A True 'Helper'
Editor: In his article, "Death's Little Helper and His Suicide Machine," published by The Sun on Oct. 30, Arthur Caplan asks why America has not expressed the same outrage toward Dr. Jack Kevorkian for assisting three women to commit suicide as it did toward the health-care professional who infected his patient with AIDS. I think I have the answer for him.
Kimberly Bergalis did not want to die, while Janet Adkins, Sherry Miller and Marjorie Wantz did. Ms. Bergalis went to her dentist for help and he betrayed her. When Ms. Adkins, Ms. Miller and Ms. Wantz asked Dr. Kevorkian for his help, he gave it to them.
The AIDS victim has every reason in the world to hate the man who infected her, whereas the three suicides could feel only gratitude toward the physician who brought their intolerable pain to an end.
Dr. Kevorkian apparently feels that a person should have the right to make his own decisions concerning his own life. Furthermore, he seems to believe that the right to life implies the right to death. It's people like Jack Kevorkian who give health-care professionals a good name.
Feed the Hungry
Editor: One's first reaction to Deborah Greene's article on food-stamp increases may be one of pity. However, this tidings may, in a way, be a mixed blessing. At least it means some people are escaping hunger, even if only for a time.
But the real heartbreaker is that many of the hungry are children. Two out of the three recipients in Ms. Greene's article were families with young children.
Although lacking in media coverage, hunger is a significant problem in our country today. According to a recent study by the Food Research and Action Center, almost 40 percent of U.S. families with children under 12 are hungry or at risk of hunger.
Among other consequences, hungry children are three times as likely to suffer from the inability to concentrate. Are we preparing the way for our next generation to be written off, too? Without proper nourishment, how can we educate and train our leaders and caretakers of the future?
Hopefully, this increase in participation in such government programs means that, at least, our children are succored toward a more promising future. It is not impossible that maybe some of these children might someday end the hunger problem, not only in Maryland, but across the nation and around the world.
One can concede that such programs are only a stopgap and do not address the underlying causes, but, unfortunately, our children are hungry today and, if they don't eat today, they will not have a tomorrow.
Editor: It was heartwarming to read about the award of a Russian commemorative medal to Capt. Victor Konsavage. This recognition of his convoy trips to Murmansk brings back memories of the joint efforts which won World War II.
Civilian contributions to the war effort are recognized generously by some of the allied countries. For example, veterans of Air Transport Auxiliary, Britain's air ferry organization analogous to the merchant service, are eligible for several awards. No distinctions are made as to nationality, with personnel having come from 25 nations, including Russia, the United States and even several neutral countries.
However, the U.S. government does not even recognize as veterans the Americans who flew in ATA. About 40 of us remain.
Editor: In an otherwise entertaining address on free speech at the Johns Hopkins University Oct. 23, Alan Dershowitz unfairly criticized the American Civil Liberties Union in a way that undermined his pretensions to be the guardian of freedom of expression. Mr. Dershowitz claimed that the ACLU has allowed leftist political beliefs to dilute the integrity of its free speech position.What he said at Hopkins and published in earlier newspaper columns was the the ACLU has lost its First Amendment bearings by failing to challenge restrictions on sexist, racist and homophobic speech and defend the right of the CIA to recruit on college campuses.
He is wrong and the ACLU has called him to task for his inaccuracies.
In a letter to Mr. Dershowitz, Ira Glasser, executive director of the national ACLU, emphasized that the ACLU is against any campus limitations on speech, no matter how vile or insulting and for the right of the CIA to recruit on campus.
But Mr. Dershowitz has failed to even answer the ACLU, much less apologize. What he does is repeat the falsehoods in public forums, such as the presentation he made on the First Amendment at the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium at Hopkins.
It is time for Mr. Dershowitz to exercise his own free speech rights to right his own wrongs.
Edgar L. Feingold.
Baltimore. 6The writer is a former president of ACLU of Maryland.
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