Editor: The two fatal accidents (eight deaths) in one week on the John F. Kennedy Highway were undoubtedly due to excessive speed (one crash-causing car was permanently clocked at over 80 mph).
The speed limit now is 55, and motorists on highways routinely drive at 60-65. After 65 mph, they might get stopped for speeding.
To increase the limit to 65 would soon lead to the additional 5-10 mph leeway. And there aren't enough police to govern that.
A motorist driving over 65 mph does not have full control of his vehicle.
J. G. Beck.
Editor: I have just finished reading your March 20 editorial entitled ''Unsafe at 65 mph.'' I find it appalling that a newspaper of your stature could print such rubbish.
It is a crime that people are subject to fines, harassment and higher insurance rates simply for driving at 65-70 mph on an interstate highway. The 55-mph speed limit always has been a cruel joke played on the driving public by politicians who thought they knew what was best for the rest of us.
Editor: It is well past time for financial interests involved with the threatened Port of Baltimore to get on to the next important step toward revitalizing the port. A locally owned shipping company can attract substantial profits and help return Baltimore to its former maritime status. Such a company would be immune to the lure of Virginia and other ports.
Once before in history Baltimore was threatened by Southern interests seeking to steal away its commerce by the construction of a canal to the MidWest, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This threat was checkmated by the organization of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co., America's first successful railroad.
There is nothing new about locally owned shipping lines.
I am old enough to remember the Baltimore Mail Line, the Merchants and Miners Transportation Co., the Baltimore Steam Packet Co. and others.
The Persian Gulf situation presents a unique challenge to get back on the sea now. Also there are developing markets in Eastern Europe already creating trade opportunities of immeasurable possibilities. To use a well-known quote: ''Do it now!''
Robert E. Schueler.
Editor: Your recent editorial spoke glowingly of recent South African government reforms (removal of segregation laws) and proposed reforms (repealing laws that deprived blacks of their homes and land, forcibly and brutally moving them to segregated, barely habitable locations).
While most would agree with these reforms and note them as steps in the right direction, they are still very small steps offered by a government providing constitutional rights to only 10 percent of all South Africans.
The comparison your editorial made between such reforms and the demolition of the Berlin Wall overlooks the fact that the peoples of Germany have, in the days since the wall came down, already experienced an election where all Germans had a voice in electing their leaders.
That is why the United States must not waiver in its resolve to keep sanctions against South Africa until a government is established that provides one-person, one-vote democracy in South Africa.
Good Speech and Bad Speech
Editor: I am very disappointed by Jack Fruchtman's rationalizations for suppressing free speech on college campuses.
If we teach college students that the remedy for offensive speech is to suppress that speech, we will inevitably produce a generation of future leaders whose understanding and appreciation of First Amendment values will be severely impaired.
Furthermore, we do college students no favor by allowing proxy parental authority to protect them from boors and bigots. College women may be able to compel removal of an offending Penthouse centerfold from a male student's dormitory door, as Professor Fruchtman notes. But what happens when one of those women graduates moves into an apartment building and finds the same male living across the hall, with the same tastes in door artwork?
Far better to teach female students ''real world'' protest skills, such as sensitizing the male to the evils of sexism, organizing the neighbors to confront the male -- and social ostracism (itself forbidden by some of the sillier college speech suppression policies).
Professor Fruchtman's examples of lawful speech suppression are unpersuasive.
Colleges simply cannot foster open discussion of controversial issues if students have to worry that someone will be offended and file a disciplinary complaint. Colleges should be teaching students that the remedy for bad speech is good speech, not the suppression of speech.
Sheldon H. Laskin.
Puerto Rican Americans Deserve Statehood
Editor: I would like to respond to George Will's March 19 column about the statehood debate for Puerto Rico. I believe that Mr. Will's view lacks many of the finer details in this argument.