Free state's turtles from commercial sale

The Department of Natural Resources' failure to protect the diamondback terrapin against commercial over-exploitation is consistent with its historic bias in favor of the interests of a small number of commercial fishermen over conservation and the interests of other stakeholders ("Free the turtle," editorial, Jan. 29),

The commercial taking of terrapins is essentially unregulated.

They are not listed under Maryland law as a species for which DNR is required to have a fisheries management plan that incorporates a scientific assessment of its population size and health.

When harvest data are self-reported by the fishing industry, as they are in the case of the terrapin, the data are generally acknowledged to be underreported. And there is no independent source of data on the terrapin harvest on which to rely.

The state's recently reorganized Natural Resources Police have fewer officers on the water and expanded responsibilities, so adequate enforcement of regulations is difficult.

The diamondback terrapin should be declared a no-sale species in Maryland, as it is in Virginia.

Surely there are loyal Maryland Terrapin fans in the General Assembly who would sponsor legislation to protect their mascot in its native habitat.

Kenneth B. Lewis


The writer is a member of the board of the Maryland Conservation Council.

Who cares if killer faces painful death?

Heaven forbid that a cold-bllooded murderer awaiting lethal injection should suffer during this procedure because he has no viable veins left because of a lifetime of drug abuse ("Lethal injection debated," Jan. 28).

This ridiculous and unwarranted concern for the lowest of criminals is mind-boggling.

Perhaps these murderers would prefer to die the same way their innocent victims did.

Somehow, I don't think so.

Gail Householder


Killing by the state won't stop violence

Maryland plans soon to carry out its second execution in recent months ("Lethal injection debated," Jan. 28).

We know it is unlikely that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will use his power to halt this barbaric practice. But I hope Vernon Lee Evans Jr.'s lawyers will find a way to stop this killing.

Capital punishment is not a deterrent to violent crime; it cannot comfort the loved ones of the victims; it does not serve to protect society. It only provides revenge.

We citizens of Maryland need to re-evaluate our response to violent crime and its perpetrators.

Another state-sanctioned killing is not the answer.

Nancy Conrad


The right message to drunken drivers

Three cheers for Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes. Finally, a judge in Maryland has had the guts to sentence an offender to three years in prison for vehicular manslaughter ("Man gets 3 years for drunken hit-and-run," Jan. 25).

Although three years is not enough punishment for murder-by-car, it is better than the usual slap on the wrist.

There are war protesters at public venues every week, but many more of our citizens are killed by drunken and impaired drivers than in the war in Iraq.

Why are there not protesters on every corner protesting the carnage on our highways?

When will we learn not to drink and drive?

Harry Leibowitz


President is striving to save U.S. lives

This letter is directed to those who believe President Bush is breaking the law by authorizing secret wiretaps in America ("Concern over spying isn't just partisan," letters, Jan. 29).

Two hundred years ago, this practice would have been absolutely wrong and disgraceful. However, we live in a different time now - one in which not everyone who lives in the United States is an honorable and upstanding citizen.

Today, if spying on Americans prevents one human life lost because of terrorist acts, it is all worth it.

For the American Civil Liberties Union to bring a lawsuit against the government over this program rings of treason and terrorist sympathizing in these times of heightened security concerns.

If you are an honorable and upstanding U.S. citizen, you have nothing to hide and therefore should support everything that the president does to keep you and me safe.

Dean Widerman


It's wrong to cite so hateful a church

While I suppose that the article "Judge lands in spotlight" (Jan. 24) is factual enough, why in the world would the reporter include a condemnation of Baltimore Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock by Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.?

Why a newspaper - even The Sun - would give any credibility at all to this hateful group is beyond me.

Westboro Baptist Church sponsors the "God Hates Fags" and "God Hates America" Web sites.

It picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, who was brutally murdered in Wyoming some years ago, and gleefully pickets the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

On its Web site last week, it posted, "Thank God for 2 more dead miners." It also thanks God for Hurricane Katrina.

The fact that The Sun's reporter would quote such a source makes one wonder about the paper's judgment, as well as its other sources.

Gene Edwards

York, Pa.

Ford, GM brought losses on themselves

While I have compassion for the 30,000 workers who will lose jobs at Ford Motor Co., I have no sympathy for management there or, for that matter, at troubled General Motors ("Drastic cuts at Ford," Jan. 24).

I know that generous pensions and unexpected longevity of retirees are factors in the declining fortunes at both companies.

However, the main problems, in my opinion, have been a lack of innovation and pandering to the taste of the American public for gas-guzzling SUVs while resisting pressure for laws mandating improved fuel efficiency, lower pollution or better safety features for many years.

Rather, the automakers chose to enjoy big profits on these monsters, increasing air pollution and our dependence on foreign oil.

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills

One teen withstands exposure to a book

How fortunate for Carroll County teenagers that they have among them a young man who is so incorruptible.

Westminster High School junior Joel Ready possesses the rare ability to read immoral literature and maintain enough of his virtue to do battle for the sake of other students who certainly would succumb to its bad influence ("Teen maintains stance against disputed books," Jan. 25).

If only there were more young people capable of such moral athleticism, our communities might be safe from dangerous books with body parts in their titles.

Lisa Greenhouse


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