Shifting SandEditor: Even before the tempest subsides, you...


January 20, 1992

Shifting Sand

Editor: Even before the tempest subsides, you can hear it blowing in the wind of every storm that hits our coast.

It sounds like the choir at the corner church. The politicians and residents of the affected area all start crying for millions to save Ocean City. And the recent nor'easter is no exception.

When will the public ever learn that beaches are dynamic structures? They move and change. All the human efforts to save them are at best only stopgap measures. The environment will win in the end.

In fact, this movement should be obvious to all. Ocean City's inlet didn't even exist in the recent past. It was opened during a storm. What makes people think that the sea won't break through another area of this fragile strand of sand?

Putting money into replenishment is the same as throwing it down the sewer. It is just a matter of time before a big storm will wipe out the entire city.

This should be obvious from the devastation we all witnessed in South Carolina. Millions of dollars were spent to protect the beach and all to no avail.

The problem is only going to get worse. Sea level is rising and these events will increase in number and severity.

Beach dynamics have been known for a long time. When folks built in these dangerous areas, it must have been with the full knowledge of the inherent instability of the substratum.

Without blaming people for wanting to live on the beach, it is not fair to ask the rest of the population to pay for their folly.

If the citizens of Ocean City insist on remaining on that tenuouslyfrail ''ribbon in the ocean,'' then it is their responsibility, and only theirs, to pay the exorbitant costs to maintain it. Are we looking for another never-ending ''welfare for the rich'' program?

Martin Freed.

Dames Quarter.

Onward at 80

Editor: National Woman's Party members may chuckle at Susan Baer's idea that the National Organization of Women may have peaked at the tender age of 25 (January 9).

The National Woman's Party, founded in 1913 by Alice Paul, who wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year.

After securing the 19th Amendment in 1920, which guaranteed women the right to vote, the National Woman's Party carried forth the banner for the Equal Rights Amendment and continues to do so in its headquarters on Capitol Hill.

In the movement for the women's vote, the National Woman's Party was considered brash, radical and anti-establishment.

Now, historians view this movement as a human rights movement. There is no ''prime'' for organizations concerned with equality and fairness.

The National Woman's Party won't ''peak'' until the Equal Rights Amendment becomes part of the Constitution.

- Dorothy Ferrell-Gevinson. Washington, D.C.

The writer is president of the National Woman's Party.

Next Shot

Editor: Many Marylanders, including your Gallimaufry writers,

wonder what we accomplished in 1988 with our landmark law banning Saturday Night Specials.

With this law, our state has banned over 110 models of handguns which are only of use to criminals.

Among those banned are two of the top five crime guns in America, the Jennings J-22 and the Raven Mp-25.

In addition, Maryland is the only state to ban all derringers, those very small one or two shot weapons which are truly ''belly guns.''

Beyond this, our defeat of the National Rifle Association's $7 million referendum campaign against our law gave other states and the United States Senate and House of Representatives the courage to pass important gun control legislation.

We never said in 1988 that our Saturday Night Special ban would by itself end gun violence.

Having banned this one type of crime gun, we must now work to ban even more dangerous assault weapons.

To do so, we must galvanize that unbeatable coalition of Maryland law-enforcement, labor, religious and community organizations which defeated the NRA in 1988.

Vincent DeMarco.


Irritating Myth

Editor: It is irritating for your reporter, William F. Zorzi Jr, to continue to perpetuate the myth that former prison records supervisor John O'Donnell erroneously applied a Division of Correction policy and released a dangerous felon to deprive three more innocent Marylanders of their lives.

Mr. Zorzi knows better because I have personally given him the facts.

For the edification of your readers, an assistant attorney general assigned to the Division of Correction originated this hare-brained scheme to compute ''good conduct'' time based upon an incarcerated felon's unexpired prior sentences.

The scheme was conceived at a meeting at which ''freeing up'' beds in order to alleviate prison overcrowding was the primary topic of discussion. The attorney general of Maryland officially approved this policy in an opinion. Unfortunately, the opinion was classified as ''privileged'' and, when last I asked, it had not been released. So much for open and honest government in the good old ''Free State.''

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