Editor: The Rev. Jesse Jackson has put forth another of his silly arguments. He believes that racial quotas should be observed at the Kuwaiti front line. He wants no over-representation by blacks, claiming that blacks are already over-represented within the armed services.
What he seems to overlook is that the race ratio within the armed services is determined by volunteerism and has nothing to do with race.
As a percentage of the population, Hispanics are more represented than blacks in the military. If anyone should be demanding quotas, it is they. However, they are silent.
Since the end of the draft, only the best are allowed to serve in the defense of our country and her interests. As a member of the black community, I am proud that we are so well represented in our armed forces.
C. James Troy Jr.
In the Middle
Editor: Charles Havens' letter (Jan. 30) contains something intriguing. Mr. Havens has pointed the way to reducing gun-related carnage in Maryland. It's called -- are you ready for this? -- compromise.
His plea to all parties participating in the persistent polemic commonly called the ''gun control debate'' is refreshing. You may wonder about his view of the Constitution; I did. You may wonder what his definition of permissible ''individual weapon(s) -- of all types'' would be; I did. But there is no wondering about his suggestions concerning licensing, tests for proficiency and liability insurance. They are fertile grounds for exploration by those genuinely seeking discovery.
I am a gun owner, hunter and shooter. I am also a police official who supports reasonable firearms legislation. I have a vested interest in the rights of those who legitimately purchase, own and use firearms, as well as those of the general public seeking protection from the carnage produced by the criminals and by non-criminal abuse and misuse of firearms. As an unreconstructed centrist, I read Mr. Havens' letter as a plea to find a common ground through compromise -- the real strength of our republic.
The central point of that common ground should be the saving of lives. At the edges are the key concessions that both sides want: a right to purchase and own firearms for sport and self-defense and the ability of the state to regulate firearms sales and ownership in order to keep guns out of the wrong hands. All rights are tempered. So, too, is the police power of the state. Democracy has always involved the delicate balancing of individual and societal needs. Common sense has always provided the fulcrum -- the center. Mr. Havens is correct: Let us stop arguing. Let us all take a step or two towards the middle. We'll find it a seldom explored territory filled with promise.
. J. Supenski.
The writer is a colonel in the Baltimore County Police Department.
From Plodding to Terrible
Editor: If H. L. Mencken scorned ''the heavy plodding of [John] Owens and his editorial writers,'' what would he have said about the writer of the editorial (Jan. 30) re the opening of the final Mencken manuscripts? Not ''plodding,'' of course, but just plain terrible. The opening sentence, ''Though he passed away in 1956 . . .,'' would have evoked the wrath of that abhorrer of euphemisms; and when he reached the phrase ''preferred for the objects of his scathing criticism . . .'' he certainly would have marched down to The Sun's editorial room and annihilated the perpetrator.
Whatever HLM thought of the editorial page during the tenure of Mr. Owens, Philip Wagner and Frederic Nelson, all were polished writers. Unfortunately, such is not always the case at present. It is ironic that an editorial concerning one of The Sun's greater journalists should have been turned over to a person so deficient in understanding proper English usage.
Mary W. Griepenkerl.
Editor: Can't find yellow ribbon?
Recycle the yellow plastic bag The Sun is delivered in. It makes a great, weatherproof yellow bow.
Elaine D. Antkowiak
Editor: I am writing in response to the article in the Maryland section, Jan. 15, concerning five abused women in prison. These women should not be locked up.
I have been on the receiving end of male physical abuse, and I understand some of the various psychological factors that can come into play to drive a woman to kill her abuser.
I loved this man, and I thought the abuse would end any time. Of course, he was always terribly sorry for his actions. Then it would happen again.
Low self-esteem plays a large part in a woman not leaving a destructive situation.
It is a waste for these women to be incarcerated. Furthermore, they did nothing to warrant incarceration.
They were hit, not once or twice but repeatedly, until finally they struck back with the same level of force that had been dealt them.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer should do as Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste has done, which was to pardon 25 battered women. It was the right thing to do.