Was firing Carter guards too harsh?Dontay Carter should...

the FORUM

January 26, 1993

Was firing Carter guards too harsh?

Dontay Carter should never have escaped from custody. The correctional officers assigned to watch him, for whatever reason, made an egregious error.

Clearly, such a tragedy should never have occurred. Thank God no one was hurt.

Nevertheless, there can be no excuses. Similar events must not be allowed to happen again. The two guards assigned to watch him have now been fired. End of story.

Have we reached a point in our society where we feel individuals can only be motivated to act responsibly out of fear of personal consequences? Will other correctional officers be less diligent in the future if the two guards in question are dealt with by any other means short of permanent termination?

It is my understanding that one of the guards was a former police officer with many years of public service. The other had also apparently been conscientious and dedicated.

In dealing with frightening criminals like Dontay Carter, is the hope not that they should become more like us rather than that we should become, in part, more like them?

Is it totally unthinkable to show compassion and mercy toward the two officers in question? Surely these two men have learned a painful and tragic lesson. They are perhaps now among those who would be the least likely to ever again make such a horrible error in judgment.

Is our only possible response to permanently deprive them and their families of their livelihoods and means of financial support after so many years of dedicated service? In a civilized, just and caring society is there no other way?

Fred Berlin

Baltimore

Smoking ban

As a loyal fan of the Baltimore Orioles and a non-smoker, I was thrilled to learn of the new non-smoking policy adopted by Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The enjoyment of attending several games last year was considerably diminished by the constant fumes of cigarette smoke.

For the non-smoker, cigarette smoke can be torture to breathe and can cause severe headaches. One person smoking causes at least several other people's discomfort.

There are other places that smokers can smoke; they should be more considerate of the rights of other fans.

Congratulations to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for a great decision and a great new policy.

Kathryn Lonnquist

Ellicott City

Enabling a child to fly and soar

In his Jan. 8 Other Voices piece, "What's a scum-sucking pus-bucket parent to do?" Charles Rammelkamp wondered about his responsibility to limit his daughter's exposure to unacceptable language and guide her own use of words.

I would agree that it is a daunting task. Rude language is pervasive in our society. That does not, however, make it acceptable or relieve any adult of the responsibility of good example and standard setting.

I cannot pass judgment on "The Simpsons" television show, as I have never watched the program. I can, however, disagree that it is a harmless cartoon if it seems to have negatively influenced a three-year-old. I would suggest it is inappropriate viewing for her.

Yes, it can be laughable when a child falls down and responds with an adult expletive (that we know she heard from family or friend). It is not laughable when a child is calling anyone a scum-sucking pus-bucket or any other creative rude remark.

In my opinion, accepting name-calling as harmless is wrong. To me, it sends a message that it is okay to degrade someone.

Violence is not just a physical act. Violence is found in the way one speaks and writes. I personally do not mentally wrestle with my responsibility to limit my child's exposure to violence. It is a necessity in parenting. That includes discussing with my child why.

I believe that peace, respect for others and gentility are important values. They cannot be achieved if rude language, violent name-calling and angry vindictiveness are presented as harmless, everyday behavior.

If children are permitted to call others "stupid, jerk, butt head" or whatever other phrase is popular this year, why would we be surprised when they graduated to more creative remarks encompassing racial, ethnic or sexual slurs?

I would also like to make a point regarding censorship.

Many parents fail to limit exposure when it is most needed. The message in any film, show, book or music can be inappropriate, depending on the age or maturity level of the viewer.

It is a parental duty to be aware and involved with the child so as to be able to guide at each age and developmental state. Setting limits is absolutely part of the responsibility.

I am confident that making the tough choices now, while my child is young; taking the time to explain, bearing the "but everybody else . . ." and practicing what I preach will all be worthwhile.

I feel confident I am building a solid foundation from which my child will fly and soar, and it will stand him in good stead when he is faced with his own choices on how to conduct his life.

elanie Winyall

Marriottsville

Prejudice in the Middle East

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