I must admit to being in total shock when I read the following quote from The Sun's article "Football carries clout at Navy," (Dec. 10): "'Frankly, I hope that America is being defended by the best Navy men and women that the academy can get and not by some doofus that could catch a football,' said Murray Sperber, a former English professor at Indiana University who has been an ardent critic of how far colleges go to make exceptions for athletes."
The Navy did have a guy who could catch the football graduate from the academy in 2003. He was a receiver named J.P. Blecksmith.
He earned the rank of lieutenant in the Marines and was sent to Iraq.
Lieutenant Blecksmith was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, by a sniper in 2004. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for bravery and the Purple Heart.
According to the Web site of the JP Blecksmith Leadership Foundation, Lieutenant Bleck- smith "had two goals in going to Iraq: 1) He wanted to be a good leader of his Marines in combat, and 2) He wanted to bring all of his men home safely."
Is this the person that Mr. Sperber is referring to when he talks about "some doofus that could catch a football"?
I cannot express how reprehensible I found this article.
The author fails to point out that the football players who graduate from the academy go on to serve their country proudly; they put themselves in harm's way and in combat zones and some of them have died protecting this country.
Excelling on the football field does not preclude one from defending the freedoms that our country has enjoyed for more than 200 years.
God help us if it did.
Illegal immigrants off the state's roads
I hope every elected official who supports allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses reads The Sun's article "Suspect failed exam twice," (Dec. 8).
If Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano had been required to show proof of citizenship when he applied for a Maryland driver's license, I would hope that he would have been arrested when he was unable to do so.
If he hadn't had a license when he was stopped in Howard County after an incident earlier in the year, he could have been detained.
Either way the Marine and his date killed in a Thanksgiving accident might still be alive today.
When will our politicians change the law, and make U.S. citizenship a requirement to get a Maryland driver's license?
Kurt S. Willem
The young man accused of killing a Marine and his date in a traffic accident on Thanksgiving should never have been issued a driver's license because he is an illegal immigrant.
The statement from a spokesman for the Motor Vehicle Administration that "we're not an immigration office" is a cop-out to avoid responsibility for what happened.
It is everyone's responsibility to check the background of immigrants no matter what privilege they are applying for - whether it be employment, housing, social services or a license to drive an automobile.
Taxpayers have a heavy enough burden subsidizing indigents and immigrants.
Let Iran and Syria help us make peace
Finally there is an idea on the president's desk that makes sense - namely, talking to Iraq's neighbors ("Bush begins talks on Iraq strategy," Dec. 12).
Iran and Syria must now stand up and be counted - if for no other reason than because Iraq's unrest could spill over into their countries.
Peace in that region would spell prosperity for the area.
But if there is constant turmoil and adversity it translates into a region where no one will want to do business.
That is a point that Iran and Syria should be made to see.
And I hope President Bush can be made to see the light.
Mercy should show more creativity
In my opinion, the president of Mercy Medical Center's medical staff needs to get a second opinion on the fate of the 1820s-vintage townhouses that his employer seems to be determined to demolish on St. Paul Place ("Mercy needs tower to fulfill its mission," letters, Dec. 6).
I find it amusing that he argues that Mercy's mission cannot go forward with the houses standing. But it certainly has up until this point, and their incorporation into a new tower could create far more interesting architecture than Mercy has built to date, which is mostly cement and glass with no imagination or quality.
Why does Mercy feel the need to raze the houses before any new tower has been designed? I'm betting it's because the tower it intends to build will be yet another ugly, square box.
A second opinion from an architectural firm which has successfully incorporated older structures into newer ones might leave Mercy officials delighted with the results.
I also wonder just how creative Mercy or City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. have been in thinking about possible uses of surrounding sites; I see nearby, for example, a low-rise 1960s building just east of the parking garage that is about the same distance away from the main hospital tower as the apparently doomed townhouses.
Mercy needs to remember that it is also a business.
And when my next expensive MRI is scheduled in about six months, I will be taking my business to another hospital.
Paul K. Williams
The writer is the proprietor of Kelsey & Associates, Inc., an architectural firm specializing in historic preservation.
Some films extol virtues of Christians
According to Bruce Benway, "Starting in the 1960s, Christians in the movies have been depicted as killjoys, charlatans, buffoons, evildoers and worse" ("Hollywood's bias against Christians" Opinion
Commentary, Dec. 5).
Perhaps Mr. Benway should consider making a trip to his local video store to rent the following films: King of Kings (1961), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and the two 1973 musicals, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Waters adds sparkle to charms of the city
As the old saying goes, "Different strokes for different folks." It rings true time after time.
The writer of the letter "Let John Waters find a new city to trash" (Dec. 6) makes clear that he can do without Mr. Waters on the Baltimore scene, and he is entitled to his opinion.
But let me counter by saying that I am delighted that Mr. Waters is here in his hometown and that I believe he has added sparkle to life here for the past 40-plus years.
I was certainly proud to be dubbed by Mr. Waters "his first distributor" and allowed to show his first films in the Great Hall at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Mr. Waters and I are friends, although we don't get to see each other as much as I would like.
I am proud of him and believe he ranks among America's great entertainers.
The Rev. Frederick J. Hanna