Parking PrivilegeParking on the street -- even on the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 22, 1992

Parking Privilege

Parking on the street -- even on the street where you live, even in front of your own house -- is a privilege, not an entitlement.

When you buy or rent a house, your property line does not extend to the width of the curb lane. If you want to be certain of a parking space, you must build a garage or a parking lot in your back yard.

Far less expensive is purchasing a parking permit for $20, in those areas where the luxury of permit parking is allowed. I cannot understand the furor over this really small sum of money, considering the fact that parking on a lot in the business district can eat up $20 in four days or less.

The people who complain about paying to park in front of their houses would complain far more loudly if they discovered that visitors to the new stadium had (legally) occupied all available spaces on "their" street.

Mary W. Griepenkerl

Baltimore

Humanists

Cal Thomas (Opinion * Commentary, April 7) rightly identifies the importance of a "culture that places human life and human dignity above all other things" in his discussion of anencephalic newborns -- children born with partially developed brains.

But he went badly astray when he turned what could have been a thoughtful piece into a tirade against his caricature of "humanistic materialism."

Those of us who call ourselves humanists or naturalists view human life as all the more precious, and the necessity of social justice all the more pressing, because we do not believe that there is an afterlife to compensate for earthly injustice or for a life cut short.

To say, as Mr. Thomas did, that humanists such as H. J. Blackham or Jacob Bronowski thought that "people should feel free to use human beings in any way they wish to attain their personal, short-term objectives," is as much a distortion of reality as it would be to say that theists do not care about suffering in this world because God will make up for everything in the next.

Thoughtful people, who equally revere life, may come to different conclusions on difficult ethical questions. What matters is the thoughtfulness and compassion with which they approach these questions, not whether they define themselves as theists or humanists.

Michael S. Franch

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the national leaders council of the American Ethical Union.

Crass Dummies

Wow! What sweeping social commentary when the overwhelming popularity of a toy, "Incredible Crash Dummies," makes front page news, especially in the middle of a presidential primary (The Sun, April 11).

I believe the focus of the article was misdirected. The problem isn't the loss of U.S. government revenue from lost royalties but rather the overall value of a toy designed to scatter limbs and heads to elevate a child's level of social responsibility. I am absolutely outraged at the industry and public support for this new product.

As any educator will tell you, the value of play is paramount in a child's overall education. Masquerading as influential in promoting the wise use of seat belts, this toy in fact cultivates the idea that violence, death and destruction are fun. Parents and well-meaning adults, however, are willingly and zealously purchasing this item. These misguided individuals as well as the manufacturers and distributors might consider stepping back and questioning the degree to which they have influenced a child's interpretation of his/her world through the activities they have proposed for recreation.

Children learn to be socially responsible by modeling the wise behavior and attitude of the adults who care for them. Crashing dummies will not promote the use of seat belts, but rather trivialize the entire notion while sending an underlying message about what constitutes fun. Parents: Put on your own seat belts, demand your kids follow suit and consider buying some crayons and drawing paper instead.

Beth Clough

Baltimore

Kudos to Us

I want to congratulate your paper in its handling of the information that Arthur Ashe has AIDS. Michael Olesker's April 9 column sums up the situation on journalistic shame better than any I have read, and he should be commended.

It is truly a shame that so many papers have taken the supermarket tabloid approach to grab market share and profits. Again, kudos to your company, writers and staff. Try and maintain the course that you are sailing. The public will always appreciate good journalism.

F. Basil Burwell

Ocean City

A Low-Cost Insurance Policy against War

I read with dismay your editorial, "Mikulski vs. the Pentagon" (April 10), and felt obligated to respond to your blind acceptance of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney's reasoning in drastically cutting the guard.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski rightly opposes the cuts proposed by the Defense Department because she understands the inherent value of the guard.

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