must not stop striving to develop superior weapons

The article by Carroll Pursell, "Endless race for superiority" (May 13), was a classic example of starting with a flawed premise and reaching a flawed conclusion.

The idea that weapons should not be developed if they are doomed to obsolescence is nonsensical. All weapons (and inventions) eventually become obsolete. If the possibility of obsolescence precluded the development of weapons, we would never develop weapons.

Mr. Pursell cites many examples of defense systems that failed and seemed to link their failures to their obsolescence. But he overlooks the fact that the victors in all these conflicts were also using weapons that are now obsolete.

Weapons and defenses are made to meet the need of the day, not intended to last forever. The weapons the United States used to win two world wars are hopelessly obsolete today. Using Mr. Pursell's thinking, we would not have had the weapons to win those wars.

The race for weapon superiority is a necessary goal. If we strive for anything less than superiority, we will need to invest heavily in body bags for our next conflict with Saddam Hussein.

Donald B. Anderson, Baltimore

Monument to World War II has been delayed long enough

After a delay of almost 50 years, the United States in 1995 finally started plans for a World War II Memorial to honor the fine men and women who fought and died in that conflict.

This memorial was planned in accordance with the Commemorative Works Act; the site and design were the subject of 22 public meetings. Based on the approval of all concerned, a groundbreaking for the memorial was held Nov. 11.

Now Congress has blocked a lawsuit over the site ("Congress crushes opposition to Mall site for monument," May 23) and given the project final approval.

With the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial in place, I think it is outrageous for us to delay any longer acknowledging our debt to these veterans who sacrificed so much for our country.

Jeune Rockenbaugh, Westminster

Reimer's column demeans jobs of governor, mothers

Susan Reimer compares the running of the "tiny" state of Massachusetts to the governor's impending maternity leave and bets Gov. Jane Swift is back after six weeks, because motherhood will be so much more difficult than being governor ("C'mon, bearing children is natural, not a nuisance," May 11) .

This is demeaning to both jobs. Neither is insignificant and neither is easy.

And for Ms. Reimer to characterize childbirth as "a temporary inconvenience" reveals the style of motherhood she represents, which is not ideal for the child.

But if Ms. Reimer truly believes what she states, that motherhood is the most demanding juggling act in the world, then certainly she has made a case for Ms. Swift's temporary replacement.

And if Ms. Swift intends to take eight weeks off immediately following the birth of her twins, what is the flap about giving up her position a week earlier?

The best course of action is to do what is best for her children, whose health and well-being are at stake.

Georgia Corso, Baltimore

Vicious dogs are the result of irresponsible pet owners

Three barks for KAL, who epitomized the pit bull situation in Baltimore (and elsewhere) in his May 16 editorial cartoon.

It is far past the point where people should understand that it is the dog owners, not the dogs, who are responsible for the offenses committed by these four-footed animals.

I have long been a lover, handler, breeder and devoted servant to canines, and I have yet to encounter a "vicious" dog that became that way without the help of the two-footed animal in control.

Pat LoCascio, Annapolis

Banning firearms is just as silly as banning dog breeds

The Baltimore City Council has decided not to ban pit bulls ("City Council rejects ban on breeds of attack dog," May 15). It's the irresponsible owners who should be punished, because pit bulls aren't born violent and vicious dogs; they're trained to act this way.

The same argument can be used against banning guns. The guns aren't manufactured to be bad; it's the people who use them in an irresponsible, reckless fashion who should be punished.

But when can I, as a responsible and law-abiding citizen of Baltimore, take my firearm out for a walk?

Michael M. Mehring, Baltimore

Balto. Co.'s meddling blocks enforcement of zoning order

Robert Barrett's letter, "Balto. Co. officials just tried to resolve neighborhood dispute" (May 15), was misleading, as it suggested this was a neighborhood dispute between two parties on an issue that had no legal basis.

The fact is that the Poor Boys garden and plant center received a zoning change based on certain conditions. After the rezoning was granted, the conditions were not fully upheld.

These conditions were then written into a zoning order. The court system would have enforced the conditions but county officials interfered and gave illegal permission to reduce the conditions, as a judge's ruling indicated ("Community rift shines light on county methods," May 8).

After five years, conditions have still not been met. I feel this is largely because of county officials interfering and not enforcing the law.

Ruth Baisden, Baltimore

Government has no business telling us how to treat pain

I do not understand the Supreme Court's decision banning the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes ("Justices rule out medical marijuana," May 15).

It is not the government's place to tell people what methods or substances they can use to alleviate their pain. If a squadron of police officers and judges believes that ripping a joint out of the hands of a person suffering from cancer or AIDS is justice, then they are mistaken.

Citizens should be outraged by this assault upon the most vulnerable among us.

And anyone who is not willing to walk in another person's shoes shouldn't attempt to tell him or her what method to use to reduce the excruciating pain associated with some of these ailments.

Michael DeCicco, Severn

Rising city test scores testify to contributions of volunteers

Thank you for the editorial recognizing the accomplishments of Baltimore City school pupils, teachers and administrators ("Schools score," May 19).

Rising test scores represent real gains in students' abilities to read and compute. This is truly the best news we could get.

When the city-state partnership was created, our public schools got more money. It is evident that the new school board has used the funds wisely.

Chairman J. Tyson Tildon and the members of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners deserve our recognition, praise and thanks. Most of them have unstintingly given hundreds of hours of service every year since 1997.

The kind of citizen involvement that these dedicated, creative volunteers have provided should give us faith in our democracy and in our ability to revitalize Baltimore.

Charlie Cooper, Baltimore

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