Double TalkI find the remarks attributed to Michael Pretl...


September 06, 1992

Double Talk

I find the remarks attributed to Michael Pretl particularly irrelevant in the The Sun article (Aug. 24) on the entry of Beretta Firearms into the clothing market. The Sun should not have printed his comments, especially without rebuttal.

Mr. Pretl's group, Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse (MAHA), had no business commenting on clothing being sold by Beretta. Mr. Pretl said that while his group finds it distasteful for people to pay more money for clothing associated with weapons, he does not oppose Beretta's new line of clothing.

He said that Beretta guns cost more than the "Saturday night specials" that worry police, and that Beretta is not one of the companies MAHA is particularly concerned about.

If this is true, then why did MAHA's representative on the Handgun Roster Board vote against inclusion of the Beretta model 20? Their man's vote helped ban the Beretta model 20 from sale in the state.

The Beretta model 20 is now considered a "Saturday night special" thanks to Mr. Pretl's group. And yet he claims that Berettas are not "Saturday night specials." Mr. Pretl cannot have it both ways.

Sanford M. Abrams

Silver Spring

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

GOP Flaws

Many of the inherent flaws in the Republican Party of 1992 have been revealed in recent weeks. The Republican coalition is weakening and has lost touch with certain truths that would give it the authority to govern.

The abortion issue reveals the split between the libertarian and moralist wings of the Republican Party.

The traditional libertarian wing continues to believe that less government is always better government, while the moralists believe that government has both the right and obligation to intrude into the fate of a woman's womb. These positions are not easily reconciled.

The abortion issue also reveals the cynicism of the Republican Party. While President Bush and Vice President Quayle would support members of their own families if they chose to have an abortion, they would deny that choice to all other American women by overturning Roe vs. Wade.

They support the enrichment and empowerment of family members but display no genuine empathy for those they don't know.

The currently favored Republican strategy of blaming Congress for all domestic failure (while paradoxically taking credit for lower inflation and interest rates) prevents the president from sharing in the credit for genuine domestic accomplishments.

Signing the new Clean Air Act and Civil Rights Act should be important feathers in the president's cap, but to hail them would require sharing credit with Congress, which appears completely unacceptable in this political season. It's demagogy to the point of self-destruction.

Most ironically, the Republicans have belatedly discovered that the country is hungry for change, but they believe the only way to change America is for its people to do nothing.

Further, anyone who would point to problems -- homelessness, child abuse, poverty, unemployment, the deficit or any other -- is disloyal, misguided, unpatriotic, dangerous to the public health and safety. It is enough to trust that our leaders know what they are doing; we should all shut up and sit down.

The Republicans, who usually pride themselves on the knowledge of and respect for business and capitalism, have missed an essential truth. The profit is in the percentages.

It is the last few percents of a company's business that determine whether it will make a profit, pay its dividends, invest in new capital.

It is not enough for America to be a large and generally prosperous country. The measure of our success is how we reach out to and lift up the people outside the mainstream, the unemployed, the underfed, the sick or despised.

The percentage of people outside the mainstream should be the focus of our attention, not fodder to be used to demonize the opposition. The Republicans have no vision for improving the lives of those who most need our help, no drive to gain those crucial percentages. They do not deserve a fourth consecutive presidency.

Mark Brickhouse


Extra Dimensions

Your Aug. 9 editorial, "Linowes' Vision," wrongly chastises the legislators. It was the citizens of Maryland who pilloried Mr. Linowes and rightly so. The legislators were doing what they should do -- listening to their constituents.

Mr. Linowes' commission recommended $1,055,000,000 in neand additional taxes, of which we estimate 90 percent were regressive.

These regressive taxes consisted of raising sales taxes by $505 million through a higher rate and broadening of the sales tax on services.

These services included dry cleaning, haircuts, shoe repairs and cable TV, certainly not an exclusive domain of the wealthy. "Linowes' Vision" recommended a 2 percent tax per year on automobiles and boats -- adding $390 million in higher taxes.

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