In Jail ForeverEditor: The recent public outcry about the...


August 21, 1991

In Jail Forever

Editor: The recent public outcry about the cost to the taxpayer of jailing Eric Tirado for life seem unwarranted. The taxpayer should be more than happy to flip the bill for the incarceration of someone such as Tirado.

To me, the primary reason for having prisons is to get criminals like him off the street. There is never an outcry over public expense to arrest, prosecute and jail perpetrators of so-called victimless, Pee-Wee Herman-like crimes.

The argument over jailing costs is mainly a crutch argument the proponents of capital punishment use to satisfy their own taste for blood. We should be glad to get the likes of Tirado off the street for life and happily pay the cost for keeping him in jail forever.

Timothy P. Kerr.

Ellicott City.


Editor: Carl Rowan, in his column concerning violence in America, writes of those who are ''victimized in so many ways by social, economic and even physical violence.'' Naturally, one would assume that Mr. Rowan is referring to the average decent, hard-working, law-abiding citizen. But wait! Remember this is Carl Rowan, champion of the oppressed. No, the victims to whom Mr. Rowan refers are none other than ''violent youth gangs.''

Yes, Father Rowan absolves these miscreants without even a ''Hail Mary'' and audaciously lays the blame for the nation's epidemic of violence squarely on society. Thus, Mr. Rowan proves once again that his newspaper columns are to indigestion what Typhoid Mary was to typhoid.

But what about the people who truly suffer social, economic, and physical violence?

Mr. Rowan cavalierly ignores the social violence committed against those who race to get off the streets before dark, who may drive miles out of their way to avoid high crime areas and who, having run the gauntlet, promptly barricade themselves in their homes for the night.

Mr. Rowan fails to acknowledge the economic violence done to those who are compelled to pay ever-higher taxes for more prisons, increased police protection and spiraling court costs. He does not take account of the fact that stolen cars and burglarized homes affect the insurance premiums all of us must pay. Nor does he consider that crime, both violent and non-violent, increases the price paid by consumers for every product they buy.

As to physical violence, one need only note that the cemeteries ** are full of those who have had the misfortune to cross the path of Mr. Rowan's so-called victims.

I, for one, unlike Mr. Rowan and others of similar view, do not have it in me to feel pity for the purveyors of so much misery, and what's more, I never shall.

Michael S. Brocato.


Keep Telling 'em

Editor: This refers to Steven Strohmier's Aug. 4 letter complaining that The Sun shouldn't report whether a motorcycle rider killed in a collision was wearing a helmet or not. He felt that including the fact that the rider wasn't wearing a helmet somehow implies that he was to blame for the accident.

This implication is not that the motorcyclist is to blame for the accident -- the implication is that the motorcyclist may be to blame for his death or serious injury, which might have been prevented by wearing normal protective gear.

Motorcycle riding is high-risk transportation, and 24 states now have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Maryland does not have a universal helmet law, and at least 50 percent of this state's riders don't use helmets, risking death and major brain injury with a fatalistic bravado that doesn't care who has to pay for the consequences when crashes happen.

Serious brain injuries are more common than death. Then the families pay by having to care for a disabled person the rest of his life. And Maryland taxpayers have to fund disability services and monthly disability income.

The Sun should keep on reporting whether a helmet was used in a motorcycle accident, so riders will be reminded of the importance of this safety equipment. And Maryland needs a helmet law, to protect its citizens against the foolishness of those who will never figure this out.

Phebe Whitehead.


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Head Injury Foundation.


Editor: From reading Roger Simon's column, Aug. 9, and letter-writer Anne Valenti, Aug. 16, one gets the impression that abortions are performed on fetuses (Latin for child) only for reasons of rape, incest or threatened health of the woman or fetus.

What I don't see being told the public by The Sun is that less than 8 percent of abortions are performed for these reasons.

That means that of the approximately 4,500 abortions performed daily in this country, 4,140 are performed for what reasons? Convenience, according to Planned Parenthood's Alan Guttmacher Institute.

This is the reason the majority of Americans oppose abortion-on-demand.

Matthew P. Sadowski


Health Insurance

Editor: There has been discussion in your columns about citizens who are not covered by health insurance. I would like to mention another group.

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