Assaulted in your own carPicture yourself sitting at a...

the Forum

August 19, 1993

Assaulted in your own car

Picture yourself sitting at a traffic light when you are verbally abused, spit on, dirty water thrown in your face and barely missed being kicked in the head. That's what happened to me.

What caused this assault? I turned down an attempt by a "squeegee kid" to clean my front windshield at President and Pratt Streets. What has always been at the very least a nuisance has now become a very dangerous situation.

So far, I have gotten numerous excuses from the Baltimore City Police Department, which has told me that calls about "squeegee kids" are a low priority.

Am I to assume that the safety and welfare of law-abiding citizens is a low priority?

Do we not have the right to stop for a traffic light without being intimidated, harassed and assaulted by kids who are breaking the law by even soliciting to wash the window?

It is time for the City of Baltimore to reclaim the streets from kids who have crossed the line and become criminals.

Karen Hofmann


Retro tax

How impressed I am with the patriotic zeal of the congressional majority!

Resorting to so radical a measure as retroactive taxation demonstrates the depth of their commitment to deficit reduction.

I am confident that their next action will be to rescind their controversial pay raise -- retroactively, of course.

B. C. Kenny


Never too late for education in Maryland

It's that time of the year when so many children will be returning to school, and my thoughts will go back in time to Jan. 6, 1987.

This was the date I received a letter from the External High School Diploma Program stating there would be an evaluation session to see if I qualified to enter the program.

What made me, at the age of 40, want to earn a high school diploma? My oldest son was in this first year of college, and he wanted to quit.

I tried to talk with him and his response was, "Dad, you quit school after the ninth grade and now you are going to talk to me about staying in school." He was right, I went to work at the age of 16 like so many poor kids from the city did back in the early 60s.

I had tried night school, and again became a quitter. So the years went on and I felt that as I had a good job as a supervisor there would be no need to have a so-called sheepskin, until my son was to be a quitter.

At that time, I enrolled in the Maryland External High School Diploma Program, and after three months of hard work getting help from my family and friends, I earned a high school diploma.

I never took the GED test, as I have always heard the test took hours and was very hard to pass. The external program takes from six to eight months.

You cannot fail; you always have the opportunity to learn and try again.

You can call the Maryland Department of Education and take the test to see if you qualify.

David W. Brecht Sr.


Barbaric custom

Is it arrogance, stupidity or indifference that motivates a First World correspondent (A. M. Rosenthal, Other Voices, July 28) to complain at length that no one in the name of feminism or any other cause has raised any outcry over the Third World practice of infibulation (mutilating pubescent girls' genitals, presumably to decrease eroticism, early pregnancy or simply for custom), yet he overlooks a First World practice of routine, widespread mutilation of male genitals called circumcision?

Where is the outcry against this barbaric practice, now so prevalent as to be culturally acceptable, yet with no more rationale (in 99.9 percent of cases) medically or otherwise than infibulation?

There are some pseudo-scientific studies claiming to show higher rates of some cancers associated with females who have intercourse with uncircumcised males, but these are not generally replicable world-wide.

Neither is cancer of the penis (infinitesimal numbers) or phimosis (easily correctable in most cases without surgery) any excuse for this brutal custom.

On the other hand, have you seen the figures for deaths attributable to circumcision? They are not large by modern standards (compared to death by automobile or by firearms), yet each represents a precious child who could have been spared.

As for religious custom, I can only say: I would not follow a god who required his people to mutilate their children, male or female.

Russ Seese


Play it again

For someone claiming to love "Casablanca," Stephen Hunter manages to get a lot of facts wrong in one paragraph. (Accent, July 30).

The young refugee whom Rick helps escape from Renault's clutches is not French but Bulgarian. ("It is terrible there, Mr. Rick. The devil has the people by the throat"). She's accompanied by her husband, not her lover; and Rick helps him, not her, win at roulette (he was already at the table, trying to win enough to meet Renault's price for a cash transaction).

Rick tells him to bet on a particular number, not on red; and has him let it ride before ordering him out. I admit I don't remember the number, but hey, I'm no expert.

And is "smarmy" a fair description of Louis Renault? Whatever he is, he's no hypocrite, as the word implies. I'm not crazy about the increasing use of Briticisms in any case, but if you're going to use one, get it right.

Vincent Daly


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