On 'Secrets': Suppression Or Ignorance?Your response and...


January 31, 1993

On 'Secrets': Suppression Or Ignorance?

Your response and that of your correspondents (Jan. 10) to Harford County Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson simply confirmed what I feared when I was part of the first group of complainants against the commercially produced AIDS-ed drama, "Secrets."

With an apparently strong commitment to secular pragmatism at your reportorial or editorial levels, it is virtually impossible to communicate with you concerning this issue.

Therefore, readers who did not hear first-hand the testimony against "Secrets" mistakenly conclude from your pieces that we who object must be either against free speech, or closet Victorians, or believe that we were hatched by our parents.

It's obvious now that genuine communication among important segments of Harford County concerning fundamental values and perspectives has nearly ceased. Instead of open public discussion so necessary for a democratic society, we see the walls going up and fragmentation setting in -- helped along by, of all things, the local press!

You had better read Mr. Wilson's letter again in light of his explanation. It is not "blackmail" to point out a principle of simple cause-effect: Consensus once lost is extremely difficult to rebuild.

Look what is happening in the Balkans and Somalia where folks decided to end discussion and ignore each other's interests.

Charles A. Clough

Bel Air


What is AIDS? What is HIV? Is there a difference? How many AIDS cases are there in Maryland? What is the rate at which the virus is spreading? How many people are dying each year from the AIDS virus?

These are answers that everyone, especially younger people in the community, should know.

Again and again the "Secrets" play has sparked controversy. On Nov. 15, "Parents pan play on sex education" and again on Dec. 20, "County Council president demands end to performances of sex-education play," those articles focused on the production by Kaiser-Permanente.

AIDS is a controversial topic. Why? It's a virus that is quickly spreading to all races and all sexes and it is killing a nation. There is no cure and the only way to be absolutely safe is to practice abstinence and to never use drugs.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple and some people don't know that they're infected. Mostly ignorance is hindering us from controlling the AIDS virus.

What's the answer? Education.

"Secrets" is a "sex-education" play, which is 100 percent better than the 25-minute lecture students got in ninth-grade health class.

Some parents today believe that if they don't discuss it with their children, it's not going to happen.

Whether parents condone it or not, homosexuality, sex and drugs are in fact a part of some teen-agers' lives. Wouldn't it be more effective to have your children learn from someone else's mistakes instead of their own?

"Secrets" is at least making an effort to educate teen-agers about the AIDS virus.

If you are opposed to AIDS education no matter how "inappropriate" or "gruesome" it may seem to you, you might as well tie a blindfold around your child the next time he/she leaves the house.

There isn't a cure for AIDS, but there is a cure for ignorance. It's better to know too much than to not know anything at all.

Darlene Papier


Preserving Precious Places

The Harford Land Trust appreciates your enthusiastic editorial ("Rising Hopes for Falling Branch," Jan. 6) about the North Harford Falls Campaign. Donations are coming from the entire state, not just Harford County; predominantly from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick counties, and even Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia.

By Jan. 15, HLT had banked $8,336 from more than 110 donors; checks from individuals have ranged from $5 to $500. The biggest has been $2,000 from the Bel Air Rotary Club. We need to get $17,500 by March 10, and so we have made two-fifths of our goal of $20,000, but there is much to accomplish. . . . Students of Edgewood, C. Milton Wright and North Harford high schools are well on their way to meeting their commitments. We also are working with Joppatowne High School's Nature Club and Havre de Grace High School's Ecology Club, but we have not heard yet from the other local high schools. If other schools, public or private, wish to be involved in this great cause, we would be glad to have them. They could call (410) 836-2103.

Others may donate directly to Harford Land Trust, Inc., P.O. Box 385, Churchville, MD, 21028.

David P. Miller


The writer is director of Harford Land Trust.

State Direction

I, along with the other elected state representatives of northern Harford County, want to thank the many citizens who recently attended the two public forums.

The two forums . . . afforded the citizens the opportunity to comment on the current and future direction of Maryland government. This vital input . . . is a vital part of good government.

Also, I want to encourage the residents of our legislative districts to contact us during and after the 90-day session, at 1-800-491-7122. . . . Del. James E. Harkins


The writer is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 35A.

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