Inflammatory ArtEditor: The caricature of a samurai with a...


May 10, 1991

Inflammatory Art

Editor: The caricature of a samurai with a cruel and vicious leer together with a letter to the editor critical of Japan (May 7) is the sort of mindless stereotyping which should be beneath The Sun.

In the context of the letter, it is art that tends to inflame racial fears and hatred, reminiscent of World War War II propaganda, whose effects are still felt today.

As for the substance of the story to which the letter referred, it would appear that during the Persian Gulf buildup some Japanese firms initially refused to put U.S. defense contractors ahead of their other customers until the Japanese government intervened. The headline of the story could have read, ''Japan Aids U.S. Defense Effort,'' if the editors were so inclined.

The real issue, however, is not whether Japan remains an enemy, real or potential. It is the shortsightedness of U.S. defense policy that allows us to become dependent on foreign suppliers of any nation for critical parts.

We should stop using others as scapegoats for our own failings.

Gene Oishi.



Editor: The article by Luther Young April 7 stated that ''Congress ponders funding a $211 million gravity wave observatory using a different system from the one [Joseph Weber] invented, a rival design championed by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.''

The correct facts are that I invented both the bar and the interferometer gravity wave detectors at the University of Maryland at College Park. The first interferometer detector, similar to the ''rival design championed by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology'' was constructed and operated by Dr. Robert L. Forward after he received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Maryland at College Park.

The article refers to our collaboration with the Italians stating that the Rome group -- ''while noting some curious 'coincidences' in data -- have never made that claim.'' And concerning the Supernova data ''and once again the Italians were leery of the data.''

The correct facts are that two scientists from the University of Rome are first authors on a scientific paper published in the journal Physical Review D on May 15, 1982. The abstract of this states that:

''Results are presented for analyses of the outputs of gravitational radiation antennas in Rome and in Maryland during July 1978. These data give evidence for an external background exciting both antennas.''

J. Weber. Irvine, Calif.

Rights of Disabled

Editor: I note with interest the editorial of May 4, ''Wrong Roadblock,'' in which you claim to be sympathetic with people with disabilities and that the offending policy is wrong-headed and socially unacceptable.

Yet you say the demonstrations in Woodlawn were counter-productive.

Have you been asleep while the civil rights movements in this country have shifted to the rights of people with disabilities?

Did you notice the Congress and president enact in 1990 the most important civil rights law in history for people with disabilities?

Have you noticed the new solidarity of those fighting discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, etc., and disabilities?

I wonder what editorials appeared in your newspaper when many were in the streets demonstrating for the civil rights of those not in the racial majority of the day.

Thomas John Martin.

Prince Frederick.

The writer is chairman of the Calvert County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities.

Criticism Muzzles the Cops


Editor: I am not at all surprised that the Baltimore County Police Department failed to act more aggressively when disabled protesters recently paralyzed the offices of the Health Care Financing Administration in Woodlawn. Nor am I surprised that the Washington, D.C. police are being criticized for failure to take more aggressive action to protect property during the recent riots.

The brutal beating of that Los Angeles motorist has obviously constrained police forces around the country. They're being cautious. Some of that restraint is probably desirable. Some of it can be construed as an overreaction, even a public hampering of needed police effort.

I'm amazed at recently published expressions of anger that the police did not act forcefully enough in removing handicapped individuals who were blocking public access and public use of thoroughfares. Given the current climate, I find it shocking that .. anyone would seriously and soberly believe the police would open themselves up to the videotaped exposure of forcibly removing people in wheel chairs.

Someone, for sure, would be waiting to pounce on the police, no matter how gently they acted to restore order.

Frankly, I don't blame the Baltimore County Police Department one bit for being invisible. In the current climate of anti-police rhetoric, it's hard to believe anyone expected more.

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