Murder is taking heartbreaking toll

Dan Rodricks' column "Life is too precious. Don't toss it away" (Jan. 4) went right to the heart of the matter.


Many of our city's young black men do not believe that they will live to the ripe old age of 25. They do not believe that they can rise above what life has shown them thus far.

It breaks my heart every time I hear on the news or read in the paper that another young black male has been killed. I pray for the families of the victims and of those who did the killings.


The first murder victim of 2007 was my neighbors' son. We all called him Little Tommy ("Boy, 17, is first killing of the year," Jan. 3).

Every time I think about the senseless way he died, I break down and cry (as I am doing now). He and my granddaughter were very close friends. She is taking his death very hard.

The last time she and I talked about Little Tommy, she stated that he was turning his life around.

I would like to believe that he was trying to do what Mr. Rodricks suggested in the column: "to be the generation that stops all the killing."

Little Tommy's funeral was Saturday and my family and I attended. I distributed copies of Mr. Rodricks' column there along with Little Tommy's obituary.

If only one person reads this column and his life is saved because he read it, then I say to Mr. Rodricks, "Job well done."

And if not, at least he tried.

Sonya Smith



Poor job prospects bring about despair

Baltimore's absurdly high murder rate has become a favorite news item, a type of sociopolitical barometer and a national embarrassment.

While Dan Rodricks' plea for the young black men of Baltimore to "smarten up" and "please stop killing" is heartfelt and well-meaning, I believe it comes from a naive point of view ("Life is too precious. Don't toss it away," Jan. 4).

Mr. Rodricks is focused on the effect, not the cause.

The fact is that a stunningly large percentage of Baltimore's population is made up of drug addicts.


This did not happen overnight. It took years for the situation to build to this point, and it will take many more years to reverse it.

The days of graduating from high school and going to work at Sparrows Point or General Motors to make a decent living are long gone.

Baltimore's once-strong industrial economy has all but disappeared, taking with it the most important factor in the city's woes, one no one seems to talk about: jobs.

The national transition to a service economy in response to globalization has been very rough indeed. It has sent a devastating number of Baltimore's jobs overseas - and these jobs are, in this economy, irreplaceable.

Asking the young men of Baltimore to "snap out of it" is fine. But these young men need an alternative. They need a reason to get the GED.

And landing a minimum-wage job is not a sufficient one.


Keith T. Gibbons


The writer teaches English at Patterson High School.

Let abuse victims protect themselves

If The Sun is really interested in ensuring that women are protected from the serial abusers it writes about, it should not be arguing for more paperwork and stricter court orders ("Beefing up protective orders," editorial, Jan. 2).

What it should be championing is that the state allow these women to be able to protect themselves.


What The Sun should demand is that any woman who has a restraining order against an abuser, is legally allowed to own a gun and desires to do so be allowed to acquire firearms training and authorized to possess and carry a concealed weapon for as long as the problem exists.

A few instances of women eliminating those who have often been able to attack them with impunity would quickly reduce the number of miscreants who take their anger out on the unprotected.

W. C. Harsanyi


Send U.S. forces to get bin Laden

In November's election, the American people overwhelmingly voted to end the war in Iraq and begin the process of removing U.S. forces in a way that minimizes casualties.


But the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report and scores of military experts, including some former members of this administration, as well as a growing bipartisan agreement of statesmen such as former Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter, have not been able to persuade this stubborn president not to continue to prosecute this war ("General: 'Surge' in Iraq not enough," Jan. 8).

Now that Saddam Hussein has been executed, his corrupt and evil regime is no more.

So it is time for the president to recognize reality, cut his losses and, more important, save American lives by getting out of Iraq.

With Mr. Hussein dead, let's forget about sending another short-term surge of soldiers into Iraq and instead send our troops into Pakistan.

It has been nearly 2,000 days since 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, and I insist that the president quit diverting our attention to Iraq or Iran.

Get Osama bin Laden, Mr. President, or face up to your failures and resign.


J. William Mason


Palestinians pursue a no-state solution

The increasingly bloody struggle between Hamas and Fatah is the latest unfortunate development in the ongoing Palestinian identity crisis ("Fatah supporters rally in Gaza Strip," Jan. 8).

For many years, the Palestinians pursued, with disastrous results, a one-state solution for the Middle East - by attempting to eliminate the Jewish state.

Then for a time they gave disingenuous lip service to the concept of a two-state solution, one Arab and one Jewish.


Now it seems they have revealed their true intention, a no-state solution characterized by endless factional violence and anarchy interrupted periodically only by terrorist attacks on Israel.

Barry C. Steel


When will we grasp world is warming?

It seems that near the top of every news story remarking on our freakish weather, there is a pronouncement from some meteorologist like the one in the article "So rare as a day in ... when?" (Jan. 7): "Although recent average global temperatures are higher than they were a century ago, this winter's warmth cannot be directly linked to global warming."

So when will these skeptics decide that the climate changes we have been experiencing over the last several decades are, in fact, linked to global warming?


When the seawaters are lapping into the lobbies of Miami hotels and New York skyscrapers? When the Midwest bread basket turns into a dust bowl?

When nothing but blackened stumps are left in the West after drought-stricken forests are ravaged by wildfires?

When the icy realm of the polar bears melts beneath their feet?

Perhaps then the skeptics will change their tune.

But what I expect to hear is that well, yes, these effects may be the result of global warming --- but it's too late to do anything about it now.

Elizabeth Fixsen