Shoot that PolicyEditor: If Great Britain had seven...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 25, 1991

Shoot that Policy

Editor: If Great Britain had seven murders in 1988 compared to 8,915 murders in the United States during the some period, why doesn't the U.S. adapt the handgun policy of Great Britain? Obviously, greed and power are more important than human lives.

Freeman.

Baltimore.

What's Obscene?

Editor: Although amusing, I believe ''Obscene? What's It Mean?'' made an unfair statement.

Dave Barry talked about how Donald Duck does not wear pants and why is that OK but other forms of art are considered obscene.

I don't know about you, but I don't see too many animals wearing clothes. So that is an unfair comparison.

In short, in life there are rules that must be obeyed and respected. Take music, for example. It is not right for performers like 2 Live Crew or Madonna to be obscene. When they step into the performance arena, they must respect society's rules just as an athlete must obey the rules of his/her sport. When a wide receiver in football catches a pass out of bounds, nobody complains that he should then have the right to run it in for a touchdown. Likewise, performers should not be able to break the rules about obscenity.

Joe Banner.

Parkville.

Education Failure

Editor: You do not serve your readers well by promoting the idea that the Maryland Department of Education will rescue our public schools from the multiple ills that beset them by reducing staff and adopting rhetoric about ''helping'' principals and teachers.

Whatever the size of the bureaucracy, it is now wed to the Maryland School Performance Program -- a classic case of the approach to reform which Seymour B. Sarason (author of "The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform") has described as an XTC approach that either ignores ''predictable problems or is so unsophisticated about the dynamics of institutional change that they end up with timetables and expectations so unrealistic that one can safely predict that they will end up blaming the victims.''

However sincere their intentions to ''help,'' the bureaucrats have neither the funds nor the comprehensive plan for genuine, effective, consistent staff training and development that educational reform absolutely requires.

Any claims that state Department of Education initiatives are ''creative'' are belied by its deadly fixation on test scores and other ''quantifiable'' data which distract teachers, principals and parents from concentrating on the truly creative dimensions of education.

Perhaps before your next editorial venture into grandiose promises you should read Sarason: ''One can alter curricula, change power relationships, raise standards, and do a lot more, but if these efforts are not powered by altered conceptions of what children are and what makes them tick and keeps them intellectually alive . . . their results will be inconsequential.''

Jo Ann Robinson.

Baltimore.

New Low

Editor: Your editorial, ''Anarchists in Dundalk,'' was a new low.

Who is practicing irresponsibility, The Sun or politicians who try to educate their electorate about the legal process open to them?

Thomas G. Kroen.

Baltimore.

Excessive Force

Editor: I am very saddened by President Bush's excessive use of force in the Middle East, his intention being to hammer the Iraqi president into submission.

My sadness comes from the inability of our government to handle our economic and political problems without resorting to a ''war'' -- war on poverty, war on drugs, the war in Grenada and Panama. Now our government issues a violent rendering of military might to force Saddam Hussein to relinquish control of Kuwait.

We are stuck. The foreign policies of this country are mired in a concept of world politics developed during the world wars. In those wars, massive armies met massive enemies. Major countries decided the fate of the world. One or two nuclear bombs saved countless lives. Democracy ruled.

Concurrently, it seems that the greater the elapsed time between those earlier wars and the political realities of the present, the more reactionary we become. We attack modern problems with outdated solutions. We use inappropriate means to accomplish our goals. We fix our future to the past.

I believe that in the heart of all citizens is the feeling of dread. Whether we are in favor of the current policy or not, we fear what price the United States and its allies may pay to accomplish the return of the exiled government to the country of Kuwait.

I say stop the excessive use of force. Furthermore, let's return to the United Nations-sanctioned blockade. Or call Saddam Hussein on the phone. Or send food to the children of Iraq.

Maybe we should return Manuel Noriega to Panama. Anything strange, unexpected. Because what we do now doesn't work. And, hasn't -- Korea, Vietnam, etc.

Not another Vietnam? No. Just another trip into the future across ever-changing landscapes using outdated maps.

Peter Stokes.

Parkville.

A Woman of Gusto and Courage

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