Gun Control Not Church's BusinessRecently, the Roman...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 24, 1993

Gun Control Not Church's Business

Recently, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore came out in favor of comprehensive gun control, and stated that it spoke for a large congregation that favored more gun control.

My family are members of that church and we know of no effort to determine our views on the issue. We are one Catholic family strongly opposed to more gun control.

This does not mean that we oppose peace or the control of violence. We support our church and its charitable and community activities. We also support our community with activities aimed at improving the lives of those living here. It is that gun control doesn't work.

Gun control will not control the violence. Municipalities with restrictive gun laws, like Washington, D.C., have more, not less violence. Gun control laws will not impact those who wish to perform criminal acts. However, they will impede honest, law-abiding citizens, because they are the ones who obey laws.

We, the church and citizens, need to stop blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners for the violence caused by criminals. Since gun control will not control violence and improve the lives of our citizens, it is not a moral issue. The archdiocese is out of line in speaking for us on this political issue.

Paul Wenzel

Mary M. Wenzel

Finksburg

Rude Spectators

It is time to tell those few inconsiderate, wild and raucous "sports fans" who attend the Westminster High School girls' soccer matches and spew their loud, absurd verbiage throughout the stands, that this is unacceptable and totally disrespectful behavior. Neither the majority of the "kinder, gentler" fans nor the games' participants and coaching staff should be subjected to this juvenile display of ill manners. And not to be biased, this applies to fans of both male and female gender.

At the game against North Carroll High School, whose own fans by the way were exceptionally well-mannered, it was a distinctly feminine voice that I overheard call for the removal of a Westminster player, because, in this insensitive person's opinion, it was not a World Cup performance. . . . These few fans have deeper-rooted problems than just the intolerance of allowing these wonderful, talented adolescent athletes to enjoy their own triumphs and accept their own defeats.

I congratulate the new coaching staff on the job it is doing and I feel they are very well qualified to know who, when and where to play their personnel while also making each and every player feel equal part of the program. Good luck the rest of the season. Go Owls!

Bill Glazier

Westminster

Plea Bargains

It was with more than a little interest that I recently learned about Del. Richard C. Matthews' possible court reform bill. And I had to smile to myself when I heard of local attorney Wesley Blakeslee's gentlemanly assessment: "Delegate Matthews probably doesn't understand how it works."

Some while ago, Delegate Matthews had suggested legislation to prohibit plea bargaining in all criminal cases.

While this might sound like a neat idea to the uninformed, the actual consequences of such a prohibition would cripple and bankrupt the court system. More importantly, it would foster all-or-nothing situations resulting in many vile felons escaping any punishment whatsoever for their vicious acts.

In the years that I have been working as an assistant state's attorney, I've faced numerous occasions when plea bargaining sent guilty people to the prison cells where they belonged and where the unavailability of this practice would have left justice unserved and these criminals unpunished.

By way of example, there was a child molester who pleaded guilty to some of the crimes he had committed and who was

sentenced to 10 years in the penitentiary. The young child, though truly victimized, was unable to effectively testify. The plea bargain got this criminal convicted and off the street. The child was spared further trauma in the courts.

I don't understand why Delegate Matthews neglects the obvious existing problems in our community and looks for situations and purported problems beyond his understanding that he "might" introduce some legislation about. Will he make us privy to those bills he has prefiled for the General Assembly? Will this anticipated legislation more closely address our needs?

Jerome J. Joyce

Hampstead

The writer has announced plans to run for a 5th District delegate seat next year.

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