Concern for helmets seems misplaced
Your editorial, "Helmets for hardheads" (Jan. 22), misses the mark; furthermore, it is discriminatory, not against motorcyclists, but against all other motorists.
Your apparent desire to protect a minority of the motoring public while denying the requirement of protection to auto and truck drivers opens your motivation to question. Many feel that the motorcyclist is a safe minority upon whom to lean there aren't many of us, we aren't especially political, lots of folks feel themselves to be better than we are and use that feeling to pressure us to do things we do not want to do.
Statistics show that automobile drivers routinely die or become impaired by head injuries, as do their passengers. Wearing a helmet in an automobile would reduce head injuries for auto travelers at least as well as it would for motorcyclists and there are far more automobile travelers than there are motorcyclists.
Are we who ride motorcycles so valuable that we need protection, and drivers of automobiles, buses and trucks (and their passengers) so valueless that you knowingly choose not to protect them as well as you would protect us?
I will support your mandatory helmet law when you apply it to all people who could conceivably benefit from it ` everyone who makes use of any kind of a vehicle. Surely you recognize that the greatest good accrues to a requirement that everyone protec his or her cranium.
One of the most poignant images of the gulf crisis is that of Soviet Jews arriving in Israel, literally while Iraqi missiles are coming down around them. On the first day of the gulf war 1,200 Soviet Jews arrived, and they continue to come in large numbers.
You see the Soviet Jews on the TV screens: the warm and rousing welcomes at the airport, then the distribution of gas masks with instructions in the Russian language.
The movement of thousands of Soviet Jews to Israel is an event of historic proportions. That missiles aimed at innocent Jews in Israel's civilian centers have not been allowed to halt this historic movement only serves to magnify its importance.
And it shows ever more forcefully how Israel faithfully continues to fulfill its Zionist mission to serve as a haven for the Jewish people. Israel should be commended for how it is handling itself in this crisis. History will record its courage and indomitable restraint.
Stephen L. Hecht
The writer is chairman of the Baltimore chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
The changes that are occurring on the international scene are broader and more lasting than any in this century, including the Bolshevik Revolution and the Third Reich. What we are seeing is a harbinger of a new balance of power, and there is reason for hope.
There is now only one superpower. Economically, militarily and politically, U.S. hegemony is clear. This is both a problem and an opportunity. The problem is that, like it or not, the world's leading democracy and only superpower can't avoid its role or the attendant responsibilities. No matter how peaceful or eager to be liked he may be, the biggest kid on the block is expected to stop bullies, break up fights and help his weaker friends. The problem is compounded by the fact that it's not unusual to be criticized even by those who demand and receive assistance.
The opportunity lies in substituting a new collective order for the burdens of a Pax Americana. By sharing international power constructively, as democracies do internally, the United States can help create a multinational fabric of law and cooperation. After Saddam's removal, it would be an unprecedented act of strength and wisdom for the U.S. to become the first powerful nation to voluntarily substitute persuasive, negotiative and consultative leadership for the doctrine of "might makes right."
Roger C. Kostmayer
Protect the neediest
State legislators must protect a program slated to be slashed by the administration which helps extremely poor and temporarily disabled adults survive before one penny is appropriated for file cabinets or equipment. Even better, the governor should withdraw the proposal.
Under the proposal, about 15,000 extremely fragile adults would be virtually penniless.
While the state's $205 monthly grant for general public assistance recipients is exceptionally meager, it does help pay for prescriptions, bus fare and perhaps a room without a bath.
How can Maryland expect a disabled person to survive on absolutely nothing?
Lynda E. Meade
The writer is vice president of Welfare Advocates, a coalition concerned about the needs of Maryland's poorest citizens. :
What kind of governor refers to a part of his state as "the s. . . house of the Eastern Shore?" Governor Schaefer owes every man, woman, child and legislator from there an apology.
Not only was his remark crude and childish, but it shows how unprofessional he has become (sadly lacking statesmanship). Many of the troops serving in the gulf war are from the shore, including a contingent from Salisbury. Their anxious families have enough to worry about in these tense times, without our governor hurling abuses at them. Unfortunately, we have a governor whose arrogance knows no bounds.
I am thoroughly disgusted by minorities' trying to force their beliefs on all the citizens of Maryland, particularly abortion, anti-war and animal rights groups. Let them have their opinions, but don't let them try to force them on the rest of us.
E. H. Watson