National GoalJust what is it that seems to be missing from...


July 17, 1992

National Goal

Just what is it that seems to be missing from this year's presidential campaign?

There's no lack of issues to expound upon our personal foibles to expose among the candidates. At a time when real heroes are in short supply and the ones we may have remain obscure, perhaps what's needed is a truly heroic focus.

When John F. Kennedy promised that the United States would land a man on the moon, some scoffed but the announcement captured the imagination of a generation. Perhaps it was a somewhat frivolous goal and its political expediency was obvious even then but as a national goal it had glamour, it had prestige and it had a heroic quality that was not only unmistakable, but also durable.

While probably no one would support that kind of naive extravaganza today, the need for a heroic goal for the nation couldn't be more acute. I have one for us.

Let's cure AIDS. It's within reach, is it not?

The U.S. would reap boundless worldwide prestige. The technological offshoots from the research might cure cancer or Alzheimer's. The savings in terms of human potential and health care costs would be incalculable.

John G. Shack


Olesker Unfair

Regarding your July 7 Michael Olesker column, "Casual gun use makes us all potential victims," Mr. Olesker makes the following statement, "They (the gun lobby) will tell us not to blame the guns, only the shooters, as if there could be one without the other." Then he continues, "It is all such trash talking."

However, it is my contention that the "trash" more aptly refers to Mr. Olesker's total lack of logic and objectivity.

Where is his wrath against the beer and liquor lobby? To continue his line of reasoning, the misuse of alcoholic beverages would be the alcohol lobby's fault since there could be no misuse without alcohol production.

Mr. Olesker's total lack of logic could be applied to the misuse of any product, not just firearms. Private ownership of firearms is both a right and a responsibility. The number of firearms is not and never will be the problem.

The breakdown of values and respect for the law is the logical reason for today's problems. There are, however, two things that I do not expect to read in your newspaper; fairness with respect to firearms and logic in Michael Olesker's column.

Jon Gartner


Horton Praised

Like a breath of fresh air, Tom Horton's "On the Bay" column reminds us of the marvels and mysteries of nature, at the same time alerting us to the transgressions that we are foisting upon our eco-systems.

Particularly significant was his July 1 column in which he describes graphically the Susquehanna sojourn beginning at the headwaters of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and ending more than 200 miles before joining the main branch.

In fact, the concern and sensitivity reflected in this article is reminiscent of the wonderful series on the Amazon that he wrote several years ago.

The Sun is to be commended for having Tom Horton return to its pages.

Abner Kaplan


Boys and Animals

At a recent meeting of the Council for Foreign Affairs, then Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett III stated his opposition to having homosexuals serve in the Navy. As I understood him, his opposition was based on the need to protect innocent young men incapable of mature judgment from situations which they might not fully understand or to deal with.

Clearly he was implying that our sons need to be protected from the possible aggressive actions of some homosexual. In my several years of active service with both the U.S. Navy and Army, no man serving with or for me ever complained about the unwelcome attentions of another man.

However, I often had to put up with or deal with unacceptable heterosexual behavior by troops toward women. No man ever complained to me about having to run a gauntlet where other men grabbed his buttocks or attempted to tear off his clothes.

Considering the Tailhook revelations, perhaps Mr. Garrett could have remained as Navy secretary had he paid more attention to the protection of our daughters in the service.

"Boys will be boys" has been the service attitude. The attempted cover-up suggests that perhaps "animals will be animals" would be a more accurate description.

R. Rex Rehfeld


Bring Back the Gwynn Oak Choo-Choo

Having read your June 27 article, "The Train Yard," regarding the great interest of many Baltimoreans in trains, I feel it would be interesting for your readers to share with the writer a trip down Baltimore's memory lane.

Some years ago, the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in its heyday had a diesel-powered six-car "Choo-Choo" that encircled the park.

The train is a streamlined replica of the historical B&O No. 51 and is a complete miniature railroad with a real steam locomotive, bell and whistle and runs on real tracks.

It was built in 1949 and commissioned in 1952. It has a top running speed of 15 mph and seats up to 40 passengers.

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