Support rights, not illegal demonstrations
As a resident of westside Baltimore County (near the Social Security complex), I was one of many who was inconvenienced by the demonstrations there last week. While I support the goals of the disabled people who took part and their right to demonstrate for their cause, I cannot support their methods.
Blocking traffic on busy thoroughfares (Security Boulevard and Woodlawn Drive) which many people use on their way home from work, blocking parking lot exits and in effect holding employees at the complex hostage are all illegal acts. There were others far more disgusting, which did not endear anybody to the cause of the demonstrators. I shudder to think of what could have happened had there been an emergency ` a fire, an explosion or even a heart attack.
The Baltimore County Police spokesman, Jay Miller, was asked why the police did not control the crowd and arrest those who were blocking traffic; he said it would have taken too long to arrest all those disabled people. If the followers see the leaders of their demonstration being arrested, they usually give it up. In other words, it was too much trouble for the county Police Department to do what we citizens of Baltimore County are paying it to do ` preserve order.
If Chief Cornelius Behan would stop running around the state in uniform supporting every useless gun control proposal that comes along and spend more time doing what policemen are supposed to do, the demonstrators could have been forced to demonstrate where and in a way that would not interfere with the right of law-abiding people who have no part in their dispute.
Charles A. Frainie
War against children
The Children's Defense Fund reported that last year we gave 8 billion of tax dollars in military aid to countries that our undereducated children can't even find on a map.
Sixty-three nations provide a family allowance to workers and their children - but ours is not one of them. Seventy nations provide medical care and financial assistance to all pregnant women - but ours is not one of them. Seventeen nations have paid maternity/paternity leave programs - but ours is not one of them.
Our government does not assure that our children receive the basic health care, child care, shelter and nutrition they need so they will be prepared to achieve in school. A child with an undiagnosed vision problem, or without the means to get glasses can hardly learn to his potential. A child whose intellectual development is stunted by lead poisoning cannot excel in the classroom. Neither can one who falls asleep in class because she was awake half the night before in a homeless shelter. Children who are hungry, children who are warehoused rather than provided with good child care and pre-school experiences will also fail in school.
If our politicians don't blink at bailing out savings and loan institutions to the tune of at least $160 billion, or spending a billion a day on the Persian Gulf war or $2 million a day funding the death squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala or millions to sustain venal fascist dictators throughout the Third World, why should we blink about insisting that they help children and families out of poverty at a fraction of these costs?
Our self-styled "education president" is waging war against our children just as surely as he did against Iraq. To ignore the plight of our children is to traduce our future.
Gerald B. Shargel
Michael Banter came home to Carroll County. He is a member of the 101st Airborne Division. His picture was in the local paper. His homecoming was front-page news. Michael said his job was to keep the Republican Guard from getting out of Kuwait and getting to Baghdad.
The irony here is that the reason we committed troops to the Middle East in the first place was to force the Iraqi military out of Kuwait. Instead, we told young people like Michael to cut off their lines of escape and murder them. Michael said the Iraqis didn't have much - no training, no will power, no food. He said the 101st had everything.
Half a million of our young men and women were sent to the Middle East to "defeat" what surely our military intelligence knew was an inferior force.
War is the failure of civilized behavior. Should we not pause to cry, to mourn, to grieve?
We all owe an apology to Michael Banter and his family and to all the Michael Bantners across this land who believed what their leaders said and were betrayed. We were all betrayed. And yet, we celebrate.
Welcome home, Michael, and forgive us.
Those of us who are handicapped in some way so that we are dependent on the Mobility Bus Service should stop and think: "Have I stopped to thank these wonderful people for this wonderful service to me? They try to accommodate us every time we call, and if we happen to hit a bad day, it is merely that they have more riders than buses."
I was so curious after five years of using this service that I called to get permission to go down to visit their offices. After this I was no longer curious. This staff operates like one big happy family. The hum of efficiency can be heard as you open the door.
Bertram L. Breuer