The verdict against Ron PriceI find it difficult to...

the Forum

September 15, 1993

The verdict against Ron Price

I find it difficult to understand the attitude of Ron Price and his lawyer, Timothy Umbreit.

Mr. Price believes he is being persecuted because he told the truth. He testified that because the relationships he had were after school hours, a sexual relationship between a man in his 40s and a girl of 15 is acceptable.

He failed his responsibility on at least two levels: as an adult who should have control of his actions, and as a teacher in a position of power over females students undergoing the vulnerable process of progressing from childhood to adulthood. It is a time when they deserve legal protection from despicable people like Ron Price.

Mr. Umbreit put the blame on the girls. Then, during closing arguments, he said the law is outdated and has not kept pace with society's changing attitudes about sex.

Have we changed so much as to think it is moral or legal for an adult man to have sex with a girl of 15? Does Mr. Umbreit think the legal age should be 14? Or maybe 12?

The jury made the correct decision when it convicted Mr. Price. Despite what Mr. Umbreit thinks, I believe most people do not think the law is outdated.

David C. Hill

Baltimore

Runaway train

It's time to stop the runaway train our society is on.

First we take away discipline from parents and teachers because we allow the youth to run roughshod and arm them with ways to punish and sue the parents and teachers.

Second, we use the term "make love" when "intercourse" or "have sex" should be used.

After all, love is not an act, it is a feeling or emotion. Then we provide condoms free of charge, as if to say it's OK at any age, "but be careful."

And now Mayor Kurt Schmoke is putting his stamp of approval on the use of drugs by proposing free needles to addicts, in essence saying, "It's OK to use drugs, but don't spread AIDS." And the governor is thinking of backing him up.

No amount of meetings or study groups will help until we as a society stand up and say enough is enough, and severely punish the offenders and stop trying to pacify the youth of this country.

The train we are riding is about to round a curve and crash, unless we begin braking.

Phillip E. Cvach

Towson

Gilman and civility

A round of applause for Gilman School and the decision of Headmaster Arch Montgomery to institute a campaign for civility on the campus. Faced with many weightier problems these days, some may think the pursuit of civility almost trivial. Not so. Remember that great oaks from little acorns grow. America's vital signs are now so alarming that we know instinctively that sooner or later we're going to have to go back to the basics:

* Recognizing and paying homage to a divine power in our private lives and in the public forum (94 percent of us consistently tell the pollsters that we know we can't do it alone);

* Restoring the raison d'etre of our academic institutions to the pursuit of truth and knowledge instead of liberal political agendas;

* Treating each other like civilized people once again and putting sex education in our schools' biology classes instead of enshrining it as the core curriculum.

The list could stretch on and on. So much of our American heritage, freedom and human dignity have been sacrificed on the altars of politics and cultural degradation. Mr. Montgomery's strategy for Gilman is to start small, letting true values reassert themselves in the human spirit a step at a time.

He is right. Courtesy, even if it has to be enforced in the beginning, will in time beget respect.

This, guided by that innate moral sense God placed within each of us, will beget admiration and a natural aspiration for the good, the true and the beautiful.

Thus our students will come to an understanding of the meanings of honor and integrity and to covet these supreme prizes for themselves.

J. Rizzo

Baltimore

Right to die

It hasn't been too many years since, instead of concentrating on an increasing crime problem, Attorney General Joseph Curran tried to reverse the practice of Maryland's libraries of charging nominal fees for videotape rentals. Thankfully, that idiotic idea died aborning.

Now this former gubernatorial hopeful once again is squandering what should be his valuable time by trying to fashion another law interfering with individual privacy.

If the statutes are indeed obscure on the subject of assisted suicide, the attorney general could render a real public service by proposing a clarification rather than another restriction.

Maryland already has right to die legislation. What is needed now is simple provision allowing terminal patients who face extensive misery and expense to request professional assistance in ending their suffering.

If the attorney general really must take time out from crime-fighting to stick his nose into the personal choices of unfortunate citizens, let him at least try to help them in their last days rather than add an inhumane prohibition to their existing travails.

Jack Bond

Baltimore

Words' worth

Regarding your article "What are words worth? Maybe a house in Easton" (Sept. 7), I am in awe of Ms. Munro's apparent great belief in her personal ability to create and fairly administer an essay contest to finance the sale of her $400,000 house.

She's expecting 4,000 to 4,500 essay entries and says she will read all of them and select the best 25. What great confidence she has in her ability to impartially do that. And then three friends of hers will select the winner from the 25 semifinalists. They must be even more capable, fair-minded and incorruptible.

All of that is certainly very impressive. Almost too good to be true.

David Mason

Baltimore Everyone agrees we should continue research on diseases until a cure is found.

Why isn't anyone talking about back pain, leg pain and neck pain?

Is it because no one has ever died from back pain or have they?

Robert Hoover

Baltimore

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