Jewish Voters and GlendeningWho says Jews will only vote...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 24, 1993

Jewish Voters and Glendening

Who says Jews will only vote for other Jews?

To imply in your Aug. 15 Perspective article, "Maryland Voters Are More Critical, Less Predictable," that Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg will take the Maryland Jewish vote in the next gubernatorial election merely because he's Jewish sorely underestimates this state's Jewish community.

Mr. Steinberg has a lot of explaining to do to Jews and gentiles alike about what he has been doing for the past four years (other than running for office).

Many Jewish leaders in Baltimore and Baltimore County are backing Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening. His county has prospered under his leadership. We share his concern for education, public safety and economic development.

I like to think that the common attribute of the Jewish voter is not unquestioning loyalty to ethnic identification, but rather independence of thought.

Henry R. Abrams

Towson

The Jews I know think for themselves.

We are not lemmings who will blindly follow anyone with a Jewish name.

We vote for education, environment and, just as any other voter, for good government.

Ironically, the gubernatorial candidate who has established a sister-city relationship in Israel, resettled Soviet Jews and established a major Jewish festival in Maryland is a non-Jew. He is Parris Glendening, the Prince George's county executive.

Mr. Glendening, like many Jews, feels that it is more important to celebrate our differences -- but not let them divide us.

Robin A. Swerdloff

Bethesda

Gun as Protector

One point raised in Miriam Topel's letter of Aug. 18, "Gun as enemy," brings to mind some other factors working in the criminal's favor. Today's crook enjoys more than the element of surprise.

While it's debatable just how "stealthy, savvy and cunning" he may be, his good old street smarts tell him that the chances of his doing much time for a crime are roughly the same as his chances of losing at Russian roulette, and much less permanent. Too often, they get lucky. Score another point for the felon.

Since the enactment of the Maryland handgun law, you cannot legally use a firearm to protect yourself in a vehicle or outside your home.

Unless you have connections good enough to obtain a permit, you cannot carry a firearm for self-protection. The felon scores another point.

Each year, Americans use firearms roughly 700,000 times to prevent crimes. No police force in any country can claim such effectiveness. Remember, in this country, legislators make the laws, the police enforce the laws and citizens prevent crime.

Sorry, this country is not Camelot. In the same edition of The Sun was the story of Phyllis Mashie of Scranton, Pa., stabbed by her ex-husband. He used a knife, not a gun. Every victim has but one enemy -- the criminal.

Which would you choose for yourself, and your countrymen, to do: learn your firearm, keep it safe and know when to use it, or, like Phyllis Mashie, dial 911 and die?

Jeff Stevens

Severn

The "Brady bill" is a lie some are trying to make into a law.

This bill, if passed into law, would establish a seven-day national waiting period before you would be allowed to purchase a handgun.

That may not sound too bad, until you stop and think. When governmental assets break down (i.e., police during the Los Angeles riots or after Hurricane Andrew), then you are on your own. And your right of self-defense is an inherent right, even older than states or constitutions.

In the Rodney King verdict aftermath, no one could tally the number of calls made to police by citizens seeking protection. But the only response given by officials was, "Defend yourself! We can't be there! You're on your own!"

Yet when law-abiding citizens raced to purchase a gun for

protection, they found their rights locked up behind a "Brady bill"-type waiting period.

Guess what? The looters and robbers were not denied. The criminals did not fill out forms and wait days. They stole what they wanted, vandalized what they wanted and burned to the ground what was left. "Brady bill" or not, criminals do not obey laws.

In that moment, the "Brady bill" supporters in Los Angeles became new Second Amendment converts who joined Americans who believe that law-abiding citizens should not be

denied the right to buy a gun . . .

Robert L. Totten

Severn

Protection for Gays

The August 17 Sun reported that a Brazilian, Marcelo Tenorio, was granted asylum in the United States because of persecution in his home country.

What makes the story important is the fact that Mr. Tenorio is gay, and the persecution is because of his sexual orientation.

He appealed for asylum on the grounds that he belongs to one of five categories granted protection, namely race, religion, nationality, political opinion and membership in a particular social group.

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