Kiddie extortion in the streets
The hard-working, industrious youngsters exalted in Wiley Hall's recent column on "squeegee kids" are not the ones I encountered recently on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Franklin Street. I have found them to be discourteous, unwilling to accept no for an answer and abusive to motorists who pass through their "territory."
On Aug. 2, while waiting for a green arrow to make a left turn from Martin Luther King Boulevard onto Franklin Street, I spotted a trio of squeegee kids lined up along the median strip. The
smallest of the youngsters, a child of perhaps 10, approached my car. I declined the offer to have my window cleaned, as I had no change and planned a trip to the car wash later in the day.
The child ignored me and proceeded to clean my back window. Again I told him not to clean my window; again he ignored me.
When I ignored this youngster's outstretched hand, he hammered my car windows with his fists while spewing obscenities. I leaned on the horn until the traffic light changed, hoping to attract someone's attention and to scare the child away before he broke my window. I immediately drove to the Western District Police Station where I reported the incident to a group of disinterested officers. Only after calls to the mayor's office and the Central Police District was I assured the matter would be investigated.
I don't call this behavior industry or initiative. It is willful an forceful manipulation; a sort of kiddie extortion. This same behavior in an adult would be considered criminal. But then we're dealing with kids here, and after all, they're just trying to make a buck. Right, Mr. Hall?
I noticed with some consternation that my phone bill was augmented with a tax bite before "Ma" Bell added her monthly service charge. The vulpine, cowardly 1991 Maryland General Assembly passed this devious bill and the telephone company agreed to act as agent for the perfidious state in billing and collecting.
No, I don't buy the explanation that the added tax is minuscule, since all of these minute taxes are relentlessly inflating the monthly bill.
Kelton Carl Ostrander
Shame on a judicial system that offers any other penalty than a death sentence for someone convicted of first-degree murder of a police officer.
Shame on a judicial system that allows the mother and father of someone who was known to be involved with drugs, and who was pulled from a New York prison to face first-degree murder charges, to get on the stand and tell a room full of people not to sentence their son to die because he was a "good boy."
Shame on a judicial system that allows anyone convicted of first-degree murder to ask a jury to spare his life because of the pain it will cause his family.
Shame on anyone who believed the murderer's first indication of remorse, which was shown just hours before he was to be sentenced.
Shame on anyone who thinks Eric Tirado was any kind of father to his child before he murdered a police officer and on anyone who thinks keeping him alive will benefit his child in any way.
Shame on anyone who honestly believes that it is more expensive to execute someone once his appeals have run out than to keep that person in prison for 50 years.
Shame on a lawyer who was obviously advertising for future clients when he claimed total victory on getting his client a sentence other than death.
Shame, shame, shame.
David W. McGlynn
The sentencing of Eric Tirado to life without parole fell short of justice. I don't blame the jury; it simply reflected our own current muddle over the death penalty. It faced difficult choices, and it did the best it could with what it was given. But it didn't have all the facts, as we have since learned. It seems Mr. Tirado's remorse was perhaps overstated to the jury. He had insulted the victim's wife shortly before, which seems quite inconsistent with remorse.
The man giving the obscene gesture was the same man who chose to kill Trooper Ted Wolf in a selfish, anti-social attempt to escape justice in an earlier crime. He wasn't provoked. He wasn't mentally diminished. He made an informed decision to take an innocent life.
Death is tragic, and we should take no pleasure in it. But Tirado's death would have been justified. It would have been justice.
Fitness for duty
An Evening Sun editorial recently asked how the general public can be assured that nuclear power plant employees are free from the effects of drugs and alcohol. Baltimore Gas &
Electric Co. accomplishes that through our "Fitness for Duty" drug and alcohol screening program that applies to workers (including me) at its Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant and every other BG&E employee. The program includes pre-employment screening, random testing for prohibited substances and testing for cause.
A person who voluntarily seeks help will receive extensive support from BG&E, including counseling and rehabilitation services. During that time, the person's access to Calvert Cliffs and other sensitive areas will be restricted.
Our program is comprehensive, thorough and persistent. A person who does not seek help will caught, and will immediately be denied access to Calvert Cliffs.
eorge C. Creel
The writer is vice president of Nuclear Energy for Baltimore Gas & Electric.