Leaving Too Soon
Editor: Nearly a generation ago we departed from Southeast Asia in a big hurry. We left behind a ravaged country and many thousand people who had depended on us but were then left to face torture, murder and starvation by a dictator.
Today we are leaving the Middle East in a big hurry. We leave behind a ravaged country and many thousand people who had depended on us but who now face torture, murder and starvation by a dictator.
Par for the course?
Langdon B. Backus.
Editor: Regarding the sadistic, lust-murder of Rodney James Champy Jr., it may be correct to say that the ''murder suspect's probation was botched'' by the Division of Parole and Probation (The Sun, March 20). It is far more to the point, however, to say that the entire system of imprisonment and probation for sex offenders is a botched system.
It is impossible to cure a disease by treating it with imprisonment and probation. Sexual sadism, including lust-murder, is a sexological disease. It is classified, along with pedophilia, as one of 40-odd paraphilias. Many patients afflicted with these diseases seek early treatment before their disease reaches its pathological peak.
In Maryland, however, it is not feasible for a pedophile to seek treatment voluntarily. Maryland's mandatory reporting law dictates that the doctor take an undercover police role and, instead of treating a pedophile, report him to the criminal justice system. Rodney's suspected murderer, Stephone Jonathan Williams, lived within walking distance of the Johns Hopkins clinic for the treatment of sexual disorders. He did not refer himself to the clinic. So his disease went unchecked and unheeded by the criminal justice system until, for Rodney, it was tragically too late.
For the future protection of themselves and their children, the citizens of Maryland need a more rational biomedical and scientific approach to the sexological diseases of sex offenders. The annual cost of incarcerating sex offenders is staggering. A wise citizenry would demand that their tax money be more effectively spent on the maintenance of sexological treatment clinics, and the advancement of sexological research.
The writers are director and research assistant respectively at Johns Hopkins' Psychohormonal Research Unit.
Editor: The following is in response to ''power'' as defined and verbalized by two notable public officials.
What is power and how do you get it? Power is an intangible, like the air. You can't see it -- you surely feel its effect. Can you really capture power?
Mary Pat Clarke, City Council president, says ''Power is never given. It must be taken.''
Gov. William Donald Schaefer warned the legislature ''not to underestimate the power of the governor. The power of the governor has not yet been expressed.'' Are you trembling?
Mayor Kurt Schmoke, it was recently said, created a void of leadership by keeping a low profile on the redistricting issue. Could that have been an exercise in the power of restraint?
I wonder whether City Council President Clarke and Governor Schaefer have forgotten that an elected official is a public servant who represents the power of the office. The power does not reside in the person. Not yet, not in this country.
Could the similar combative leadership styles of Mary Pat Clarke and William Donald Schaefer indicate that they have forgotten ,, they are trustees of the public in the power they hold? Have they personalized their offices and is that why they wound and cut down people in their daily deliberations? Is that why they themselves sustain so many personal wounds?
Marjorie R. Johnson.
Editor: Thank you for publishing Dan Lynch's letter concerning Black Marsh State Park.
Having visited Black Marsh on foot, on bicycle and on guided tours, I fully support the coalition's vision. More of Black Marsh should be fully protected than what is proposed.
It is important to remember that more of the facilities proposed for the park -- except the boat access -- are site dependent.
Parking, a visitor's center, food service and the education center should be located outside the coastal zone. This would allow walking, biking, shuttle or even trolley access to the natural and historical areas.
#Mary E. Thater Chetelat.
Editor: Realpolitik. Has it come to that? Are we now to be guided by this strange German word describing President Bush's statement that ours is a caring nation? Forget his wish that we become kinder and gentler under a thousand points of light. Forget his pretense of being an observant Christian.