The Sun's article "Officer custom-makes nightsticks," (April 9) on Officer Joe Hlafka was most interesting.
In his years on the Baltimore police force, Officer Hlafka has been under fire and wounded many times. He is the epitome of the words "Police Officer."
Officer Hlafka's nightsticks have gone even farther afield than Canada and France. I know for certain that they have also gone to Portugal, Spain, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
The toys he fashions for children in his shop are delightful and outstanding.
During his years patrolling Charles Street, his pleasant and concerned attitude, no matter what the problem, made hundreds of friends. All of them miss him, and his smile, now that he patrols elsewhere.
What a shame! Last year we went to Germany and met a bowling team consisting of 10 Germans who have never been to America. When we returned to Maryland we corresponded with our newly found friends and extended an invitation to visit Baltimore. We are ashamed that we talked them into coming to this city.
Upon their arrival on a Saturday night, the shooting on 21st Street made CNN World News and upset their families abroad (especially since the Florida killing of the German woman made front pages in Germany).
On the next night, while they were trying to find somewhere to eat, the Inner Harbor was unexpectedly closed down because of the potential for riots.
These guests of the United States were shocked. Even though they had heard a lot of negative comments concerning our major cities, they did not anticipate they would feel so unsafe on their vacation to America.
We had spent a lot of time telling them how great this country is. We now wish we would not have invited them to the United States, especially Baltimore.
When we went on our three-week vacation to Germany and Austria, never once did we feel for our safety, much less our lives. There was no need to lock car doors, and in many cases house are left open all night.
These wonderful people from Baden Baden, Germany were definitely not impressed with this city where you are advised not to walk at night and to keep your pocket books strapped to your waist and to keep alert at all times while you are walking.
While we were in Germany we walked from 7 a.m. until dark exploring the cities, probably walking a total of 25 miles in one day. These people were told that a mile in any direction would pose them major problems. Again, we are very sorry that we invited them to this city.
Linda M. Hess
The recent decision of The Sun to stop accepting advertising for guns and gun shows in the classified sections because The Sun doesn't "want to further gun abuse" is baseless and amounts to censorship.
Gun shows are meeting places for collectors, restorers, and other Second Amendment enthusiasts; they can get advice on restoration techniques, obtain rare parts and stay current on the latest gun news. And, yes, they can trade guns.
I have a great idea to save the country money and reduce the deficit. Just cut Congress in half. We might just as well have 250 people arguing and not agreeing on anything as 500. After that we'll start on the state legislature.
W. Walter Farnandis
Esskay reneges on contract to fund retired workers health insurance because earnings fell. In essence, Esskay is saying that its promises mean nothing. Yesterday is gone and only tomorrow counts.
Unfortunately, Esskay is joining an ever-increasing list of companies with the same lack of morals. While broken promises make good business sense to Esskay, retirees who have the least options are being sacrificed.
I certainly would like to renege on my mortgage debt, car loan, etc., while continuing to enjoy their use. Apparently, this is only possible for the biggies which can afford to litigate forever -- and meet only splintered resistance from those being disenfranchised.
We as individuals do have a power -- we are consumers. Our power should be directed to protect those who spend their lifetime working for a promised future only to have their expectations destroyed. Who do you think is going to pay the bill for retirees' medical costs if they are forced to drop their insurance? You and I as taxpayers.
If a national movement could be mounted against companies reneging on retirees' benefits, I bet they would have second thoughts.
Lee H. Belaga
African-Americans at War with Each Other
The horror that we saw played out this Easter weekend on Baltimore's Greenmount Avenue should give us all pause to stop and consider.
Twelve people were shot. Some have said that it may have been the result of illegal gambling in the location. That may well have been the case. However, it really doesn't make any difference what precipitated the incident -- the point is 12 people were shot.