In the editorial "One step more" (Aug. 3), The Sun notes that several people took steps to keep 11-year old murder victim Irvin J. Harris away from his accused killer, Melvin L. Jones Jr. But the editorial laments that they didn't take the "one step more" that might have made the difference in Irvin being alive today.
The editorial lays out five missteps by different individuals who might have kept young Irvin from being murdered. And The Sun concludes that what's needed is to reduce caseloads for probation officers, polygraph offenders and track them with GPS chips.
What I find sad is that The Sun overlooks one step that should've been taken, but wasn't - the one step that would eliminate the need for so many people to have to be vigilant about a sex offender let loose on the streets; the one step that would obviate the need to polygraph offenders and track them.
That step? Is it possible that if Mr. Jones had been kept in prison serving out his full three-year sentence that Irvin J. Harris would still be alive?
So let's not wring our hands and look at further steps that wouldn't be necessary if Maryland kept its incorrigibles behind bars.
Let's concentrate on the one single step that would keep our children safe - and keep sex offenders in prison.
D. Keith Henderson
Lack of treatment caused child's death
The courts of this region are the root of the problem involving the pedophile, Melvin L. Jones Jr., who allegedly murdered the 11-year-old child, Irvin J. Harris ("Yearning boy, troubled man," Aug. 6).
According to The Sun's reporting Mr. Jones was begging for help for a long time, but didn't get it, which allowed him to become progressively worse and more dangerous.
How many more Melvin Joneses are out there walking and have been incarcerated without treatment?
Do we have to have another child murdered before we start protecting children from these dangerous beasts?
Lola J. Massey
Using victim's name only adds more pain
Our organization received numerous calls regarding the unnecessary use of the victim's name in The Sun's article "Teen stabbed in head" (Aug. 4).
And we want to ask what possible purpose was served by publishing the name of the victim in that case, particularly given that the victim is a minor?
Victims of crime, particularly those harmed by a family member, suffer enough physical, emotional and financial repercussions as a result of the crime committed against them.
To expose them to public embarrassment serves no legitimate purpose and only adds to their pain.
Moreover, this child has a different last name from her mother. Therefore, printing the mother's name as the person charged in the assault would not have identified this child as the victim.
We at the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center believe that it is the responsibility of society - and particularly the news media - to make a conscientious effort not to further victimize individuals who are already suffering the effects of crimes.
Laura L. Martin Tracy M. Delaney Upper Marlboro
The writers are staff attorneys for the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center Inc.
Senate drilling bill wrong energy path
I am disappointed that the Senate passed an off-shore drilling bill last week ("Senators vote to open drilling in eastern gulf," Aug 2).
The bright spot is that Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski stood strong and refused to support destructive drilling off our beaches.
We need more people like Mr. Sarbanes and Ms. Mikulski who will fight for policies that raise the fuel economy of our cars and encourage the use of renewable energy like wind and solar power.
These energy-saving and job-creating technologies will put us on the path to a smarter, cheaper and cleaner energy future.
The writer is the chairwoman of the Maryland Sierra Club.
Slaying in Seattle got little attention
Yet again, the liberal media's double standard respecting its "sensitivities" toward Islamic terrorism is breathtaking.
A Muslim man breaks into a Jewish center in Seattle shouting his hatred of Israel. He murders one Jewish woman and attempts to murder five more Jewish women, including one several months pregnant.
And The Sun runs a small article about the incident on page 3 with the benign headline, "1 slain at Jewish charity" (July 29).
Imagine that a Jewish man, similarly "disturbed," had broken into a Muslim Center and attempted to slaughter Muslim women.
Does anyone doubt that The Sun would have run a much more forceful front-page headline and then a week's worth of follow-up front-page stories exploring every minute detail of the "atrocity"?
Jeffrey S. Gulin
Join world's clamor to stop the fighting
America must support an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East ("Hezbollah rockets kill 15," Aug. 7). We need to join the rest of the world in calling for an end to the violence and in seeking to stop the fighting now, with no preconditions.
The majority of the Lebanese people do not deserve to be held hostage by either side.
If we commit ourselves to peace and justice, America can play a critical role in ending the fighting, and creating a climate to pursue peaceful solutions.
Are Arabs outraged over killings in Iraq?
Muslim nations recently met and expressed harsh criticism of Israel's actions in Lebanon. But every day scores of Muslims are being killed in Iraq ("Bomber kills 10 at Iraq funeral," Aug. 7). Where is the outrage of the Arab nations over this slaughter?
Why don't other Muslim countries send help to the Iraqi government to overcome this ongoing disaster?
Why don't they criticize and censure Iran and Syria for their support of the Iraqi insurgency, which is causing such misery and death?
Gibson can prove his regret is sincere
We will know that Mel Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic tirade was sincere when he also apologizes for making a film that is arguably the most powerful piece of pop-culture anti-Semitism in recent memory ("Gibson offers apology to Jews," Aug. 2).
And we will know he has truly repented for the ugliness in his heart when he takes the tens of millions of dollars that he made from The Passion of the Christ and uses them to buy back every copy of the film in circulation around the globe spreading a message of hatred and incitement against the Jewish people.