Out of controlIn 1990, handguns were used to murder 13...

the Forum

September 24, 1992

Out of control

In 1990, handguns were used to murder 13 people in Sweden, 91 in Switzerland, 87 in Japan, 68 in Canada, 22 in Great Britain, 10 in Australia and 10,567 in the United States.

In 1990, 65 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty -- 48 with handguns.

Every six hours, a youth aged 10 to 19 years commits suicide with a gun -- nearly 1,400 in all in 1989.

There is no time to waste. We need each one of our activists to take part in this crucial effort to get the Brady Bill passed without any further delay.

There is no question this country is rapidly becoming morally and economically bankrupt.

Sheila Waters

Baltimore

'Tough laws' won't deter violent crime

Once again Gov. William Donald Schaefer is calling for "tough new laws" to curb rising crime in Maryland.

He is requesting a mandatory prison term for car-jacking and the death penalty if someone is murdered during the commission of this act.

But isn't it already against the law to assault someone, steal their car at gunpoint, kidnap their baby and murder the driver?

When is the last time you remember anyone being executed in Maryland? It certainly was not during this administration, and it probably will not occur during the next two and a half years.

This is the same governor who, after getting his way in enacting his gun laws, assured the citizens that the streets would be safer. They are not. . . .

We are dealing today with a small element of society who . . . have no respect for any kind of laws. One thing is certain: If a person is executed, he will not kill again and it will be a lesson for others of his kind.

As for the Pamela Basu case and others like it, it is my belief that somewhere during the judicial process either one or more

defendants will be offered a "plea bargain" allowing them to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

This is done either because the prosecuting attorney is too stupid or incompetent to obtain a conviction on the evidence or because the prosecutor is looking down the road to when he runs for public office. He can cite his conviction rate as the reason he should be elected.

I am not alone in believing that as long as politicians, judges and lawyers enrich themselves at the expense and misery of others, there will never be a reduction in the crime rate.

Finally, a word of advice. Take a safe gun handling course, legally arm yourself, join the National Rifle Association to help insure that you may keep your gun and vote against any politician who thinks he or she knows that getting rid of legal guns is what is best for you.

F. B. Kabernagel

Baltimore

Buying can help

As a merchant, I must respond to Wiley Hall's column on Nordstrom (Sept. 17), specifically his assertion that "even in a long and depressing recession, there are winners and losers."

For over three years, the amount of sales tax I and thousands of other businesses collect for the state of Maryland has continued to decline. The current state budget crisis is, quite simply, the direct result.

When people stop spending, other people get laid off. Social services get cut, violence and misery spread. It is all cause and effect, and it will not stop until people start spending again.

I visited Nordstrom the other day. It reminded me of Hutzler's, definitely, as Mr. Wiley describes it, very genteel. With nothing glaring and nothing chained to racks, it is positively civilized, as shopping used to be. The only thing that could have made it better is if the store were located in Baltimore City.

Yes, I saw some very expensive clothing. But I see nothing evil in someone's going to Nordstrom and dropping $575 on a pair of Donna Karan trousers, even though most of us don't spend that much in one year on an entire wardrobe.

What is wrong, however, is that wealthy people who can afford such things are, in general, not proportionally taxed as highly as the rest of us.

I left Nordstrom with several small purchases, though I would hardly characterize myself as one of the recession's "winners." Obviously, if my business is collecting less sales tax because I'm selling less, I, too, have a diminished capacity to help other businesses generate sales tax.

Despite that, I have made a concerted effort to continue to support the stores, restaurants and services I always did before the recession. I wish other people would, too. It's the only way we're going to break this awful cycle.

Remember, what you buy today is someone's paycheck tomorrow.

!Donna Beth Joy Shapiro

Baltimore

Bad for business

I cannot understand why America clings to the myth that Republicans are good for business.

We have had Republicans for 12 years, and look at the state of the economy. The truth is, once business is freed from all restraints, it eats itself alive through sheer uncontrolled greed.

The deregulated airlines are in a shambles. Bankruptcies are at a record high. Banks are teetering on the edge. The savings and loan industry has collapsed and the problem handed over to us poor taxpayers.

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