Helmet law would save $9 million a yearLast month, the...

the Forum

March 19, 1991

Helmet law would save $9 million a year

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee of the General Assembly defeated bills we proposed that would have required Maryland motorcyclists to wear helmets and purchase catastrophic health insurance. These measures, had they passed, would have saved lives and state tax dollars.

Our goal was to reduce the enormous medical costs incurred by motorcyclists who are injured in motorcycle accidents - most of which are paid for by the state. Few motorcyclists are covered for the costs of catastrophic injuries, especially rehabilitative services. The state gets stuck with the bill.

Of all motorists, motorcyclists without helmets are at the highest risk of severe and traumatic injury. Our bill would have placed some of the financial burden back on those who are assuming the risk.

These proposals would have saved the state about $9 million per year, at a time when people are screaming to cut government spending. It is not fair for the state to have to bear the burden of caring for people who choose to take unnecessary risks.

I am disappointed that the legislature and motorcycle riders have again failed to see that when a motorcyclist incurs a catastrophic injury, everybody loses. I will try again to get this bill passed. Next time, I hope the public will get behind it and help save state dollars.

William Donald Schaefer

The writer is governor of Maryland.

'Scud' attacks?

In order to wage war, it is necessary to convert human beings (the enemy) into faceless symbols of evil. It is the ultimate negation of individuality for all concerned.

The so-called war on drug abusers is pernicious in this way. Consider "Tough drug policy hits two more" (Evening Sun, Marc 12):

"A month after two kindergartners were suspended from a Carroll County school for possession of a prescription medicine, the county school system suspended two high school students for unauthorized use of aspirin."

Culpable 5-year-olds? Possession of aspirin? Clearly, the county's actions have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of individuals.

If this is war, then these are "Scud" attacks!

Gregory Lewis

Baltimore

Gun fact and fiction

Contrary to Governor Schaefer's claims, the seven Judicial Proceedings Committee senators who voted against his "assault weapons" ban did not bow to pressure from the "gun lobby." They cast their votes based on the facts presented largely by two key witnesses at the March 7 gun bill hearing. The two witnesses, neither of whom could be construed to be gun lobbyists, were Tom Hickman, Carroll County state's attorney, and Joe Constance, deputy police chief in Trenton, N.J.

Together these two effectively debunked every "assault weapon" myth put forth by the Schaefer administration. Contrary to administration claims that assault weapons are criminals' "weapons of choice," Hickman provided meticulously researched, county-by-county statistics that showed these firearms to be infrequently used in crime. Constance testified that the New Jersey law has had no effect on violent crime but has made criminals of tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens, some his fellow officers, who refuse to submit to the law's oppressive provisions.

Governor Schaefer's pointed criticism of Sen. Janice Piccinini is also wrong. Piccinini had the wisdom to separate fact from fiction, the integrity to act on the truth and the courage to resist administration arm-twisting. In a state too often suffocated by machine politics, Piccinini showed herself to be an independent thinker and a welcome breath of fresh air.

A. Richard Lego

Finksburg

Reconstruction

On Feb. 28 The Evening Sun featured an article under thxxTC headline, "State sees big business in restoration of Kuwait."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if U.S. businesses reconstructed our devastated American cities while they are constructing Kuwait?

Loretta Cryor-Tazwell

Baltimore

Going in style

As reported in in The Evening Sun of March 8, Hilda Ma Snoops, the governor's friend, was reported to have a State Police escort when she reported for jury duty. Governor Schaefer's press secretary also admits that Snoops has a State Police escort from time to time.

Why does the governor's "friend" rate preferential treatment from the State Police? Why is she allowed to wield such authority? And at what cost to the taxpayer?

Lawrence Schaffer

Randallstown

Inviting anarchy

In reference to your March 11 editorial, "Gun bills will rise again," let us hope you are wrong! You rant about the evil of guns, not of the evildoers. You boast of the handgun ban and the assault rifle waiting period. What demonstrable good have they done? Has the crime rate gone down as you and the rest of the anti-gun mob predicted? No. Has the homicide rate gone down? No, it's gone up.

The hypotheses you put forth have been tested and have failed. If we are unwilling to face up to the real problem, little or no punishment for violent criminal behavior, we are doomed to drift into anarchy.

Wendell C. Harsanyi

Pasadena

An ego problem

I think the only thing that really hurts Jim Palmer is his ego!

Betty D. Edlavitch

Baltimore

Norm in '92

Germond and Witcover mention Jackson, Bentsen, Kerrey, Gore and McGovern as possible 1992 Democratic presidential nominees. Bentsen or Kerrey could make a decent showing, but the rest are a sorry lot.

Wake up, Dems! There is a man in front of your eyes who would win.

He would bring intelligence, credibility and leadership back to government.

Who? Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf!

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

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