Putting the lie to NRA's argumentsI read in The Evening...

The forum

September 16, 1991

Putting the lie to NRA's arguments

I read in The Evening Sun that a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies is targeting violent criminals who use handguns. The assumption that the worst felons can be brought in on gun violations puts the lie to the old NRA line that "guns don't kill people; people kill people."

Let's look at some of the NRA's positions. What can we think of people who wish to be guaranteed unconditional access to machine guns and armor-piercing bullets? Can we believe anyone who opposes laws restricting Saturday night specials is concerned for safety? Can the NRA have any real concern for crime when it so loudly protests the sweeps of the Chicago housing projects for illegal weapons?

Practically all gun control measures are aimed at weapons whose only use is criminal. When innocent bystanders are regularly killed in the cross fire between drug dealers and street gangs, when 9mm pistols and Uzis are in the hands of children 14 and younger, the NRA's nonsensical propaganda seems perverse.

A vast majority of Americans want some form of gun control that will reduce the number of firearms turning so many neighborhoods into free-fire zones. The NRA's stop-at-nothing tactics have alienated this majority to the point that politicians have lost their terror of the gun lobby.

In the face of the fact that one American is killed every 28 minutes by gunfire, more and more people are inclined to suggest that if you want to exercise your right to bear arms, you should get a baseball bat.

Paul Flanagan


No political plans

I am writing to thank you for your positive comments about the progress which has been made in programs of the Baltimore County public schools during the past 15 years. These gains are the result of a team effort.

You totally missed the mark, however, when you speculated that I might run for county executive in 1994. Please permit me to kill that speculation instantly and unequivocally. While I am not planning to retire from the work force on June 30, 1992, I have no political ambitions whatsoever.

obert Y. Dubel


The writer is the superintendent of Baltimore County schools.

Hits and errors

Over many years I have read and loved Gilbert Sandler's "Baltimore Glimpses," but sometimes even Gilbert gets it wrong. His recollection of the opening of Memorial Stadium contains a gross inaccuracy, to wit: "To the Spartan, horseshoe-shaped Municipal Stadium, which had been designed for football... were added the upper deck, 20,000 additional seats. . ."

Not so. There's not one stick of the old Municipal Stadium in Memorial Stadium. The former, built in the early 1920s, was a primitive earth-and-wood affair which was rotted and collapsing by 1949. The International League Orioles had moved there after VTC Oriole Park was destroyed by fire on July 4, 1944 ` really because they had no place else to go.

In 1949, as the old wooden stadium was removed by stages, the city commenced building the lower deck of an entirely new structure, designed with the footings for an upper deck. In 1953 the upper deck was started and was barely finished in time for opening day in 1954.

There was no more physical connection between the old municipal bowl and Memorial Stadium than between the latter and the still-nameless Camden Yards ball park.

Gwinn Owens


School technology

I read with great interest your editorial on the tenure of Dr. Robert Y. Dubel, superintendent of Baltimore County public schools. While I found myself in agreement with many of your statements, I would like to comment on what was characterized as a less-than-competitive approach to technology in the school system.

We recognize the fact that we still need to increase our inventory of computer hardware, although the ratio of students per computer is considerably lower than the reported 33-to-1. There are fewer than 27 students for each computer.

The austere budgets of the late 1980s put a crimp in the county's hardware distribution plans. They did not prevent the Baltimore County public schools from proceeding, however, with aggressive program of computer-related curriculum development and in-service education.

Recent budget allotments have permitted more visible signs of progress. Dr. Dubel is currently working on a multimillion-dollar capital budget request for technology which will push us even farther along. The fact that in lean times the superintendent had the foresight to encourage the less-visible, but critical, preparation for the anticipated technologies places the Baltimore County public schools in a highly competitive position.

William D. Rust IV

The writer is coordinator of the Office of Educational Technology for Baltimore County public schools.

Affront to rights

The letter by Claire O. Rhoads (Forum, Aug. 26) is an inexcusable affront to the civil rights movement, to mention in the same breath the anti-abortion protesters and the civil rights activists. Shame!

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


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