When libraries must close, less can be moreEvery local...

the Forum

February 18, 1993

When libraries must close, less can be more

Every local government in Maryland needs more money. But instead of permanently closing a few libraries in selected areas in order to save money, why not close every library across the state for two days, say Sundays and Mondays?

The goal should be to keep all libraries open everywhere in Maryland. That way everyone at least would have use of a library in their area.

Rhonda Haigler


NRA can't be blamed for all misuse of guns

As I read Howard H. Green's contribution to The Forum for Jan. 29, I was absolutely amazed that anyone could blatantly accuse any one entity of having sole responsibility for all the problems we face today by the misuse of firearms.

His statement that (he heard?) 100,000 children carry guns to school everyday and that by the end of that day 30 children will be dead is crazy.

Most schools are in session for nine months. Five days times four weeks times nine months equals 180 days times 30 kids equals 5,400 kids dead each year. That is one big pile of kids.

That is also one big pile of bull. I have no such "facts" available to me, but I am sure these numbers are greatly exaggerated. . .

As for calling the National Rifle Association a merchant of death, that is libelous.

From my observations, the NRA is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to our Constitution and an advocate of the use of firearms solely for recreation and self-protection while strongly insisting that the misuse of firearms be severely dealt with.

I number several members of the NRA among my friends. They are law-abiding, gentle, God-fearing people who consider their shooting sports just as seriously as do those who get their jollies just watching extravagantly paid people manipulate some sort of a ball around an arena.

To say that they and their association are merchants of death is unconscionable.

H. Robert Wagner


Athletes' pay

When I read Sean A. Frontz' Feb. 7 article, "Question of Value," it reminded me of a clever slogan: "Spotlighting absurdities in our society is the first step toward eliminating them." The exorbitant amount of money professional athletes command and receive compared to the yearly salaries of our professional teachers, police and fire fighters is outrageous.

We the people must take the lead and restore a proper sense of ethics and priorities for our future generations.

Our professional public servants of society who educate, defend, protect and save the lives of our neediest and most vulnerable citizens in our communities throughout the United States deserve at least the same respect and financial rewards bestowed upon our professional star athletes.

Paula Baziz


Live and let live

Lifting the ban on gays in the military is the right thing to do. They are human beings and should have all the rights and privileges as all other citizens of this country.

They also pay taxes. What it all boils down to is pure unadulterated prejudice by those who have little or no contact or knowledge of the real issue.

As in other areas, there is need for education. They died on the battle field in all wars, helping to make the world safe for you and me. A bullet has no sexual preference.

This is something all of us must embrace. Gays have served with honor. Most people, as military or civilians, have had the broad experience of working alongside gays.

I speak from experience. I served alongside them from 1943 to 1969 and state it was an honor. I slept among them, ate with them, and, yes, bathed or showered in the same environments, with no shame.

Many of us went out together for entertainment with no thoughts of being embarrassed or of conflict.

There were three known gays in my outfit, and when our original 1st sergeant was transferred stateside and our acting 1st sergeant, who was known to be gay, was chosen to lead us, there were no problems, dissent or resentment. That's the way it was.

With all the rules and regulations governing the military services, it shouldn't be a problem to have to exempt gays from serving.

As stated, they pay taxes as we all do. Therefore, they are qualified for full benefits.

Live and let live.

Milton Parran


Irritating appeals

Lately, my husband and I have received several appeals, some written, some phone calls, from solicitors representing local organizations of firefighters, police and sheriffs.

The letter from the sheriffs' group, signed by Baltimore City Sheriff John Anderson, was clearly designed by a very experienced direct mail fund raiser. The letter asks my husband to become an honorary member by sending only $20 (just 6 cents a day).

The letter says funds are needed to help Maryland sheriffs work for "tougher laws for criminals, longer prison sentences, mandatory life sentences and an overall improvement in our criminal justice system."

These may be laudable goals, although I prefer to spend money on direct and indirect efforts to prevent crime and family violence, to provide affordable and available health care, improve education, etc.

Also, given the fact I already pay hefty taxes, I find myself resenting this type of appeal.

In contrast, I willingly donate to worthy charities such as Planned Parenthood and the House of Ruth.

Susan W. Talbott


Baltimore's finest

I read your Feb. 8 article depicting George Jay Gouker's problems with the Baltimore County police and his stolen truck with irony.

At 4 a.m. the same day two Baltimore City police officers knocked on my door to report that while I had been sleeping my car had been stolen, recovered and the thieves arrested.

The officers were even apologetic for awakening us but wanted to offer to drive my husband to the car so he could bring it home and avoid the towing and impounding fees.

Perhaps Mr. Gouker should move to Baltimore City.

Lucy Skeen


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