Safety MessageThe members of the emergency medical...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 21, 1992

Safety Message

The members of the emergency medical community in Maryland once again ask you to celebrate sensibly and act responsibly as you enjoy this holiday season.

We know from our daily encounters with injured people how quickly tragedy can happen if precautions are ignored. If you drink, please do not threaten the health and safety of yourself or others by driving under the influence. For transportation, call a cab or have a designated driver.

Taking responsible precautions like these will lessen the danger on our highways. More than a third of the injured people brought to the Shock Trauma Center have been drinking. Many others are innocent victims of drunk drivers -- people who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Such injuries are tragic, expensive -- and preventable. Trauma inflicts pain and devastation on its victims and on the victim's family and friends.

You can minimize the risks of injury to yourself and your loved ones if you avoid the potentially lethal combination of drinking and driving. If you take a few reasonable precautions during the holidays -- and all year long -- our chance of seeing you as a patient is very small.

Remember: Act responsibly, don't drink and drive, don't use drugs and wear your seat belt or motorcycle helmet. Let this holiday season be a happy and safe one for everyone.

Richard L. Alcorta, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is acting director of Maryland's state emergency medical services.

Two Progressives

As a former student of modern American history, I cannot let Phyllis A. Waidner's Nov. 22 letter go unanswered.

In comparing Bill Clinton and Woodrow Wilson, Ms. Waidner is correct in saying that both men were born in the South and that there were some similarities in the elections of 1912 and 1992, as well as in the results.

It is quite a stretch, however, to compare Mr. Clinton's academic background with Mr. Wilson's credentials as one of the major historians and political scientists of his time, a standing which presaged his leadership of Princeton University and eventual entry into politics as governor of New Jersey.

My primary point of contention with Ms. Waidner is her characterization of Mr. Wilson's presidency as representing "failed leadership and unrealized hopes." To the contrary, Woodrow Wilson's record of achievement ranks him among our most successful presidents.

While the Progressive movement is popularly associated with Teddy Roosevelt's Republican Party, it was, in fact, President Wilson who skillfully guided the bulk of the Progressive agenda through a conservative, often hostile, Congress.

Reforms included child labor, anti-trust, workers' compensation and tariff laws, as well as sweeping tax reform, creation of the Federal Reserve system and amending the Constitution to grant women the right to vote.

While these legislative achievements alone would have guaranteed him an enviable place in our history, it can perhaps be argued that they were inevitable in some form or another in that they accurately reflected the mood of the country at the time.

Ms. Waidner's comparison of the two men being extremely premature, we will have to withhold for eight years an answer to her question, "Will the analogy continue?"

But with our country's future so troubled as we begin the Clinton presidency, it would be nice to wistfully hope for yet another Woodrow Wilson.

Gary Barlow

Baltimore

Real World

During the 1930s I was a Baltimore County elementary school student.

Some time during that period the school board decided to change the marking system from A-B-C-D-E to H-S-U (Honor, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory), much to the consternation of my parents, who would no longer know whether I was putting forth "my best effort," and much to my delight, for the same reason, since they assumed I could be no less than an "A" student.

The reasoning behind the change was theoretically as it is now -- "don't inhibit any child."

With high school days behind me, I began my working career. In all of my years of working, never did I hear an employer say to an employee, "Unfortunately, you're not meeting all of our requirements but we will keep you on our payroll because you are doing your very best."

Stuart Berger, the new superintendent of Baltimore County schools, seems to revert to the theory of the '30s. Unfortunately, when one is in the real world one does the job, not within one's capabilities, but as it is spelled out in the job specs.

In the real world one is paid for job performance, not because one is a good guy who gives it his best shot but does not achieve.

Elizabeth Myers

Baltimore

Beach Program

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has taken a beating in your columns over the years as he funded programs to build dune lines and expand the beaches at Ocean City.

As our neighboring states, including Delaware and New Jersey, contemplate the terrible damage to their shores by the recent nor'easter storm, I have yet to read a word of thanks or acknowledgment to the governor for his foresight.

Harry R. Shriver

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