How to reduce crime and fear of itWhen I read Wiley A...

the Forum

October 02, 1992

How to reduce crime and fear of it

When I read Wiley A. Hall's Sept. 22 column, "Eye-for-an-eye mentality won't solve the problem," I, too, felt anger and frustration. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

Attacking Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is unfair and a waste of time. He is not the problem, the violent criminals are.

If a state has the death penalty, convicted murderers should be executed and should not be permitted to die peacefully of old age in their cells.

The "public's lust for vengeance" is nothing but a time-worn ridiculous cliche cherished by some bleeding-heart journalists. Most people do not know the prisoners on death row and are more concerned with the millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money that would be saved if these convicts were speedily executed.

Where is the evidence that the death penalty does not deter crime? It certainly deters those who have been executed from committing more crimes.

Finally, we need to come up with specific ideas on how to combat this tidal wave of brazen and violent crime.

We all know that our prisons are overcrowded and do not rehabilitate anyone. Convicted drug dealers should be sent to Marine Corps-style boot camps where they would be taught respect for themselves and others, common sense and responsibility.

Those who are illiterate would get a basic education. After having mastered these skills, these men would be trained as police officers.

The graduates would be hired by the city of Baltimore to patrol the public housing projects. Maybe then the residents of these high rises would finally stop seeing the police as their enemy while complaining loudly about the lack of police protection.

eide U. Schulz


Get tough on crime

Perhaps, columnist Wiley Hall would be singing a different tune if he or one of his relatives were the victims of a crime.

The comments about the use of the death penalty by both Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt Schmoke (Sept. 22) reflect our country's problem with a system that just doesn't work.

We've already seen enough blood spilled on the streets of our community by criminals who have no concern or respect for people. Too often our prison system has turned out to be a "school" where convicts only learn more ways to prey upon the innocent after they are released.

We need to finally say "enough" to these criminals: If you kill someone in the act of a crime, you must pay with your life.

While we should fight the root of the problem -- be it unemployment, welfare reform or education -- we cannot ignore the violence that puts innocent men, women and children of all walks of life at risk.

Maybe Mr. Hall could explain his position to the families of Ira Weiner and Pamela Basu.

James P. Manning Jr.


Good Samaritan

Recently I faced one of the new urban nightmares. I returned to my car, which was parked at a meter on 25th Street, to find not a ticket but a flat tire.

I walked to a nearby service station only to be told that they did not change tires on the street. However, they offered to call a tow truck for me and help me out in about an hour.

I decided to change it myself, an exercise that I had not practiced in about 20 years. As I was struggling with an unfamiliar jack, a black man approached and asked if I needed help.

Instead of the relief that would have flooded my soul a few years ago, I was almost overcome by terror. However, as he changed the tire, we talked.

He had been laid off about three months ago but was not discouraged; things had to get better. I thanked him and gave him the money I would have paid for towing.

What I really thank him for is restoring my faith in the old liberal creed: "We're all in this together."

Lee Egerton

Owings Mills

Third wave

I am grateful for the Public Broadcasting System and its great programs, but never more so than for one about a year ago that explained very well the unusual changes we are seeing, particularly in the economy.

We are beginning the third great wave of civilization, according to PBS. Having gone through the agricultural wave and the industrial wave, we are now entering the high-tech wave, which includes space exploration.

Smokestacks are coming down. Silicon Valleys are springing up. This is progress and no one can stop it.

When industry began to draw people away from the farms to the cities many years ago, there were those who actually wanted to outlaw the new inventions. We will never go back to the level of heavy industry we once had.

Much job-training will be needed, of course. But the transition from industry to high tech is affecting the entire Western world. No one is to blame for these changes. They are simply the wave of the future.

Martha Smith


City's auto insurance plan

More than a year ago, the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to urge Mayor Kurt Schmoke to fund a $150,000 research and development study necessary to borrow the start-up costs and create a publicly owned, non-profit auto insurance co-operative.

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