Fast talkersThis letter is aimed at the driver I...

the Forum

October 28, 1993

Fast talkers

This letter is aimed at the driver I encountered recently on the fast lane of I-695 going 60-65 miles per hour, one hand holding the mobile phone receiver pressed to the ear, while the other hand tried to scribble a message on the steering wheel column.

He were not paying attention to where he were going. He were floating in and out of his lane in rush-hour traffic.

I tried repeatedly to blow my horn to get his attention. Finally, I passed his car so that I would not become the victim of an accident that he probably would not have even been aware as having caused.

He and other inconsiderate mobile phone users are road hazards on wheels.

Sandra L. Burrier

Baltimore

Parents must be responsible for TV habits

As the father of two young children, I find the recent flap concerning MTV's airing of the cartoon "Beavis and Butt-head" very disturbing, not because of the content of the program but because of the lack of any dialogue concerning parental responsibility.

Apparently, a 5-year-old, after viewing MTV's cartoon, set fire to his family's home. The fire claimed the life of his 2-year-old sister.

A tragedy, no doubt. But where were the parents? Are they present when the child watches television? How did the child manage to get hold of a lighter? The local police chief, among others, denounced the cartoon. Even the old Looney Tunes cartoons depicted an unusual amount of violence.

Do they seriously believe that MTV is accountable for unsupervised children playing with lighters?

There seems to be a trend in looking elsewhere for blame. This past spring, a local youth was shot and killed by a police officer in the wee hours of the morning while allegedly stealing a car with several other youths. Do the parents bear no responsibility for their 13- and 14-year-olds running the streets at 3 a.m.?

And most recently, in Montgomery County, police arrested dozens of youths at a party, for under-aged drinking. Apparently, some parents obtained buses so their kids could get home safely.

But again, there was no supervision, and I must wonder whether the parents really thought that all the kids would board the bus at the same time or if some might arrive and depart in their own vehicles.

I also wonder if those thoughtful parents purchased the alcohol, too.

I think it's time we all took more responsibility for our children, instead of blaming television cartoons.

C. Gregory Koch

Baltimore

Gunboat diplomacy

While there is truth to the assertion that we must get our own house in order with regard to domestic needs and problems, this does not have to translate to turning our collective backs on starving people in Somalia and the political refugees from Haiti.

Without analyzing these situations and the causes, both natural and historical, which led to them, especially the previous relations with the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, what is strikingly clear is the propensity of political leaders to opt for military solutions to international problems.

Options are quickly narrowed to either military intervention or xenophobic isolationism.

The discussion is framed in terms of maintaining U.S. "national resolve and credibility," or "cutting and running" from the responsibility of being the world's remaining superpower.

Other options, such as negotiation, third-party arbitration, embargoes and sanctions, not to mention international cooperation and humanitarian relief efforts, are either overlooked or are so sparingly and fleetingly used that they cannot possibly be effective.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that non-violent alternatives, if used with the same frequency, duration and enthusiasm as military intervention, might be at least as effective, and far less costly in terms of lives and tax dollars.

R. E. Lee Lears

Annapolis

Death penalty

In The Evening Sun of Oct. 18, prison spokesperson Scott McCauley made sure that the public knew that no animals were used in the testing of the gas chamber.

It sounds like faulty logic to kill a human being in this death machine, yet hesitate to kill an animal. Is an animal's life more precious than that of a human?

Too many people already despair that their lives are worthless. Still others think nothing of pulling a trigger to kill someone. If life is to be valued, then start teaching that concept and be consistent.

Furthermore, if it is wrong to kill, then the state should avoid becoming a hypocrite by beginning executions that are supposed to teach the lesson that killing is wrong.

Most civilized countries have outlawed the death penalty. I think that it's time that we do the same.

Paul Iwancio

Baltimore

Abortion photos

In response to Cynthia Crawley's article "A Picture Worth a Thousand Tears" (Oct. 13):

Whenever I suggest that much of the language heard in movie theaters is obscene, I get a lecture on First Amendment rights.

When I say there's too much sex and violence on TV, I'm told, "Turn it off if you don't like it."

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