Best holiday gift is health for everyoneWhen it was...

the Forum

December 12, 1991

Best holiday gift is health for everyone

When it was announced that the pool at Dundalk Community College would be closed to the public and students, I began a massive letter-writing campaign to keep the pool opened. An alternative funding proposal was subsequently made by the college. Unfortunately, Dundalk is not an affluent community. I then contacted over 14 employers in Baltimore County, including my own. Only a modest donation will enable us to meet our goal.

Simultaneously, I observed the same employers providing elaborate holiday parties at private locations. I view this as a complete irony. How can an employer not help employees or community and spend thousands on these holiday affairs?

I was raised in a modest Midwest community. I would have had to ask only one or two of the major employers in the area for the funds needed. Also, this "story" would be in the "headlines."

Despite all the decorations in the malls, there is only one that reminds me of my hometown. It is the Salvation Army volunteer at the red kettle saying, "Thank you."

I did not attend the lavish party given by my employer. In these times of hardship, I feel that a gift of health for this year and years to come is the true meaning of the holidays. I hope that employers think about the needs of their employees and community during this holiday season. Someday, I hope to be able to decide these policies. The spirit of the holidays should be one of health for all.

Deborah J. Zygmunt

Baltimore

Who has failed?

The disaster confronting the "Soviet Union" has buoyed the spirits of the Bush administration and its ultra-rightist radicals as they boast of the superiority of the capitalist system, jubilant that "communism has failed."

Millions of our citizens have lost their jobs and millions of others face a similar plight, as more families with children increase the homeless in our streets. Hunger stalks the nation. Thirty-seven million citizens have no medical insurance. Twenty-five percent of our children live below the poverty level, as do tens of millions of other citizens. Our educational system is in shambles. The poor are becoming poorer while the rich grow richer.

Low-cost housing for the average worker is almost non-existent. Innocent citizens are being slaughtered in our streets. AIDS is afflicting more heterosexuals, with no cure in sight. Corruption among our S&L officials and bankers, defense contractors and politicians threatens every citizen. Many of our largest corporations have filed for bankruptcy. Falling production and declining foreign trade are a recipe for economic collapse. Our bridges and roads are crumbling. Firemen and law enforcement officers are being forced to leave their jobs. Mayors and governors across the nation cannot meet the basic needs of their citizens. Shall I go on?

Communism has failed?

Leon Peace Ried

Baltimore

Give us guns

The assertion in Fred Davis' Nov. 20 letter, "Annie, get your gun," is totally incorrect. Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry firearms would indeed be a deterrent to criminals.

Mr. Davis neglects two very important facts. First, armed citizens deter criminals with firearms over 650,000 times a year. Many times, the gun is never fired, only shown to the criminal. Second, armed citizens annually kill more than three times as many criminals in self-defense as do police. The victims are always on the scene before the police.

The law gives citizens the right to self-defense, but that right is useless if we do not have the means to defend ourselves. Perhaps Mr. Davis would change his mind if a criminal appeared in his bedroom some night. Let's see just how much good it would do him to dial 911 then.

Properly trained and armed citizens are not "vigilantes." They are merely protecting themselves, not circumventing the law.

Sanford M. Abrams

Silver Spring

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms , Dealers Association.

Share the blame

Normally Norman Pepersack is a sheriff with common sense, but his Baltimore County effort to ensure child support payments, Operation Grand Slam, like the District of Columbia disaster, Operation Caribbean Cruise, was a public relations gimmick doomed to failure (editorial, Nov. 25).

But the sheriff is only obeying orders. The blame goes to County Executive Roger Hayden, who, like Governor Schaefer, refuses to seek solutions to the problems of child support.

Despite the state's Equal Rights Amendment, the Maryland Manual lists $6,393,274 for "women's services programs" in the state in 1991. Added to this is the Baltimore County Commission for Women, but not one dollar is allocated for husbands and fathers.

Arrests are not the answer to the enforcement of child support orders. Until those whom talk radio host Rush Limbaugh calls "feminazis" and their fellow traveler begin to address and correct the underlying issues, more misery will be inflicted on children and parents.

Kauko H. Kokkonen

Towson

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