Jacuzzi GunmanEditor: It appears that the silly season has...


December 18, 1990

Jacuzzi Gunman

Editor: It appears that the silly season has started early this year. Carl Rowan, the famous Washington political pundit, moralist and erstwhile ''Jacuzzi gunman,'' has come out again in favor of more Draconian gun laws.

In June 1988, Mr. Rowan used an unregistered and therefore illegally owned hand gun to shoot an unarmed teenage trespasser. His rationale for possessing and using the gun was his perceived need to protect himself, his family and his Jacuzzi. (The gun laws in Washington, incidentally, all but preclude the private ownership of fire arms.)

Mr. Rowan suffered no ill effects for his actions at the hand of District criminal justice system despite the fact the he shot at and wounded his ''assailant'' with an illegal weapon. When Mr. Rowan in his column talks about the District of Columbia gun law being a ''grotesque joke,'' he certainly speaks from personal experience.

Mr. Rowan continues to blame the less restrictive gun laws of adjacent states for the current homicide extravaganza going on in the District.

This is not the cause of the problem.

The causes are the predictable mind-set of the criminal element in Washington, the miserable performance of the D.C. court and criminal justice systems and the hypocrisy and incompetence of most resident politicians and pundits.

Richard Lyons.

Oliver Beach.

Not for Kuwait

Editor: I am becoming increasingly alarmed at our buildup in Saudi Arabia. And for what purpose. To save Kuwait?

The administration has been less than candid (which appears to be the norm) about the reason for the buildup.

The Bush administration knows what Kuwait is. It has never informed us that Kuwait has encroached into Iraqi oil fields by slant or angle drilling -- an illegal activity that we are well aware of.

We have not been informed about the astronomical charges imposed on Iraq for access to Kuwait ports for oil export.

We have always taken a high and moral position about human rights with other countries, such as the U.S.S.R. and others, but not one word is mentioned that Kuwait totally disregards all human rights by practicing the most deplorable violation of human rights, slavery, in its basest form. Kuwait is nothing more than a fiefdom.

It seems hypocritical to possibly shed the blood of young Americans for the restoration and preservation of such decadence.

Moreover, I feel the media is remiss in its responsibility by not informing the public of the facts. Surely they are aware of them. I can't recall ever reading or seeing an editorial on this matter.

Leo Thomas.


Schaefer Feud

Editor: When Mayor Kurt Schmoke first assumed the office o mayor of Baltimore City I was very critical of the way your paper handled the so-called ''feud'' between Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Schmoke.

I agree with your recent editorial placing the responsibility on both men's shoulders. I still believe that Governor Schaefer's ''juvenile behavior'' has been detrimental to the relationship and to the progress that could be made in Baltimore City.

I also blame Maryland legislators for acting ''chicken'' as far as Governor Schaefer's behavior is concerned. The legislators from Baltimore City have let their mayor down. They should be more supportive of Mayor Schmoke and should let Governor Schaefer know that they do not like his treatment of their mayor and city.

All state legislators should be supportive of Mayor Schmoke and the task he has before him. His job is a difficult one. The city had been neglected for at least 15 years before he took office.

Hermia S. Rogers.


'Mandate' More

Editor: It is ironic that right below the Dec. 6 front-page article describing Blue Cross' proposal of a "bare bones" health-insurance policy are the findings of the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding the extent and causes of depression in women. The APA noted that financial hardship is an important factor. The Blue Cross plan, designed for those now uninsured, would pay 80 percent of most medical expenses yet has no mental-health coverage at all.

While insurance can function only by spreading risk among as broad a base as possible, insurers such as the Blues attempt to compete by offering numerous plans, in the name of "freedom of choice," which in effect push people at greater risk into smaller pools with greater premiums. Thus the Blues are seeking to eliminate the mandate for mental health coverage, rather than pushing for all insurance plans to cover mental illness.

The Maryland "mandate" that insurers include mental health benefits is really an anti-discrimination measure. While quite mild and even trivial physical illness expenses are covered 80 percent, at least by most plans, mental health benefits for even severe, incapacitating illnesses such as major depression are "mandated" at 65 percent of the first 20 sessions, 50 percent thereafter.

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