Controlling crime requires a new attitudeI agree with your...

the Forum

July 22, 1993

Controlling crime requires a new attitude

I agree with your praise of Mayor Kurt Schmoke for his efforts to gain military bases for use as prisons. After 20-plus years of experimenting with rehabilitating criminals, it is clear that there is no evidence that rehabilitation works.

There is some evidence that imprisoning the habitual criminal until the age of 35 does affect the crime rate. More prisons are called for to reduce crime.

However, your suggestion that crime is caused by TV violence and drugs is incorrect; these are only symptoms.

The recent surge in crime can be traced directly to you, me and the others of our generation -- a generation that brought with it a cultural revolution the likes of which not even China has seen.

It is time for us to admit our failures, as loudly as we declare our successes.

Crime and violence in the streets are just two of those failures spurred on by our philosophy that no one is responsible for his own actions.

Daily, your paper is marred with articles of some questionable litigation based on someone's claim that another shares part or all of the blame for his dilemma.

Crime is a characteristic of society, and has existed as long as society, but the attitudes of the children of the '60s have exacerbated wrongdoing.

This philosophy was generated from two misguided beliefs. The first is a Marxist teaching that economic systems create social structure. The second is the Freudian idea that our parents are responsible for our faults.

The combination of these two ideas, readily accepted by the baby boomers, has left us with a generation of people who feel they can behave in any manner they choose without consequences . . .

The key to controlling crime is to make individuals responsible for their own actions, regardless of social status or economic situation.

Fortunately, there is a recent successful example of just how we can reduce crime by changing social attitudes. A handful of small groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving, have seriously reduced drunk driving by changing social views of that behavior. I suggest that their efforts be a model for us to correct our wrongs.

To control crime, we should first begin teaching, on all levels, (TV, radio, and every school) that crime is evil on its own merits.

Just as we no longer view the drunk as a silly man with a red nose leaning on a lamp post, we can no longer view every criminal as Robin Hood.

Second, we need to enact a "Good Samaritan Law" eliminating liability on citizens victimized by crime, in the act of preventing a crime, or assisting the police.

Third, we should put pressure on judges at every level to change their attitudes when dealing with criminals.

Fourth, society must pressure lawmakers to write new laws that lessen the restriction on police and courts when dealing with criminals.

Lawmakers also need to face up to the lack of prison space. I also believe that society must reinstitutionalize the mentally ill. (Turning the mentally ill loose on the streets of our cities may be the greatest offense of our times.)

These endeavors that have been working effectively against drunk driving, if aimed at changing society's views of crime and violence, can reduce crime.

Regarding crime as social or economic in nature, or as some type of group rebellion, has not led us to any solutions but has relieved the criminal of any social responsibility.



Unfair process

I have been treated unfairly by the Baltimore Orioles organization and feel the need to make my views known.

I have been a mini-plan holder since 1984. I was a 13-game plan holder and have been a 29-game plan holder for the past four years. Unfortunately, since the new stadium was opened I have had problems.

Last year, my seats were moved far away from where I sat at Memorial Stadium. Others who sat around me at Memorial Stadium were not moved.

I complained to management on several occasions before my seats were moved to where they should have been. While it was a frustrating scenario, I must say it was finally resolved to my satisfaction.

However, I cannot say the same for this year.

Full season ticket holders were allowed seats for the All-Star game. However, the mini-plan holders were treated lower than dirt.

It is wrong to give all members of Congress two tickets when all of the season ticket holders have not had an opportunity to purchase tickets.

While I feel tickets should be set aside for the public, it should be done after all the season ticket holders have been given a opportunity to purchase them.

As for the so-called lottery, it leaves much to be desired. Full season ticket holders were allotted tickets. Next should have come 29-game plan holders and then 13-game plan holders. At the least, 29-game plan holders should have received twice as many chances, since they have more than twice as many games.

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