Clinton is right in offering aid to RussiaAll Americans...

the Forum

April 13, 1993

Clinton is right in offering aid to Russia

All Americans should applaud President Clinton's show of support for Boris Yeltsin. It is imperative that the United States take all action necessary, short of direct intervention, to prevent Russia from regressing into anarchy or despotism.

President Clinton, whose foreign policy savvy was often questioned during the presidential campaign, shall have earned his first vote of confidence concerning foreign policy long before the political turbulence in Russia has been fully played out.

The situation in Russia is critical. Should democracy fail there, the United States will face a renewal of the Cold War and a resurgent nuclear threat.

Economic aid is essential to the resolution of the Russian crisis, since the root of the crisis is economic in nature. The United States must therefore offer as much economic aid as is possible to the democratic government of Russia. Failure to assist this fledgling democracy in its time of need would be contrary to 50 years of American foreign policy.

We cannot fail to assist Mr. Yeltsin and Russian democracy, and at the same time remain loyal to the tenets of peace and liberty.

And should our economic assistance to Russia interfere with deficit reduction and new economic programs on the home front, the sacrifice will be a valid one.

The specter of the Cold War still lurks in the wings of the international stage. President Clinton realizes this. Americans must lend their full support to his efforts to expel the phantom from the theater.

Janine F. Heiner

Reisterstown

Turn in the guns

I am writing in response to "Anti-gun campaign nets few weapons" (April 5) and the article's generally negative, defeatist tone.

While it is true that the number of guns turned in on April 4 is small, particularly compared to the number still on the streets, the success of the campaign should not be measured solely by this.

Raising the issue of disarming the city is of value. Suggesting that there are options other than resorting to guns and furthering that discussion is of value. Letting it be known that there are many who share the grief and outrage caused by the rising spiral of violence and who are resolved to find solutions is vital.

Disarming the city can be a significant part of the solution to the violence that surround us. It may seem an unrealistic and naive hope in the short run. But it is inevitable in the long run if our society is to survive.

Caroline Drechsler

Baltimore

____________

Your article about turning in guns misses the point.

At the next gun "turn-in," The Evening Sun should conduct a survey to determine how many of those who turn in firearms are previously convicted felons, currently await trial, are on bail or admit that they have committed a crime and not been caught.

Criminals do not freely relinquish their weapons.

If the concerned citizens want to do something meaningful to curb the growing violence, they should call or write their elected representatives to (1) demand that convicts serve their full sentences, (2) stop allowing bail releases for individuals with violent histories and (3) stop the plea bargaining that removes charges and subsequently pre-empts the full sentencing for known violations.

B.G. Taube

Ellicott City

Lawyer hegemony

A recent news report related that five southern states have enacted legal reform which levies a state tax of 75 percent on punitive damage awards in tort cases.

This singular idea, an anathema to contingency-fee lawyers, is moral, right and would go a long way in Maryland and every state to correcting the stranglehold the legal profession has on the economy.

We citizens pay these absurdly out-of-proportion awards in the form of higher prices for goods and higher insurance premiums. It's not unlike the state lottery, where you pay for the long-shot chance that someday a decadent, amoral lawyer will win the lottery for you in a court room.

Let's get a bill before our legislature to see if the "good old boy" legal network in this state can be factionalized for the citizens' sake.

In the same breath, to breach lawyer hegemony, we should include a proposal that forces plaintiffs to pay the court costs of both sides if they should lose a case. This is a world-wide practice conveniently discarded in this country, reputedly for the sake of the less well-off. But even their income can be dunned at a reasonable rate as an incentive to stay out of court.

Richard L. Frank

Cockeysville

Words and deeds

The many who have discussed Maryland's state motto, "Fatti maschii, parole feminine," seem to have missed an essential point while agonizing over its real or imagined sexist overtones.

In many languages, including our own until recently, masculine and feminine gender references were used to denote that two things or people were complementary.

By complementary, I mean literally that the two are essential to the completion of a whole -- as in chalk and eraser, salt and pepper, hammer and nail, pen and paper, mother and father.

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