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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dixon wrong to use office to aid a felon

In his column "Mayor tried to do right by family" (July 11), Gregory Kane underestimates the extent of Mayor Sheila Dixon's mistake.

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We all feel concern and compassion for the mother of young Charles Murel III, the boy who was tragically killed on West Lanvale Street after being hit by a motor vehicle.

As a mother reaching out to another mother, perhaps Ms. Dixon should be commended; however, in using the office of the mayor to try to secure the temporary release of Charles Murel III's father from jail, Ms. Dixon made a major mistake.

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The father of young Charles is a convicted felon recently removed again from our city streets on charges of illegal gun possession.

As Ms. Dixon herself has argued, handguns and their use by the felons and thugs who plague our streets are driving up violent crime in Baltimore.

As of this writing, 165 people have been murdered on our city streets this year. And just six months ago, the Baltimore Police Department buried another fine police officer after he was gunned down on a city street by a thug with prior convictions who was out on bail - for a handgun violation.

The residents and taxpayers of Baltimore should be outraged that Ms. Dixon was willing to use her office to try to get Baltimore police officers to escort a convict to his son's funeral at a time when the city's violent crime rate is one of the worst in the nation and our police officers are struggling to maintain good morale despite a tide of apathy and a lack of leadership from City Hall.

Robert F. Cherry Jr.

Baltimore

The writer is a Baltimore police detective and the first vice president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.

Boy's grieving father posed no real threat

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I want to thank Gregory Kane for his column about the Murel family ("Mayor tried to do right by family," July 11).

In reading about the plight of this family, I wondered what those who were opposed to allowing Charles Murel to attend the funeral of his son thought might happen.

The bereft father, with or without guards and shackles, would likely not have had the energy to attempt to escape or cause harm.

Grief such as his is hard work and takes an awful lot of energy. Between supporting the boy's mother and keeping himself from experiencing a meltdown, it is unlikely he would have posed a threat to society at the funeral.

But those who prevented Mr. Murel from burying his child harmed us all.

Eileen Shryock

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Catonsville

Poolside patrols are wrong use of police

I know that the leaders of Baltimore are trying their best to deal with complex social, economic, political and other issues.

However, when I read that lifeguards at Patterson Park pool require an additional lifeguard and the assistance of three uniformed city police officers to keep things cool ("Keeping things cool at pool," July 10), I must think: Hello, who's in charge? City leaders or the swimmers?

What happened to "timeouts"? What happened to banning troublemakers from swimming in municipal pools?

With the city homicide's total for the year at a staggering 165 as of this writing, can the city afford to assign three police officers to protect the swimmers?

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Where is this pool located, in a maximum-security area?

I firmly believe that the vast majority of citizens of all genders, races and ages, in the inner city and elsewhere, are respectable people who want and deserve a good life.

But what I can't understand is how city leaders can continue to allow a small minority of irresponsible individuals to steal the civil rights of the vast majority.

George Fauth

Pasadena

Close pool if patrons just won't behave

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You have to be kidding: In a city with the dubious distinction of being among the most dangerous in the country, we assign three city police officers to maintain order at the Patterson Park pool ("Keeping things cool at pool," July 10)?

Having these officers patrol some of the city's high-drug-use, high-homicide-rate areas would be a much better use of their time.

If the folks who use the Patterson Park pool, or any other city pool, cannot behave, close the pool.

Ronald A. Sallow

Owings Mills

Even liquid coal hurts environment

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I agree with the statement by Lowell Miller of the U.S. Department of Energy that "energy security means having reliable, affordable and environmentally sound sources of energy available largely from domestic sources" ("Squeezing clean fuels from U.S. coal," Opinion

Commentary, July 10).

But he's wrong to say that "coal fits the bill."

Converting coal into a liquid is not affordable when one factors in the large sums the government may end up spending to create the technology to facilitate this process.

There are many existing energy technologies that are affordable that we should be using more of - including wind power.

Also, mining and burning coal is not environmentally sound.

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According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, burning liquid coal would create almost twice the amount of carbon emissions per gallon as burning conventional gasoline derived from petroleum does.

In addition, from 1985 to 2001, mountaintop-removal coal mining buried more than 1,200 miles of streams.

Does Mr. Miller really find that an environmentally sound practice?

Gabriel Seth Koch

Baltimore

The writer is citizen outreach director for Environment Maryland.

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All citizens deserve access to health care

I go to school in Canada, a country with a universal health care system. And I think it is stupid that we do not use such a system in this country.

I cannot believe a great nation such as the United States leaves so many of its residents stranded and sometimes dying with no way to pay their medical bills.

I know that some doctors might not make as much money and some companies would take big hits if we were to implement a national health care system.

But who cares?

Today, people are dying unnecessarily on our soil and nobody seems to care.

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It's disgusting.

Alexander Rast

Pikesville

Catholic primacy a divisive message

I am continually amazed at how Christians can distort Jesus' message of humility, his inclusion of those considered outside their own chosen people and his plea for unity ("That they all may be one," John 17:21) into division and arrogance.

Yet here is Pope Benedict XVI proclaiming that all churches not his own "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" ("Pontiff asserts Catholic primacy," July 11).

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I take comfort in the fact that none of my Roman Catholic colleagues and friends feels that way.

The Rev. Mark Stanley

Baltimore

The writer is the rector of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church.


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