Roots of Evil
Your editorial plea to rally "Baltimore residents behind the police" ignores the fact that even if criminals get arrested, they do not get punished.
I was the victim of trespass and battery within my own property. The four thugs who attacked me were taken to court.
Three of them were convicted but did not get sent to prison. The fourth played a delaying game and was let off, as the witness did not turn up. Criminals know how to delay cases so that witnesses will fade out.
The basic issue is not crime but the cause of crime.
People are not born criminals but become criminals. Look at the city of Baltimore. It does a roaring business in liquor which is the root of much, if not most, violence and crime.
Then look at the degradation of womanhood on Baltimore Street. Combine liquor with the sex drive and add the desire to own, control and dominate. The result is today's urban jungle.
Unless the roots of evil are dug up, there is no point in rallying the residents behind the police.
Crime and Punishment
According to Peter Jay (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 20) and many of our criminal youth, going to jail is no big deal: "It means a period of structured, restricted, but not unpleasant living."
Perhaps because most of them have TVs, radios, can lift weights in the yard, have the camaraderie of their peers and get to be "real" men.
Why not turn back the clock to what incarceration was two decades ago, when prisoners left their cells only for meals and a short exercise period?
How about no phone calls or visitors until you earn them?
How about less leisure and more work, cleaning up trash in the streets, removing ugly graffiti, working in the fields like honest folk do?
How about a condition of parole being to learn to read and write to increase the chances of finding a job? How about instilling respect for the law in young offenders?
It isn't that the criminals have become so tough that things have gotten out of hand, it's that the prison system has become too soft.
I can't believe that you printed a sensible article that at least tepidly endorsed capital punishment. And also there were headlines that Mayor Kurt Schmoke wants to "put the death penalty to use."
Do I detect faint murmurs of a change in your asinine position against capital punishment? If so, its about time.
Peter J. Woytowitz
Birds of the Amur
Kathy Lally's two articles in The Sunday Sun Sept. 13 were well worth reading.
At first, the length of the Amur River article put me off. But after I read the shorter piece in the Perspective section about her experiences in Tajikistan, I sought out the first section again. Here was a writer who had something to say and said it well.
As a binocular-carrying member of the Maryland Ornithological Society, my attention would have been held securely by her references to the birds of the Amur River.
Just as exciting to contemplate was her expression of the potential for wise versus unwise choices for the future use of what must be a magnificent part of the world.
I don't ever expect to travel the Amur River as Kathy Lally did. I do appreciate her putting it on the map for me with such insightful perspective.
It would seem the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is actively protecting our fresh air and also managing to add to our already heavy load of stress by extending the area of auto emissions tests and making them harder to pass and more expensive.
According to an article in the American Automobile Association's Maryland Motorist, one-third of the cars tested are expected to fail, and the repair costs can go as high as $450.
Ideally, we would all love to breathe unpolluted air, but the cost in time and money and all the hassle of getting cars repaired should be seriously considered. For many it will be a real hardship, and one has to speculate as to just how necessary it is.
The only real benefactors will no doubt be those who sell the testing equipment and the car repair shops. And I dare say the latter already have all the business they need.
Also, all of us have already paid for clean air equipment installed in our automobiles during manufacture.
When I first took my automobile in for testing some years ago, I had an overwhelming feeling of being harassed by governmental regulation. This new regulation only reinforces that thought.
One has to wonder where all of this will lead. Is the EPA part of a government "by the people, for the people, of the people"? I would ask exactly whom are they serving.
Facts on Cable
As your Sept. 19 editorial indicates, the cable TV bill is a bad bill in its present form since it will not aid consumers and may be more costly.
In fact, any bill to re-regulate the cable TV industry may be counter-productive. Consumers are led to believe that the cable TV operators are gouging them. But let's look at the facts.