Rude SenatorsI recently attended a hearing in Annapolis...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 15, 1994

Rude Senators

I recently attended a hearing in Annapolis before the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee, and I must say that I was appalled by the rude behavior of some of the senators sitting on the committee.

In particular, Sen. Michael Collins, D-Baltimore County, continually talked the entire time while testimony was being presented.

It may be a political strategy (albeit a discourteous one) to talk while your legislative adversaries are testifying. To carry on conversation while a constituent is testifying, however, is inexcusable.

Citizens take time out of their hectic schedules to travel to Annapolis to testify for causes which they feel strongly about. It would only be polite if the senators hearing the testimony were respectful of the individual speaking.

I believe this is a common courtesy which you learn at a young age both in home and at school. Which is ironic considering that Senator Collins was a teacher in Baltimore County.

How can our illustrious senator make an informed decision on the bill if he is not paying attention to the testimony? I suppose he had already determined his vote when he entered the committee room.

Some of our elected officials forget the democratic process which put them into office.

The people who testify are the same people who vote.

It may serve our legislators well to offer their constituents the same respect which they receive.

Laura Burstein

Baltimore

Struggling Alone

In response to the March 3 letter from Geraldine Aronin concerning the "family cap" proposal.

First, it is not the nation's responsibility to support mothers who want to do nothing for themselves or their children.

Yes, if the "family cap" is approved, the children will suffer, but how about preventing the extra children in the first place? Did you ever stop to think how costly it is for the working citizens of America to pay for children who are not theirs and cannot be claimed on income tax returns?

I don't have any children, and I don't appreciate paying for someone else's children to have free health care, free food supplies and money for food, low-cost housing, gas and electric and so on.

If I should miss payment on a bill or be unable to pay a bill, there is no sympathy or help for me. My electricity or phone gets cut off.

I strongly agree with the "family cap" proposal. Maybe it will deter unemployed mothers from having more babies and making more expenses for us Americans who are taking care of them as well as struggling to take care of ourselves.

Evette Harris

Towson

Unequal Justice

In reading Jay Apperson's report on the woman who was convicted of beating her victim to death with a frying pan (March 8), I can only wonder if the surviving victims of a drunk-driving case, in which the driver was sentenced to work release, would echo to the judge in that case, Christian Kahl. the words spoken by Judge John N. Prevas to the convicted woman: "I will never forget you . . . I wish I knew what secrets are locked in your mind."

Rather than a frying plan, the woman convicted in the beating death should have downed a few drinks, run over her victim two or three times -- and wound up on work release.

Sherry P. Boggs

Baltimore

Second Amendment Not a Gun Control Law

The Sun put forth a rather unique interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution in its editorial "The Bill of Rights Belongs to All" (Feb. 19).

Unfortunately, The Sun's interpretation is completely at odds with the clear language of, and intent behind, the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment provides that: "A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

The Sun interprets "militia" as "the 18th century equivalent of the national guard" and "well-regulated" as a term analogous to economic regulation. Both interpretations are patently wrong.

"Militia," defined in modern or contemporary terms, means all military-aged male citizens. In fact Congress, meeting shortly after the passage of the Second Amendment, passed the First Militia Act, 1 Stat. 271 (1792), which not only defined the "militia" as all military-aged male citizens, but also required each such citizen to own a firearm.

In addition, the drafters of the amendment, e.g., James Madison and George Mason, invariably used phrases such as "armed citizenry" and "composed of the body of the people" in describing the "militia."

The Sun, moreover, overlooked the phrase "right of the people" in concluding that the Second Amendment guaranteed arms to state militias (the present day National Guard forces) and not to individuals.

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