Purpose of ActionsI would rather not address what should...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 03, 1993

Purpose of Actions

I would rather not address what should be a purely intra-religious controversy in the secular forum of The Sun, but those who engaged in vandalism and trespassing at the Martin Marietta plant give me no alternative.

Civil disobedience actions -- particularly when cloaked in the name of Jesus Christ or Amos or Hosea -- depend for their legitimacy at least in part on accomplishing something.

Gandhi was jailed for making salt, Rosa Parks for integrating a bus, Thoreau for avoiding the war tax. In Central America, landless peasants seize and squat on unused farmland.

The pointless criminality, in contrast, engaged in by the Catonsville Nine and their spiritual heirs does not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick -- or even spread the gospel.

Timothy H. Wright

Baltimore

Economic Lifeline

In a May 9 editorial supporting Baltimore's Central Light Rail Line, The Sun stated the importance of stemming auto pollution. Certainly, the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments mandate changes to our current transportation system. But is light rail the only wave of the future?

The Central Light Rail line has cost Maryland taxpayers $500 million thus far, and the figure will rise substantially with each proposed line extension. This does not include costs to operate the system. Our expectations of the light-rail system aren't inflated -- our financial burden is.

While The Sun contends that we shouldn't be overly concerned that only 25 percent of the projected 33,100 riders are currently using light rail, even at 100 percent ridership, the system is extremely expensive. Now is the time to explore new ways for funding cost-effective public transit lines.

At a recent meeting of northeastern states' transportation and environmental officials, it was agreed that a variety of transportation solutions would have to be used to meet environmental challenges.

In fact, even environmental officials conceded that better traffic management and auto emissions controls seem to provide the best opportunity for solving traffic congestion and clean air problems.

Whether we want to face it or not, the new employment centers in the Baltimore region are in White Marsh, Towson, Owings Mills, Hunt Valley and near BWI Airport -- the so-called "edge cities." Suburban commuting travel to and from suburban locations will challenge our transportation planners.

Our highways are our economic lifeline. Even if commuters are weaned from their cars, almost 100 percent of all freight and goods arrive at their final destination by road. Police, fire and rescue operations all depend on a good highway network to work effectively.

Last year, Marylanders agreed to fund entirely our state's share of the operation of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority, which includes the nation's most expensive subway system and a bus system. If we don't find additional ways to fund transit operations, our highway and other transportation systems will suffer . . . and so will we.

Robert Latham

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of Marylanders for Efficient and Safe Highways.

Doing Nothing

I am ashamed at this country's unwillingness or inability to take effective action against the Serbian conquest-by-atrocity in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Europeans' contemptible hand-wringing is no excuse for our inaction. We are, supposedly, the last great power, but what is the use of power if we're utterly incapable of using it to end such a vicious slaughter?

When the crematoriums to burn the Muslims' bodies are set up in Serbia's Kosovo province next year or the year after, will we continue to do nothing?

Tim Cliffe

Emmitsburg

Most Pious

Your article "Belief in God found to be prevalent in 13 nations" (May 18) must be of great comfort to many readers, especially coupled with the fact that the United States is the most religious. There is a lot of self assurance and satisfaction in this type of fact.

What a paradox that a country that openly fosters abortion and homosexuality, leads the world in murders and production of pornography and allows Dr. Jack Kevorkian to roam its streets is the world leader in the belief of God and life after death.

Ernest Wessel Jr.

Cardiff

Marijuana Issue

As a "grass roots" activist, I wish to commend Jean Marbella for her balanced and comprehensive look at the marijuana-hemp legalization movement ("Grass (Roots) Revival," May 12). Rarely have I found an article on the marijuana-hemp legalization movement that covered all the bases, radical as well as mainstream, in such an unbiased manner.

However, I must point out one fallacy.

Mike Gimbel attributes the 1987 Amtrak crash in Chase to an engineer smoking marijuana. According to the engineer's own sworn testimony, "This accident was not caused by marijuana."

The engineer admitted he was drinking alcohol, eating, watching TV and generally not paying attention to his work. He also admitted responsibility for deliberately jamming the train's safety equipment.

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