Reach out to youths with hopeful signals

Thank you for The Sun's editorial "Not only in LA," (May 28), which described law enforcement's important work in intervening with and suppressing youth gangs.

Another important strategy is gang prevention - reaching out to children and youths and persuading them not to get involved with gangs. And this is where we have some distinct advantages in Maryland.

In economically depressed communities where young (and older) gang members thrive, gang leaders often seduce young recruits by convincing them that the gang-thug lifestyle is the best and only real option that they have.

Thankfully, such is not the case in Maryland, where many counties have unemployment rates around 4 percent. And projections suggest that about 40 percent of the jobs the base-realignment process will bring to Aberdeen Proving Ground will not require a college degree.

The message we adults need to send to our young people is this: Finish high school, stay out of trouble, learn basic workplace skills of politeness, punctuality, cooperation and willingness to be trained - and a good-paying job is in your immediate future.

By age 30, such a high school graduate could be earning a healthy salary and living a positive life. Conversely, by age 30, the majority of gang members are dead or in prison or addicted and poor.

Messages of hope to our young people have to be more persistent and prevalent than the messages from the gang predators.

Don Mathis


The writer is executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County.

War without fronts leads to massacres

U.S. troops wantonly attack a village of unarmed civilians, killing women and children, because their homes may have contained insurgents, fueling anti-American sentiment in a country facing social collapse. The incident is initially covered up by the powers-that-be. The real story is eventually brought to light by a journalist some months later.

Haditha, Iraq, in 2006 ("Explosion, then deaths of Iraqi civilians," June 1)? No, My Lai, Vietnam, in 1968.

The fact is that ever since the Vietnam War, the United States has mostly been fighting wars without fronts.

Our enemies are often not professional soldiers "on the other side" dressed in different uniforms that distinguish them, but rather "insurgents," "terrorists" and "guerrillas," including women and children, dressed in civilian clothing with explosives attached to their bodies.

The psychological effect this has upon an occupying army is incalculable. Soldiers become paranoid, frustrated and angry.

My Lais and Hadithas will occur again and again under such circumstances.

Arthur Laupus


Sarbanes-Oxley law imposes right rules

The onerous requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are absolutely essential protection for the investing public and the economy at large ("Sarbanes defends legacy measure," May 30).

As former CEO of publicly owned, small research-based enterprises, I write with experience in their governance as well as a decades-long career as an investor in such companies.

Clearly, no legislation is immune from improvement, but it would be foolhardy to tamper with the iron-hard discipline of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Yes, it is costly, particularly for small companies. But it is also essential because we human beings too often drift off course without a guiding star.

Management that does not wish to be bound by the strict demands of Sarbanes-Oxley should not seek financing from the public square.

Harry Letaw Jr.

Severna Park

Humans not cause of changing climate

The article about how the Arctic Ocean once had a temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit simply proves what most reasonable people have known all along - that global warming is not solely the result of the activities of people ("Arctic Ocean once was warm," June 1).

In fact, these activities have little to do with the climate change we are experiencing.

While anything that brings attention to our need to conserve energy is good, it is time for global warming doomsayers to realize that changes in climate are beyond the puny efforts of humans to affect.

Rather, we are experiencing a natural cycle of the Earth because we have developed the technology to observe it.

Michael Connell


Lawsuit may cause higher energy rates

The Sun's ongoing love-fest with Mayor Martin O'Malley reached an all-time low with the editorial regarding the city's lawsuit against the Public Service Commission ("Failure to regulate," June 1). This is by far the most inexcusable hype I have ever seen.

The governor, Constellation Energy and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. presented a plan, approved by the PSC, that offered cost relief for BGE customers. Whatever the motive - political or otherwise - the city of Baltimore and, yes, Mr. O'Malley are responsible for the lawsuit and the subsequent ruling by Circuit Judge Albert J. Matricciani Jr. that negated the cost-relief plan and sent the issue back to the PSC.

If the citizens of the state wind up paying more because of that lawsuit, Mr. O'Malley will bear the full blame.

Michael Ziegler


The writer is an employee of BGE.

Slogan sounds like invitation to fraud

Baltimore's new slogan, "Get In On It," sounds like an announcement to scam artists that the city government is a good source of easy pickings ("The secret of selling Baltimore," May 29).

This conclusion would seem to be supported by the $500,000 price tag that came with the slogan.

Herbert Aaron


Remembering dead isn't a partisan pose

I am rarely depressed by what I read in the newspaper, but the letter "Abusing the dead for partisan purpose" (May 31) managed that feat.

The writer believes that The Sun's Memorial Day listing - under the title "In Memoriam" (May 29) - of the dead soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq was "tasteless" and "a horribly misguided attempt to use our war dead for partisan political purpose." He writes that he would rather see a "nonpartisan editorial" or quotations "extolling the virtues of our brave military."

But if memory is not about the people - their names and challenges and deeds and sacrifice - then what is memory about, especially on Memorial Day?

How the writer could be moved by a Memorial Day service and then write such a diatribe is incomprehensible to me.

In public discourse, I no longer know what the words "partisan" and "nonpartisan" mean - except perhaps as code words for agreement or disagreement or a cudgel to hide behind and a subtle way to disavow the fundamental, patriotic ideals of our First Amendment freedoms - all in the name of patriotism.

Randy Littlefield


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