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The Baltimore Sun

Leave it up to our illustrious leaders, who apparently have nothing better to do, to spend time considering outlawing plastic bags ("Plastic might get the sack," June 8).

Plastic bags don't litter; people do.

And if we follow the so-called logic behind the drive to outlaw this useful commodity, I suppose we should also outlaw cans, glass and plastic bottles, paper and so on.

But until we change the culture, which I doubt will happen in my lifetime or that of my children, litter will not go away.

In our self-centered society, people think only of themselves, trusting others to always clean up their messes.

It's hard to legislate caring, isn't it?

And, yes, it takes energy to make the plastic bags. But does it not also take energy to make paper bags?

If you want to save energy, don't drive so fast. Leave earlier and slow down. Don't drive three blocks to the store.

Here's a novel idea: Walk, stay fit, and pick up some of the plastic bags and use them as trash bags to pick up the paper, bottles and cans littering your neighborhood along the way.

As for protecting the bay, we need to do a lot more than banning plastic bags to make that happen, and I think everyone knows that.

I am sure our lawmakers could spend their time in a more productive way, such as dealing with crime, education, homelessness and unemployment.

Let's not waste time on busywork.

Phil Butler


All of Maryland should outlaw bags

When I read about the Baltimore and Annapolis city councils considering bills to outlaw common plastic bags, I thought: What a great idea ("Plastic might get the sack," June 8). I hope the rest of the state will get behind this idea.

I would also propose outlawing the plastic holders of six-packs, which are deadly for turtles and some fish, in addition to being a nuisance.

This way, we could make our streets look better, save some animals and stop squandering nonrenewable resources.

What a concept.

David Gosey


Make plastic bags part of the solution

In response to the article "Plastic might get the sack" (June 8), I would note that I use plastic bags for carrying wet groceries, recycling bottles and cans and picking up doggy-doo all the time. (Imaging having to use paper bags for that.)

I have another idea. Instead of looking at the gone-astray plastic bag blowing on the road as a problem, let's turn it into a solution.

Grab the bag and load it up with all the nearby discarded cups, cigarette butts, used contraceptives, dirty diapers, chip bags, beer and soda cans, whiskey bottles, etc., that you can find. Then when the bag is full, drop it in the nearest trash receptacle. That way you've killed two birds with one stone: You've reused the bag and cleaned up the trash. Then you can go home knowing that you've done your good deed for the day.

If half of the Maryland population took that step, think of the reduction we'd have in the litter problem.

Let's keep the bags and enforce our littering laws.

Monica Bozman


Judges stand up for the rule of law

In writing a 2-1 ruling for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz stated, "The Constitution does not allow the president to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them 'enemy combatants'" ("U.S. can't hold man as combatant, court says," June 12).

This administration is utterly at odds with our traditions regarding the rule of law - particularly on the question of holding someone without charges if the president deems that individual an enemy combatant.

Luckily, in this country, we are endowed with a Constitution and a judicial system with some judges, at least, who take their oath to defend the Constitution seriously and do not let it be trampled by this administration.

Dave Lefcourt

Ellicott City

Control over death is ultimate civil right

The release of Dr. Jack Kevorkian renews the question of the right of the individual to have a choice about the conclusion of his or her life ("Kevorkian still passionate about Americans' right to die," June 4).

We're told that birth, death and taxes are three things we can't control.

Well, of course, at birth we are just along for the ride. And conflict over taxes is eternal.

But isn't the right of the individual to choose when he or she has had enough the ultimate individual civil right?

Who else should get to make that choice? Does someone else have the right to decide how much pain an individual can suffer before he or she is allowed to end that suffering?

Why can't an individual decide that he or she has had enough, has done enough?

I think the question really is: Why should we force people to continue to live when they feel that passing on would be better?

J. Martin


Sexuality not tied to parenting skills

In response to the letter writer who first declared that he's not homophobic but went on to state that he does "take exception to gay adoptive families finding safe refuge in Maryland" because "one father plus one mother ... equals a balanced, nurturing environment" and "there is absolutely no substitute for that equation" ("A mother and father forge a caring home," June 12), I would note that in my decades of work with domestic violence perpetrators and victims, I have seen many, many children whose lives are filled with chaos and violence. Their parents, by the way, have all been heterosexual.

I have also had the privilege of having many gay and lesbian friends; in every case, their children, whether biological or adopted, have been raised in loving, peaceful households.

This is not to imply that heterosexuals can't be good parents, or that homosexuals can't be bad parents.

But to believe that parenting skills are in some magical way related to one's sexual preferences is preposterous and, oh yes, deeply homophobic.

What children need is love and attention and a safe place to come home to.

There is absolutely no substitute for that equation.

Louise A. Machen


The writer is a facilitator for the Gateway Project at the House of Ruth.

Proud that gays have adoption rights

While the writer of the letter "A mother and father forge a caring home" (June 12) claims not to be homophobic, his objection to "gay adoptive families finding safe refuge in Maryland" speaks volumes.

I am proud that same-sex couples are able to find adoption equality in my home state ("Proud to call Maryland home," June 10).

Now if only my Canadian marriage were recognized here, perhaps I would feel a bit prouder.

Richard Crystal


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