Judging a JudgeEditor: Now that Garland Thompson has...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 07, 1991

Judging a Judge

Editor: Now that Garland Thompson has officially kicked off the campaign to lobby Governor Schaefer to replace retiring Judge Harry Cole of the Court of Appeals with Judge Robert M. Bell of the Court of Special Appeals ("Awaiting Schaefer's Court Call," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 13), it is appropriate to register a dissent.

Judge Bell is a fine man and well thought of as a lawyer, but his appellate work in criminal cases employs the rebuttable presumption that the police are always wrong. It would be a small disaster for the public safety to give him one of the votes on the state's highest court. Mr. Thompson might give some thought to the fact that whenever the public safety is weakened, the most likely victims of crime are black.

Hal Riedl.

Baltimore.

Prayer for All

Editor: Reading your article, "Apartheid foes join Mfume at City Hall for candlelight vigil," (The Sun, Dec. 25), left me disappointed and confused.

In the first place I found it surprising and inappropriate for American citizens to be directing their energy and resources on Christmas Eve protesting the ''plight'' of people in a country on the other side of the world, while their own city is plagued with homelessness, one of the highest homicide rates in the United States and drug abuse.

Kweisi Mfume seemed to have realized that his own attention is sorely needed by some of his own countrymen, but still he ''charged the cheering crowd'' to continue with this yearly event. Would it not have been more appropriate for him to motivate them to spend future Christmas Eves providing some comfort, shelter, perhaps a meal, or just praying for some of the homeless roaming Baltimore's streets?

The article led me to question the sincerity of the people attending this so called "vigil." It reported that in addition to praying for black South Africans, they also protested against the "South African regime."

If they were really sincere in their concern for black South Africans one would have expected them rather to also offer prayers asking for courage and determination and even of thanks for this same regime that is actively progressing toward dismantling apartheid, actively striving to rid that beautiful country from past injustices and mistakes. Where were the prayers of encouragement for white South Africans, the majority of whom sincerely want all fellow South Africans to share that country and its resources with them?

I strongly believe in the power of prayer. I do not question the need for prayer for the people of South Africa. I find it very sad, however, when prayer becomes a tool for one-sided political activism.

Will it be too much to ask that this group, in future, pray not only for all South Africans, but also for suffering all over the world, including their own country and city?

Barend B. van Heerden.

Baltimore.

Cynical Sense

Editor: In a cynical sense, I must admit that my admiration for Saddam Hussein grows day by day. There can be no doubt that he has a far greater understanding of his enemies than they do of him.

Saddam fully realizes that those arrayed against him will grasp at any crumb thrown their way in order to avoid a fight. He also knows that time is on his side. The Western nations must deal with their own domestic constituencies, which Saddam need not concern himself with.

As time progresses, it also becomes more obvious that President Bush's ''great coalition'' is weak and fragmented.

Saddam has virtually destroyed the country of Kuwait. He continues to maintain weapons of mass destruction, weapons that he has already shown to be more than willing to use against anyone who stands in the way of his perceived interests.

Saddam has also made it quite clear by his actions that he has no intention of getting out of Kuwait.

David Spitz.

Baltimore.

Changes of Heart

Editor: Isn't it strange that the Persian Gulf crisis has brought a multitude of conscientious objectors out of the closet? Enlistment in the active armed forces, National Guard and Reserves is a voluntary act, carrying with it a contract to defend our country from internal and external threat. How then, as soon as that threat arrives, so many of those volunteers suddenly have such a change of heart, both spiritual and moral?

Could it be that these peacetime guardians had other motives -- some extra income without risk? If this sudden epidemic is given credence, it makes a sham of the concept of true conscientious objectors. They would never have enlisted in the first place.

William H. M. Finney.

Baltimore.

HIV Witch Hunt

Editor: I was dismayed to see that the Baltimore Academy of Surgeons has proposed HIV testing and disclosure for all area health care workers, threatening and potentially ending the careers of those highly skilled people who test positive (and what if there is an error in one's test result?).

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