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The Baltimore Sun

Drug 'gold mine' a plague on city

I was horrified, appalled and scared to death reading The Sun's article "Defendant says drug 'gold mine' lured him to city" (April 4).

"Pennsylvania Avenue is a freaking gold mine," says a 35-year-old drug merchant.

Now Baltimore is really on the map.

But the question that jumped out at me was: What in the world is Baltimore doing about this drug problem?

This issue lies at the root of the problems that plague the city. Crime, poverty, homelessness, education, etc., are all manifestations of the drug problem in Baltimore.

Until we as a people and City Hall as our government deal with this root issue, nothing will change.

The hamster will continue to spin around the wheel and multiple resources will be used and abused to place a Band-Aid on this epidemic.

Bob Paff


The article "Defendant says drug 'gold mine' lured him to city" represents an all-too-familiar and recurring theme about a problem devastating our community.

Where are our elected leaders when it comes to addressing crime and the drug environment?

If I recall, this issue was not highlighted much in the most recent elections by either party. And I certainly see little discussion or action by the current local, state and federal administrations.


It's way past the time for our elected officials to be held accountable.

But I, for one, want to see solutions more than blame - we have enough of that to spread around.

George Davis


Assembly appeases state's lawbreakers

With the 2007 legislative session about to wrap up, I can only say that I look forward hopefully to a better session next year - a session that actually benefits the good and decent citizens of our great state ("Annapolis ennui," editorial, April 4).

During this session, we have had bills presented, some of which have passed, that would help restore to convicted felons the right to vote, offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants (the key word being "illegal") and ease sentencing guidelines for people convicted of crimes.

Perhaps I missed something when I went to school. But last I heard, if you commit a crime, that means you did something you weren't supposed to do.

You lose some rights at that moment of conviction. And we should be making it harder to get those rights back, not easier.

Let's look forward to a better session next year.

Victor Henderson

Glen Burnie

The writer is recording secretary for the Anne Arundel County Republican Party's Central Committee.

Aiding illegal aliens instead of soldiers?

I think the argument for allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland state colleges and universities is not only weak but discriminatory ("The undocumented collegian," April 1).

Members of the U.S. military who are assigned to one of the many Maryland military installations but have a home state other than Maryland must pay out-of-state college tuition fees to take courses at Maryland state colleges.

I am totally confused by the political logic that would allow a financial advantage to illegal immigrants while denying that same advantage to our nation's war-fighters.

I urge Maryland's political leaders to either allow members of our military to pay in-state tuition rates or reject the idea of allowing this tuition advantage to illegal immigrants.

Rick Kost

Bel Air

Divide electoral vote based on Md. count

I'm sorry that the House of Delegates passed legislation that could throw all of Maryland's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of who wins Maryland's popular vote ("Delegates approve popular-vote bill," April 3).

This bill could deny our state an opportunity to voice its choice.

If we retain the Electoral College, a better way to reflect Maryland's actual vote would be to allocate the state's electoral votes proportionately according to the results of Maryland's popular vote.

Betty Spence


Rationalizing rape is never acceptable

Kathleen Parker's column "Confronting the fog of rape" (Opinion * Commentary, March 30) was appalling and harmful to our society.

It hearkens back to a day I thought was long gone, when women were blamed for being raped or sexually harassed while men who committed such offenses were considered to be reacting normally to the situation in front of them.

Regardless of how the military defines rape, a woman being coerced or pressured to have sex against her will is being raped. Furthermore, sexual harassment is never "harmless sport," as Ms. Parker suggests some of it is.

Implying otherwise negates the decades of progress our nation has made in rendering those who harass and rape the guilty party.

Questioning whether certain events happened is one thing. Asserting that even if they did, they are understandable, given the circumstances, is another.

And laying the blame for military rape at the feet of the policy that allows women to serve their country alongside men is simply another way of saying that it's not the men's fault - They can't resist harassing women so we'll just have to keep men and women apart.

This is insulting to all parties involved.

The solution is not to keep women out of war so men can do "their" business without being "tempted to harass women."

To the contrary, the solution is to continue sending and reinforcing the message that this behavior is unacceptable, regardless of where it happens.

This column did the exact opposite, and as such, does a disservice to our country and to the women and men who are valiantly serving in Iraq.

Caroline Fichtenberg


The writer is an epidemiologist who teaches at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Citizens must insist on respect for rights

Every American citizen should see the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others if he or she truly values liberty.

Trudy Rubin notes that East Germans didn't know the extent of Stasi surveillance on their daily lives until after the Berlin Wall was brought down ("A lesson from Stasi on abuse of power," Opinion * Commentary, April 3).

Americans won't know the level of surveillance on their lives now practiced by the U.S. government either until sometime in the future, if ever.

Freedom isn't free, and constitutions such as ours that ostensibly guarantee liberty must be carried around in pockets and unfolded and read regularly if they are to be effective.

We, the people, must incessantly demand our rights or they will wither away.

The checks and balances written into our Constitution must be applied to have any meaning, and it is a citizen's sacred duty to demand that they be respected.

William Trolinger

Ellicott City

An April 9 letter incorrectly asserted that U.S. soldiers must pay out-of-state tuition rates at Maryland state colleges and universities. In fact, members of the U.S. armed forces stationed in Maryland and their spouses and dependents are eligible for in-state tuition rates in the University System of Maryland.The Sun regrets the error.
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