Kudos, But . . .Editor: Kudos to the researchers led by a...


March 29, 1991

Kudos, But . . .

Editor: Kudos to the researchers led by a team based at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center who have possibly identified a gene to identify susceptibility to colon cancer. Similar genetic testing may soon be able to determine proneness to other diseases thought to be hereditary, such as alcoholism.

The results of such testing may have a very negative effect however on the already problematic American system of private health insurance, if health insurers are permitted to require or even consider such test results in determining whether to insure individual.

Insurance companies are already privy to centralized medical data banks for the collection of information regarding medical histories of individuals.

Perhaps the time has come for the Congress and state legislatures to consider protecting individuals from insurance companies' ability to selectively avoid risk by considering genetic proneness to disease.

Jerome James LaCorte.

Ocean City.

Head's Mural

Editor: Baltimoreans can thank Howard Head for more than sports-related improvements. He is responsible for an enhancement enjoyed by everyone.

A frequent New York-bound train traveler, Howard Head wanted a visitor's first impression of Baltimore to be clean, bright, and welcoming. He donated money to Baltimore City, and with Amtrak's cooperation the colorful Baltimore mural at Penn Station was repainted.

He also gave money to install benches on the platform so travelers could wait in comfort. I think it is agreed that Mr. Head's objective has been achieved.

Naomi Benyowitz.


Muskrat Skinning

Editor: I was saddened and ashamed to see Arthur Hirsch's article ''Marylander wins world muskrat-skinning crown.'' The article began with '' . . . 25 bloody carcasses to enthrone Ted Abbot as king -- king of the muskrat skinners.''

Mr. Hirsch then went on to explain in great detail how a muskrat is skinned and provided helpful advice from previous winners of this ''coveted'' title.

How this barbaric event can be treated with such praise is inconceivable to me. Every creature on this earth deserves respect both in life and death, but apparently this not the case in Dorchester County.

Does this article accurately represent what we want our children to learn about the animal world -- that it is permissible to rip the skins off dead animals and to award trophies to the fastest skinner? Or that this foolish competition ''is a monument to a dying art''?

Our only hope for a non-violent world is to teach our children to cherish all the inhabitants of our planet. This article, indeed this whole event, is several steps in the wrong direction.

Melanie A. Cook.


Sun Coverage

Editor: Thank you for the excellent coverage that we received in The Sun during the gulf crisis.

The maps were helpful and the flag and the bow were nice.

We look forward to The Sun every day.

Hazel B. Sanner.


Police Cooperation

Editor: The Sun editorial -- ''Police Pact: What Took So Long?''-- implies that citizens in the Baltimore metropolitan area have been somehow short-changed by the lack of a written police mutual aid agreement. As I have stated previously, we will sign such an agreement. However, nothing substantial will be noticed by our citizens as the result of such a pact.

For years the Baltimore City Police Department and Baltimore County Police Department have carried out mutual law enforcement programs and activities. Our departments regularly share information on crime, crime resistance, training programs and other matters of mutual interest. On a daily basis our officers and detectives share information and cooperate in investigative

matters with their counterparts in the county.

You need to know that both city and county officers have for months been sharing ''real time assistance'' in both information and manpower regarding the string of armed robberies experienced in the city and Baltimore County.

Curiously, several major breaks in this on-going case have come from police agencies which are located outside of Maryland. Major arrests were made in Newport News, Va., Wilmington, Del., and Philadelphia. Police from Baltimore City and Baltimore County are involved in these investigations, even though there currently is no mutual aid agreement in place between these agencies. Cooperation among law enforcement agencies is of paramount importance if we are to provide superior services to our citizens.

What a mutual aid agreement will do is formalize a method of extending equipment and human resources during an emergency. And, it will clarify the officer's authority to make arrests, which already exists under the ''fresh pursuit'' doctrine, when a jurisdictional line is crossed.

A police mutual aid agreement is a good idea and will soon be in force. However, both jurisdictions have been cooperating in that model way for many years. To believe otherwise, is to be misinformed.

Edward V. Woods.


The writer is police commissioner of Baltimore City.

John Walton

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