Editor: With an Opinion * Commentary article and an editorial, you have collaborated again in distracting the attention from the non-debate over firearms.
Once you have succeeded in disarming honest citizens, we will all be consummately easy victims of the hustlers and lurkers who are the product of our sick society and schooled by generations of murder-on-television Hollywood teachers.
Could you be honest enough to ask the public this question: What is it that causes the illegal violent behavior of inner-city persons shooting each other when out in the suburbs and rural areas, where there are more firearms, this phenomenon is almost non-existent?
When you find the answer to this question (hint: drugs, hopelessness, greed, television), then the truly minuscule number of individuals who have their despicable acts glorified by a desperate press will be seen for what they are.
Dennis J. LaBare.
Gains and Losses
Editor: Whenever the subject of reduction in the rate of tax on long-term capital gains comes up, the cry is raised ''that's just to benefit the rich.'' This is echoed by politicians and press alike.
Nonsense. Whatever the benefit to the rich, it's relatively unimportant. The compelling need for a lower rate of tax on such gains is to stimulate savings and venture capital, both highly essential to national growth and increased employment.
Savings invested in capital goods and industry originate from three sources. Surplus earned income beyond cost of living has already been taxed as such. If derived from extra investment income, that too has been taxed. Even inherited wealth is passed to legatees only after federal estate and state inheritance taxes have been paid. Thus these sources of venture capital have already been taxed at income tax rates.
The entrepreneur is financed by venture capital, which creates jobs and increased production. The percentage of failure in these undertakings is high. But when a new business is successful, firmly established and goes public, the entrepreneur withdraws his capital at probably considerable profit and again employs his funds in creating new enterprise of great advantage to the national economy.
That is the nature of revolving venture capital. Should the entrepreneur be taxed on his gains at ordinary income tax rates? I say no.
On recent telecasts, the president of the American Stock Exchange and two analysts with prominent New York investment firms emphasized the urgency of congressional action to lower tax rates on long-term capital gains.
If lower taxes lead to increased sales of assets by the rich -- adding at least temporarily to the amount of revenue collected by IRS -- they also result in greater liquidity of the security markets, which is another desirable effect.
John Redwood Jr.
Editor: Nothing impresses man more than the sight of trees. They are the silent, best friends a man can have.
These thoughs went through my mind the other day as I watched in Annapolis Gov. William Donald Schaefer sign Maryland's first statewide tree protection bill. It was a gratifying moment for me and, I know, for him, too.
Governor Schaefer has been tireless in his promotion of this bill. He deserves the credit. Future generations of our highly urbanized state will now be assured of the environmental benefits coming to them from this important legislation.
Wolodymyr C. Sushko.
Editor: In the April 21 Sunday Sun, you published an editorial critical of a recent Supreme Court decision limiting the ability of state prisoners to apply more than once to federal court for habeas corpus relief. In the course of the editorial, you made the comment: ''What of the defendant whose first [state] appeal was handled by an incompetent or unethical lawyer? This is often the case where defendants are poor.''
I cannot speak to the quality of appellate representation in other states, but as a member of the Court of Special Appeals for nearly 14 years, I have observed closely the representation afforded to indigent appellants in Maryland, and I find no basis whatever for your conclusion.
The appellate division of the Public Defender's Office appears as counsel in 90 percent or more of the criminal appeals in the state. That unit is staffed by a corps of very bright, energetic and resourceful lawyers, well-grounded in the law of crimes and criminal procedure. The quality of their advocacy is every bit as good as that of privately-retained counsel. I do not recall a single example of an ''incompetent or unethical'' lawyer appearing from that office.
Whatever may be the merits of the Supreme Court decision you criticize, I think that your broad statement, at least to the extent you believed it applicable in Maryland, is inaccurate and unfair.
lan M. Wilner.
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