The Last DragGov. William Donald Schaefer and Lt. Gov...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 02, 1994

The Last Drag

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg are trying to outdo each other in the race to impose unreasonable new taxes on cigarettes. They claim it would force smokers to lead healthier lives.

Quite the opposite is true. Increased cigarette prices force smokers to smoke their costly cigarettes all the way down to the butt.

According to the American Cancer Society, anything less than one-inch butt above the filter poses a special danger to the cigarette smoker.

The proposed cigarette tax is not only regressive, it is also a thoughtless, shameless, greedy way to squeeze extra revenue from already heavily taxed Marylanders who are so bold as to smoke a legal product.

Margie Davis

Baltimore

The Berrigans

I take issue with Garry Wills' view of the Berrigans (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 11).

First of all, the fact that a relative handful of people excuse the acts of those who murder abortion doctors while society punishes the Berrigans is irrelevant. Society as a whole is repulsed by those who murder abortionists.

Secondly, Mr. Wills describes the Berrigans as "activists." I agree. The question is what type of activists are they. I am sure Mr. Wills thinks they are peace activists. I think they are anti-United States activists.

History supports my view. Peace activists ought to be offended when violence is used to achieve political ends.

Where were the Berrigans in 1975, when South Vietnam fell to the aggression of North Vietnam? Nowhere.

But no one could count the amount of times they protested acts of aggression by the United States when they were involved in the war.

Where were the Berrigans throughout the late 1980s when countless people fell victim to terrorism? Nowhere. But I am sure they were among those who protested the bombing of Libya.

Where were the Berrigans last month when the Serbs slaughtered yet another group of civilians? Nowhere. But you can bet your bottom dollar they will be protesting should the Western world answer Serbian aggression.

Mr. Wills may find it sad that the world has not listened to these individuals. I do not.

Dennis G. Olver

Chestertown

Prohibition

The FDA just announced it has the power to ban the manufacture of all tobacco products in the U.S. but is looking for "direction" from Congress before taking such drastic action.

Let's hope so.

The Volstead Act (prohibiting the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages in the U.S.) turned out to be a complete disaster.

Organized crime was delighted to fill the vacuum.

As to having another Prohibition era -- those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Bob Krehnbrink

Lutherville

Crime and Punishment

Michael Olesker's Feb. 10 column is exactly the type of extreme liberalism that drove me to the ranks of the National Rifle Association.

I refer to his snide remarks that gun lobbyists are among the

great forces of darkness in America; that the National Rifle Association types fight the gun control laws for economic motives or that what America needs to do is take handguns entirely out of the hands of private citizens.

I have no interest in hunting or collecting firearms.

But I am adamantly opposed to any usurpation of our right under the Second Amendment to freely arm ourselves, or any other rights guaranteed the citizen by the Constitution.

In the same issue, a compromise option to have "Maryland expressly recognize the right to own firearms but require licenses for those who wish to carry them off their own property" was offered by Peter Jay.

His closing comment to the effect that it may appeal to both sides as a way "to end the interminable cultural conflict over guns" may be worth consideration.

Even he loses much credibility, however, when he lumps Vietnam veterans, liquor store owners, police officers, working-class people who hunt deer for sport with criminals as among the "lower orders of the democratic American tapestry" and unfit to marry one's daughters.

I find these thoughts demeaning and unworthy of dignifying further.

Doug Sullivan

Chestertown

____________

I am not an "NRA type" and agree that a background check is appropriate for gun purchasers in spite of the fact that 17 percent of criminal records are in shape to be used for these checks, according to Attorney General Janet Reno.

The obvious solution to the problem is a national re-evaluation of the criminal justice system. It is the law-abiding citizens who are suffering "cruel and unusual punishment" at the hands of lawyers who go to extraordinary measures to keep these thugs on the streets.

It is time to use common sense in putting away the criminal element.

Murderers should be executed and punishment needs to be swift and sure to eliminate crime.

Stop blaming guns for crime and start blaming the criminals and the system that allows them to go free.

Bruce Varholy

Baltimore

To Letter Writers

?1

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, Md., 21278-0001.

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