Easy targetsWhere do you find the pea-brained political...

the Forum

January 20, 1993

Easy targets

Where do you find the pea-brained political cartoonists with tunnel vision who grace your editorial pages?

If one were to believe these pictorial wackos, the National Rifle Association and its several million members are the sum cause of all homicides and violence in America. The latest kink is to compare the chaos in Somalia with your cartoonist's warped perception of the NRA agenda.

None has dared to accept the simple truth that in Somalia there is at least swift and certain justice for those who challenge authority with deadly force. In the U.S., any violence which is answered by violence of like kind by the police, etc., is immediately condemned by the media and liberal minority. The criminal is a folk hero.

Were these blubbering sketchers of the buffoonery, whose claim to levity exists only in their bias, to look at reality, they would be forced to guffaw at their own image.

The greater Los Angeles area is a sour lesson in the anti-logic that often dictates the anti-NRA pseudo-solutions. L.A. is in a state where the gun had to go (for legitimate owners), but the gun-toting criminal remained.

They have their two-week waiting period, an assault weapon ban and so on. Yet the City of Angels has a homicide rate (over 2,000 in 1992) that could only be envied by a Somali warlord or Saddam Hussein.

The all-knowing cartoonists would no doubt be much safer in East Africa or Lebanon. But then, they have no NRA or ludicrous gun laws there, so they must continue to grouse about unheeded, unpunished and unjustified human violence rife in America because firearms and the NRA are easy targets.

Ronald L. Dowling


Shot at House panel misses the mark

Frank DeFilippo's shot at the newly formed House Democratic Research Group (HDRG) missed its mark ("Maryland's House is not a home," Jan 7).

The HDRG is a broad-based organization of House Democrats. Our members come from every area of the state and include freshman and veterans, conservatives and liberals.

Unlike the 1967 group of bipartisan House freshmen the writer compared us to, we are not reformers.

We are Democrats, organized to provide our members with information and media assistance on issues before the legislature. House leaders are active members of the HDRG, and we will work with the leadership of the House and the Democratic Caucus to assist our membership.

We call upon Mr. DeFilippo and other writers to hold their fire until they have a chance to see our work. We want you and your readers to get the straight story from Annapolis, and we pledge to do our part in that endeavor.

Gene W. Counihan


The writer is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and chairman of the House Democratic Research Group.

Police radio ad

I agree and disagree with your editorial in the Jan. 12 Evening Sun. I disagree that the Fraternal Order of Police radio commercial which has recently aired will frighten citizens. The public should be aware that violent crime has increased in Baltimore County during a time when the number of police officers has decreased. County citizens are at risk,as are the police officers on duty. This past year witnessed a brutal beating of one officer and others shot at.

I agree that the intention of the ad was to ask county residents to pressure the county executive to spare the police department from further budget cuts. I agree the department and the public are hurting from past cuts; including less detectives, less crime lab technicians, and less crime prevention teams. I'm sorry that you did not like the tone of the commercial, but I thank you for helping us get the message to the people.

Timothy Caslin


The writer is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4.

U.S.-flag ships are safer

The recent grounding of the tanker Braer in Scotland brings a lot of questions and emotions to mind.

First, we are all reminded of the March, 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska -- a terrible tragedy, both in the loss of wildlife and habitat, and the drubbing the master of the vessel took. Unfortunately, this in turn reflects on the whole U.S. Merchant Marine, which is unfair.

Secondly, the tanker Braer is operated by Bergval & Hudner Ship Management of Stamford, Conn., but flies the flag of Liberia.

That means the ship did not have an American crew and did not pay any U.S. taxes, allowing the owners to reap the profits from the 18-year-old vessel by circumventing U.S. standards of inspection and safety.

American seafarers, officers and unlicensed seaman alike, are the highest trained and most frequently examined seafarers in the world. American flagged ships are less likely to be in collisions and groundings due to strict licensing and inspection requirements, unlike flag of convenience nations such as Liberia and Panama.

If the price of safety at sea is eternal vigilance, than it is high time for American ship owners/operators to come back to the U.S. flag.

Allen Baker

Fells Point

NRA for Somalia

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