Drug hot spotsI applaud the governor, city police and...

the Forum

January 25, 1994

Drug hot spots

I applaud the governor, city police and state troopers on their recent raid of The Block.

However, the same technique of massive arrests should be used on drug-infested strips throughout the city. Greenmount Avenue, Park Heights Avenue and Barclay Street are but a few such spots.

These areas and others like them have drugs being dealt openly day and night by as many as 50 dealers in a three-block area.

There are also many crack houses that could be raided.

Let's use the power of the police to clean up some of the poison on our city streets and the people who are dealing death in the form of drugs.

Murphy Edward Smith


Unsafe action

A very blatant violation of civil liberties occurred Jan. 14 when Gov. William Donald Schaefer, 500 of his storm troopers and 15 members of the National Guard using dogs and vans made a military assault on the 400 block of East Baltimore Street.

It is obvious that this carefully orchestrated operation was designed to put selected enterprises out of business. It was conducted at the beginning of a three-day weekend so as to inflict the maximum amount of pain without the inconvenience of having to prove violations of the law in court.

Hundreds of people were detained, questioned and videotaped. Twenty-four businesses were closed.

Why was the National Guard part of the operation? Was the military used to attack citizens who were simply having a drink in a bar and watching the entertainment? Was this a civil emergency?

The businesses which were attacked have been in this location since the early part of the century. They are located within one block of the Baltimore City police headquarters.

I don't want to hear about the evil of prostitution and drug abuse or gambling. The state of Maryland conducts lottery and keno games. The mayor of Baltimore and the U.S. surgeon general have advocated legalizing drugs.

It is probably much safer to be in a bar on The Block than to ride the light rail at night,when one can be trapped by a mugger on a moving rail car with no possibility of escape and no police protection.

It is time to stop filling scarce jail space with prostitutes, drug sellers and gamblers. It is time to start providing a police presence in public places that will keep violent criminals from terrorizing citizens at will.

The Block brings life and significant taxes to Baltimore and Maryland. Governor Schaefer and the other politicians who fail to understand law enforcement have managed a grandstand which may, in the long run, make the city more unsafe.

Closing The Block may simply add another section of abandoned buildings to the downtown area.

Arthur D. Oslund


Gun coverage

A recent turn-in-the-guns effort netted the grandiose sum of 11 weapons. From what I read and saw of the effort, most of the weapons were either relics or wrecks.

The Sun ran this story on the front page of the Maryland section on Sunday, Jan. 16. We are led to believe that despite the meager response people are just so ready to disarm themselves, if only given an incentive. As the patently ineffective gun turn-in program was being reported on, I was standing in line with hundreds of other people.

We were all patiently waiting to enter the gun show held in Timonium. The doors opened at 9 a.m., but I stood in line till after 10 to get in.

This show was very busy. When I left the show at noon, there was still a line of people a couple hundred long, waiting to get in.

I can easily say that thousands of people attended the gun show that morning. In contrast to The Sun's reporting, it appears to me that a lot of people are not at all willing to disarm and are in fact quite eager to exercise their Constitutional rights.

I'll admit that I would have been quite surprised to have seen The Sun out reporting on the gun show.

Maybe they need to look at the other side of this issue, in an objective and unbiased fashion, and report on the whole story.

In all I saw at that show, one particular busy table attracted my attention, and should attract that of The Sun. It was the membership table to join the National Rifle Association, and a lot of people took the time before entering the show to join.

Donald J. Howard


Ideology rules fetal tissue decisions

The Evening Sun's Jan. 17 editorial on fetal tissue research portrays a false understanding of the relationship between science and ideology which obscures the real issues at hand.

The ban on fetal tissue research is said to have "represented an unwarranted intrusion of ideology on science," and President Clinton's repeal of the ban is labelled "a reversal of politics that allowed ideology to shut down promising avenues of research."

The implication is that finally scientific research has been loosed from the bonds of ideology.

The truth is that one ideology has merely been supplanted by another. Behind the ban lay the view that the dignity and rights which attach to human life extend to unborn human life and cannot be compromised even in the pursuit of worthy ends.

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