Only A Symbol Of Draft InjusticeHearing and reading about...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 20, 1993

Only A Symbol Of Draft Injustice

Hearing and reading about the verbal attacks on the president over the Memorial Day weekend suggests to me that the president and his Vietnam history are just a symbol.

The real targets are our brothers, fathers, sons or husbands who found it easy to avoid service to their country by doing one of the most ordinary things in life: going to school.

Some students protested the war; most just hunkered down and enjoyed college life, secure in the knowledge that this was what they, the wealthy, the intelligent, were supposed to do, permitted and blessed by Congress. Not for them the foxhole, the rifle, the explosions, the blood, the pain.

Make no mistake, the people booing the president were booing the other face of their own generation -- the privileged; the people who were given a free ride at the expense of the poor, the not-so-smart, the people who felt that patriotism required their participation in their country's war.

The people I saw at Arlington and the Vietnam Memorial that Sunday with crutches, canes, artificial limbs and tears for the fallen know they were used, and that is the bitterest part of it, for the benefit of those who had the power to shield their own by providing protection and escape from the draft and the war.

To my mind, the failure of Congress to impose a truly random call for service and sacrifice in Vietnam ranks as one of the great governmental betrayals of ordinary citizens of our time.

The president just supplies a specific target for those who did sacrifice to express their anger over those who did not.

Gerald B. Johnston

Ellicott City

Paroling Murderers

While not wishing to cast any aspersions on the character of the members of the Parole Commission, I would like to hear a public explanation concerning the reported five convicted murderers found to be involved in a million dollar per month cocaine and heroin ring.

First of all, why are murderers with life sentences being released from prison?

And secondly, why did the parole commission refuse to revoke the parole of one murderer who had just received a suspended sentence on a drug conviction?

NTC Murderers should not be returned to society. If space is a factor, then incarceration should be employed mainly for those found guilty of violent crimes. If we cannot retain murderers behind bars, then I believe execution is the answer if it is carried out as expeditiously as possible. Further injury to members of society might thus be prevented.

Otto C. Beyer

Ellicott City

U.S. Violence

In response to Yumiko Shimatsu, "Trick or Treat" (Op-Ed, June 4), I agree that American laws have set a framework for a violent social order to exist.

I also believe that changes in American attitudes and laws are in order. Otherwise, how can we bring security to many homes and workplaces that is not contingent upon gun ownership?

But not all Americans respond to altercations or the threat of one with violence and not all of America's abundance is rooted in violence.

I'd like to remind Yumiko Shimatsu that she is a beneficiary of the finest higher education system in the world. And that perhaps the next time she points to the bad in America, maybe an acknowledgment of the good too would indeed help U.S.-Japanese relations.

Christie Dunler

Ellicott City

Long Reach Elections

This is to express my appreciation of your coverage of the Long Reach Village election story.

During the period from the April 24 date of the scheduled election to the present, you have weighed the facts and opinions of the situation impartially and have come up with editorial positions which, if heeded, should cause all of us to become more aware of the consequences of an electorate remaining apathetic regarding the prevailing government (or governance) of our village and our town. . . .

I am convinced that your handling of the subject has been a positive contribution toward our community attaining this goal.

Roy T. Lyons

Columbia

The writer was recently elected Long Reach Village representative to the Columbia Council.

More On School Redistricting

On March 23, the Howard County Board of Education voted 3-1 to follow the planning staff's recommendation on high school redistricting. Who should be redistricted was debated by the board for over two hours. At the end, school board Chairman Dana Hanna switched sides and joined board members Susan Cook and Linda Johnson to redistrict the children from the Longfellow community from Centennial to Wilde Lake in September 1994. The Dorsey Search children will be redistricted from Centennial in 1996 . . . to the new high school near Clarksville.

As a father and as a taxpayer, I find myself more and more frustrated by the board's decision to do nothing to address the overcrowding at Centennial and the under-enrollment at Wilde Lake. . . .

My daughter and several of her classmates from the Longfellow community have opted to begin freshman year at Wilde Lake this fall. This is a personal choice based on their preference for that program. Their decision not to attend Centennial will not affect the overcrowded conditions at that school in any meaningful way; neither will bringing in more relocatable classrooms. Why are we spending more money to cram more children into Centennial, when there is excess capacity at Wilde Lake?

Jim Harkness

Columbia

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