The real gameWith all the recent media hype about...

the Forum

January 17, 1994

The real game

With all the recent media hype about Baltimore "getting the ball," I wonder when we will put half as much time, energy and money into finding real solutions to poverty, homelessness, racism, drugs, violence and teen pregnancy? . . .

Ellyne Mary Brown

Baltimore

Hysteria

Sara Engram (Jan. 9) wonders how we have reached a point when day-care workers fear touching children, because of the sex-abuse hysteria.

We have reached it because of careerist prosecutors like those in San Diego who kept Dale Akiki in prison for over two years before his Nov. 19 acquittal on charges as ludicrous as those in the McMartin case. Akiki's acquittal got scant attention in the commotion over Cardinal Bernardin's accuser.

And we have reached it because President Clinton, like the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 -- one month after it attacked Anita Hill's character -- fawns on a TV tabloid figure, Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey was overtly in favor of a retrial of the McMartin defendants after their 1990 acquittal, and her guests have included a deranged Jewish woman alleging that Jewish families have for centuries practiced ritual infant sacrifices.

Clinton's shameful pandering to Winfrey on Dec. 20 shouldn't have been swept aside by the hype over his alleged sexual activities.

David Boies

Washington

Bang, bang, bang

Three shots at a duck, a hunter does not make. Nor does it make him a friend of the sportsman, or cloud his true agenda on banning guns. It does show the president for what he is, a shrewd politician.

Gerard Muller

Essex

Human tests by scientists were inhuman

I am certainly not alone in being severely distressed by the news of the plutonium and other nuclear experiments done under U.S. contracts on humans who for various reasons could not give free or informed consent.

I applaud the current administration's determination to find out how these disgusting experiments continued for nearly 30 years and its determination to provide compensation, at least in principle. Trust is built on trust -- not by secrecy, denial, evasion or squelching pressures.

A few things should be noted. As I understand the reports so far, the data are essentially derived from Rep. Edward Markey's 50-page report delivered to the public in 1986.

Why was nothing done then? Who was in charge in 1986? And why did they think that a silent squelch better served the country than an honest investigation? Papa knows best? That is the very idea against which we revolted in 1776.

My second point is that some recent commentators have offhandedly remarked that the "scientists" in 1947 should not be judged by later standards.

Against that I urge: 1) The people generally and even American scientists were appalled by the callous and stupid medical experiments by the Nazi doctors -- no one seriously argued a "higher" right or duty for such "scientists"; 2) Our Declaration of Independence proclaims that "all men [humans] are created equal."

Only arrogant believers in the natural superiority of some humans to other humans or those who believe in the transcendent value of the drive for knowledge can condone what the Nazi doctors or the American experimenters did.

Expanding knowledge is a high value, but like all human endeavors and vocations they must be limited by moral values. In these plutonium-nuclear experiments certain Americans did not operate under such a limitation. Shame on these few "scientists" and their supervising bureaucrats. Shame on the U.S. government from 1947 into the 1970s.

The rest of us are shamed by discovering that in our "security interests" we have -- without our consent -- been made accomplices to acts that brought disgrace, execration and death to Nazis who condoned and supervised similar arrogant use of human "material."

Nicholas Varga

Baltimore

True friends

I am writing to comment on the article Dec. 19 on the way some black students act toward others who may be smarter.

I am a gifted black high school student, and I would like to let people know that not all people react negatively toward their smarter friends.

My grades are considerably higher than they were last school NTC term, but I didn't change or think I was better than my friends, so I didn't expect their attitudes toward me to change.

I feel as though I am lucky enough to have true friends, and I wish that more people could be so lucky.

Monique Abrams

Baltimore

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