Cross burning decision twists rule of reasonOur courts...

the Forum

September 08, 1993

Cross burning decision twists rule of reason

Our courts have come up with some incredible decisions in the last two decades, but the most recent one invalidating cross burning on private property as a criminal act comes out as the height of absurdity.

Private property is private property, freedom of speech notwithstanding. The framers of our federal and state constitutions certainly never envisioned the tortured interpretations now being applied to their work.

To suggest that there is an alternative remedy by charging arson could allow some criminal lawyers to have a field day in court.

If the cross belonged to the owner of the private property and was set afire by others could that accurately be called arson? On the other hand, since the owner does not own the cross, how can he claim arson?

That we have tremendous leeway in the exercise of our constitutional right of freedom of speech (expression) is wonderful. Just as one may not cry "Fire!" in a crowded theater, free speech also has other boundaries or limits. The rights of the expresser end where the rights of the victim begin.

Hopefully, the Maryland attorney general will take this case to the Supreme Court for final resolution. Perhaps reason and logic will ultimately prevail.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Good Samaritans

Recently, while traveling on Smith Avenue, I realized I had a flat tire and pulled to the curb. The street was deserted, but several cars passed and one stopped and took me to a phone to call the American Automobile Association.

I explained that I was on my way to teach a class and asked that they come as soon as possible. I was told they would come within 20 minutes.

I then got a ride back to my car and stood there by the road alone.

At least 14 drivers must have stopped to ask if they could help. One even promised to call the senior center were I teach to tell them of my plight. He even undertook to look up the telephone number.

Two women in another car stopped and then returned with a bottle of water they had bought from a store. It was very hot and by then I had been waiting nearly an hour.

People in Baltimore care for one another in times of trouble. I want to thank all those who stopped to help.

Gigi McKendric

Baltimore

Golf and tourism in Baltimore

I read with interest of the proposal of Baltimore County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina to study the possible use of the Eastern Sanitary Landfill as an additional public golf course for Baltimore County. By all standards, even the addition of another 18 holes would still leave the county system very deficient.

It may surprise some to learn that better than 80 percent of the golfers using Mount Pleasant are county residents, and nearly 95 percent of those who use Pine Ridge are county residents.

Both courses were built by Baltimore City on Baltimore City property and are now managed by the Golf Corporation, which has done an excellent job to date.

There is no question that the primary cost of construction of a golf course is in its land acquisition.

The golf corporation has attempted for some time to create a second 18 holes at Pine Ridge on city-owned land. The need justifies the expansion at Pine Ridge. Your recent editorial supports that conclusion.

More importantly, Baltimore County and Baltimore City enjoy financial returns from various meetings and conventions held in the metropolitan area.

Unfortunately, neither the city nor the county can accommodate the convention members who would like to play golf during such meetings.

If a second course were built at Pine Ridge, I suggest that it be open to the public yet have appropriate provisions to reserve times for meetings and conventions that would enable the metropolitan area to better advertise what it has to offer.

We all know that the Sheraton in Towson took a financial tumble and that if its occupancy had been tied in to golf at nearby Pine Ridge it might have been a greater success.

Frank X. Gallagher

Baltimore

The writer is a former president of the Baltimore City Council.

Happy birthday, Henry

Sept. 12 will mark the 113th anniversary of the birth of Henry Louis Mencken, "the Sage of Baltimore."

Wit, iconoclast, debunker, curmudgeon -- call him what you will -- he had "a way with words." He railed against everything from the Ku Klux Klan to the Prohibitionists and, in doing so, made his readers think.

His objective was to stir "the mob" into action and to unmask "the Pretenders." Perhaps his quintessential quote is found in "Prejudices, Second Series" published in 1920:

"It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. The more a man dreams, the less he believes".

Happy birthday, Henry, wherever you may be!

. Bernard Hihn

Baltimore

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