No way to enjoy nature's bountiesIf Doc Reimer (Forum...

the Forum

January 28, 1991

No way to enjoy nature's bounties

If Doc Reimer (Forum Extra, Jan. 16) really wants to enjoy nature's bounties in a marsh teeming with wildlife, whether in Iowa or Maryland, I urge him to leave his artillery at home. %J Maiming and killing the ducks and geese, filling the air with harsh gunshots in the process, is hardly a way to preserve the tranquillity of the watery wonderlands and their inhabitants.

The good doctor might find it much more exhilarating to photograph or simply quietly observe the waterfowl and their surroundings, the better to perpetuate memories of those experiences in the wild. By doing so, he would also make life safer not only for the birds but for those of us who find joy in hunting without guns.

Let's not try to confuse the issue. The sport of hunting has little to do with foraging for food.

William A. Harper

Fenwick Island, Del.

Birthday holidays

How many times is a person's birthday going to be celebrated in less than one week? We all know birthdays of people down through history have been changed to suit the whims of Congress, politicians, etc.

Then again they can't get Baltimore city and Baltimore County, or any other counties, for that matter, to agree on what should be closed or open. One birthday celebration has state offices open and federal offices closed. The next time it's the reverse. I wonder if these clowns change their own birthdays?

Bob Crooks

Baltimore

Jury selections

Peter Kumpa's column referred to the feasibility of selecting jurors from motor vehicle lists rather than voter rolls (Evening Sun, Jan. 16). He included in his discussion the statement that: "One Worcester County judge has been experimenting with the system."

The system is no longer an experiment in Worcester County. In the mid-1980s Judge Eschenburg and myself, as a result of an increasing frequency of jury trials from a ratio of two per judge per year to 35 per judge per year, initiated a program whereby our jury lists were expanded to incorporate the names of Worcester County drivers who were otherwise qualified. Through computerization, voter lists and driver license lists were combined and since that time have been used for the selection of jury panels.

In addition to achieving an increase in the pool of jurors, and thus reducing the extent of individual inconvenience, there were other benefits. For example, jury pools included a more representative cross-section, incorporating a higher percentage of minorities.

Prior to the new system, there were instances where persons selected for the jury pool gave up their right to vote by removing their names from the rolls in order to be unqualified for panel selections. Interestingly, in the several years the new system has been in place, not one individual has given up the right to drive in order to avoid jury service.

ale R. Cathell

Salisbury

1/2

The writer is an associate judge on Maryland's Court of Special 1/2 Appeals. 1/2

Gun law

Your "Big bang" editorial (Jan. 16) hits a key point when you mention the "prickly problem of criminalizing something [the assault weapon] that, up to now, has been legal." Where is the justification for making instant criminals of 30,000 honest Marylanders? In California and New Jersey, hundreds of thousands of citizens have refused to comply with firearms bans. How many new prisons will be built to house these newly declared criminal citizens?

There is no justification for any such ban. According to the Uniform Crime Report issued by the State of Maryland, for the last five years an average of 14 people a year were killed in Maryland with any kind of long gun ` rifles, shotguns and military style semi-automatics. In fact, only one incident of an assault rifle has occurred within the last two years. Where is the carnage the governor's people claim these firearms cause? It simply does not exist.

There is no justification for a ban. The legislature only last year imposed a waiting period and a background check for the purchase of these firearms. Criminals can no longer purchase them from gun shops without a check being done. This seems quite sufficient to control a problem that doesn't even exist in the first place.

The Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association agrees totally that firearms must be kept out of the hands of children and others not authorized to have them. However, punishing a parent after a tragedy has already occurred seems rather pointless.

Our association has pressed Annapolis to institute a gun safety awareness program in all Maryland schools. The total cost of such a program would be less than the cost of one trial of a negligent parent. To date, the legislature has refused to consider such a program. We would rather save the lives of children, through education, than prosecute their parents.

Sanford M. Abrams

1/2

The writer is vice-president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms 1/2 Dealers Association.

Down to earth

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