All Gassed UpTime and again voices are heard that the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 08, 1993

All Gassed Up

Time and again voices are heard that the gasoline tax in the United States is low in comparison with Europe.

European countries are quite small; distances are short, requiring less gasoline for transportation. Due to the lower consumption, Europeans can bear a higher tax.

All in all, Europeans are spending less of their expendable income for gasoline than their U.S. counterparts.

In Europe, a vast net of public transportation (trains, streetcars, buses) is available to even the most remote destination. In Europe, more often than not, a car is a luxury; in the U.S. it is a necessity due to the lack of adequate public transportation.

If the gasoline tax here were raised to the level of Europe, many people simply would not be able to afford to purchase gasoline. And the prices of even the most basic necessities would skyrocket due to the higher cost of transporting the good.

Lony DeLoach

Aberdeen

Chance for Peace

The unprecedented talks between Israelis and Palestinians have inspired hope in those who impatiently wait for peace in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, the United States has compromised its role as mediator by supporting a plan to repatriate only a quarter of the Palestinians exiled by Israel. This plan falls short of the United Nations call for immediate repatriation of all of the deportees.

The United States now endangers both its credibility as an international actor and the future of the peace process by holding Israel to a lower standard of respect for international law.

Expelling the Palestinians by the hundreds will not alleviate the tension in the West Bank and Gaza. While Israel continues to expand its control over the occupied territories, new generations of Palestinians resist. Both parties are losers in the present situation.

Allowing 100 Palestinians to return will leave 300 individuals separated from their homes and families and with an uncertain fate. Total repatriation is necessary to protect their lives and their right to be free from the harsh rule of a foreign occupation.

Total repatriation will discourage future deportations and force the parties to confront the issues underlying the present conflict. Opportunities for peace are rare; they should be eagerly embraced.

Maha E. Shomali

Baltimore

What's in a Zoo?

I'm wondering what response New York mothers will get when they say to their little ones, "If you're real good I'll take you to the International Wildlife Conservation Park this afternoon."

Helen Knipp

Baltimore

Arnick Fallout

Regarding your headline "Aghast over Arnick" (Feb. 19) above a story about how stunned state lawmakers were by the depth of fury over John Arnick, need the lawmakers be reminded that the public's reaction to the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas affair was not an aberration, that it will not be soon forgotten?

Perhaps they need to be reminded that a lot of people in Washington, not the least of whom was George Bush, were stunned when the public let it be known it was fed up with what's been going on there for far too long.

If our bozos in Annapolis don't want to be further stunned they would be wise to put a more attentive ear to the ground, where they'll hear the murmur of disquietude among a large and growing segment of the electorate who sent them there.

Perhaps it's not fair to regard all of our elected elite as members of the Good Old Boys Club. But when the public gets mad, it tends to use a scatter gun.

S. Joseph DeMarco

Baltimore

Reducing Crime

I am writing in response to your Feb. 14 editorial, "Virginia Bites the Bullet." Your editorial asks whether Baltimore can expect relief from crime as a result of Virginia's gun control laws. You then suggest that only "tough federal gun measures" will result in a quick end to the carnage on the streets of Baltimore.

No gun law will reduce crime.

It makes no difference if an anti-gun law is state or federal. Criminals ignore all kinds of laws without taking the time to distinguish on what level they were enacted.

Further, there are currently about 20,000 gun laws in this country which were passed with the stated intent of reducing crime. In spite of these, criminal behavior has increased steadily. The logical conclusion is that laws don't prevent crime.

I believe you should write another editorial, advocating tougher sentences, less plea bargaining and fewer breaks for criminals. And for Maryland, bring back the death penalty.

Michael Reid

Bel Air

Who's in Charge?

I'm confused. A recent newscast showed President Clinton talking to construction workers at a coffee klatch on a neighbor's front porch.

Another photo opportunity on the same telecast showed Mrs. Clinton on Capitol Hill at the head of a large table preparing to chair a meeting with high-ranking congressional and administration people. Will the real president of the United States please stand and be recognized?

Rudolph V. Gerace

Baltimore

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