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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Banning guns of any sort isn't cure for crime

I wholeheartedly agree with most of The Sun's position on the proposed ban of toy guns in Annapolis ("Wrong target," editorial, July 7). The incidents involving the misuse of toy guns are rare and isolated, and laws banning toy guns would needlessly punish large numbers of children.

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However, the editorial's last paragraph implies that real guns should be banned in Maryland.

The Sun states that "empirical data" fails to demonstrate that laws banning toy guns reduce accidental police shootings. I am pleased to report to The Sun that there is a great deal of empirical data showing that real guns prove far more beneficial to law-abiding gun owners than to criminals.

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Furthermore, countries such as England and Australia that have banned the ownership of guns are experiencing huge crime increases.

Therefore, the answer to The Sun's question, "'Aren't those [real guns] the guns that should be outlawed?" is an emphatic "no."

Chris DeAdder

Severn

Outlawing toy guns or real guns are both ridiculous ideas found in the editorial "Wrong target" (July 7).

To reduce gun violence, the only effective approach is successfully prosecuting, convicting and sentencing the criminals with long rap sheets who are causing much of the gun violence.

Charles Guggenheimer

Baltimore

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Tuition hike will kill the dreams of many

Imagine the uproar in Annapolis if fast-food costs or Orioles' ticket prices took a 22 percent jump overnight. There would be a special legislative session to investigate, and fingers would be pointed.

But the regents of the University System of Maryland have foisted such a giant tuition increase on thousands of hard-working Maryland voters with a snap of their fingers ("At risk of withering amid budget crisis," July 7).

The university system of any state depends on more than sports teams for prestige. These very large tuition hikes will keep talented young people who don't have football scholarships from realizing their dreams.

Lynda Gomeringer

Baltimore

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Easy to be brave with lives of others

Once again, our president has resorted to the kind of macho, Old West rhetoric that engenders so much scorn abroad. However, his latest challenge to the Iraqis who are still loyal to the deposed Saddam Hussein (i.e., "Bring them on") is not only offensive but abhorrent ("Bush tells Iraqis: 'Bring them on,'" July 3).

It is easy to be brave with the lives of others. But one wonders how the families of those in harm's way in Iraq feel about such talk.

George B. Albright III

Cockeysville

Taxpayers will pay to save Bush's honor

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It was bad enough when my tax dollars went to pay for bombing Iraq, which led directly to the need for my tax dollars to rebuild what we bombed in Iraq ("U.S. base in Iraq hit with mortars," July 4).

Now I have to pay for a bounty on Saddam Hussein's head to give President Bush the opportunity to save face.

Gail Goldman

Annapolis

Put a bigger price on Hussein's head

Twenty-five million dollars for Saddam Hussein ("U.S. base in Iraq hit with mortars," July 4)? What a paltry sum.

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The continued failure to find Mr. Hussein is costing us many lives and billions of dollars to maintain a massive force in Iraq because many Iraqis believe he will return.

If Osama bin Laden is worth $25 million, then Mr. Hussein is surely worth $100 million.

Evan Alevizatos Chriss

Baltimore

Court didn't create the right to privacy

I am appalled at the ignorance of those who think the Supreme Court defines new rights ("Wrong for courts to create rights," letters, July 1).

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According to the Ninth Amendment (don't forget to read them all), our rights consist not only of those enumerated within the Constitution but also those "retained by the people."

If I retain the right to engage in any consensual behavior with fellow adults, the court can either recognize and protect or reject and violate that right. The court does not create rights. We do.

I retain the right to treat my mind, body and soul in any way I wish that does not initiate the use of force or fraud against anyone.

Simple? I think so. I live my life and you live yours.

Michael Klapp

Baltimore

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Book didn't accuse Parker of murder

Jim Haner is certainly entitled not to like my book on Col. Tom Parker, but his review is in error in reporting that I accuse Mr. Parker of killing the wife of a grocer in his native Holland ("Col. Tom Parker earned this hatchet," June 29).

This is a theory, based on an anonymous note received by a reporter in the Netherlands, and I make it clear that there is no real evidence that he did the deed. However, if I had not at least explored the possibility of that event, I would have been negligent as a biographer, since Mr. Parker lived his life as a man with a secret far greater than just that of illegal residency.

While this particular story had been briefly reported in a Breda, Holland, newspaper, Mr. Haner is again mistaken in saying the book is "assembled mostly from previously published accounts."

I conducted more than 300 interviews in six years of research, including those with family members in Europe and America. I also uncovered a number of never-before-seen government documents on two continents.

Alanna Nash

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Louisville, Ky.

Culling the swans will help the bay

I find it disheartening that various groups oppose the culling of mute swans with no apparent rationale other than that the exotic birds are pretty ("Federal ruling favors Md. plan to shoot swans," July 3).

In particular, I find disturbing Priscilla Feral's comments that since the exotic birds have found a "niche here" we "shouldn't disturb that."

By that logic, gypsy moths should be allowed to ravage our oak forests, zebra mussels should be left alone to clog the great lakes and those snakehead fish should absolutely have been left alone.

Those blindly opposing the Department of Natural Resources' efforts to control the swans in this case waste the taxpayers' money and make it more difficult to maintain a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

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Omar Siddique

Ellicott City

Conductor offers example of integrity

In refusing to conduct an opera performance that he found anathema to his artistic sensibility and to the composer's vision ("Changes in opera strike note of discord," July 1), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Yuri Temirkanov, a Russian, has become a shining example of an individual with a quality sorely missing from American society today: integrity.

Ellen Blaustein

Lutherville


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