Children can't make complex decisionsThe recent...

the Forum

March 17, 1994

Children can't make complex decisions

The recent developments in the Kimberly Mays case confirm what I have believed since I first heard about this complex situation.

We should not allow children to make such important judgments. No one would allow a child to sign a contract for a new car.

We should realize that in such a perplexing problem as identifying who are the psychological and legal parents in a custody case the child may be very confused and likely to make the wrong decision.

The worst place to make such decisions is in a court room.

Judges, lawyers and sometimes even court-appointed psychologists are often perceived by children as intimidating and sometimes frightening.

Their presence and the atmosphere of a court proceeding are hardly conducive to a clear, thoughtful decision by a child caught up in a bitter custody battle.

We need to consider the motives not only of the adults but also of the children in these situations.

I was surprised at the naive reaction from the judge toward Kimberly Mays' testimony.

Maybe this case will awaken others who have been so willing to take a child's word at a face value.

We should be very cautious when allowing one party in a case to stop the other party from visiting a child, unless there is a very compelling reason to do so.

This case clearly shows that contact with both parties should be maintained until the child is mature enough to decide to do otherwise.

Joe Otterbein

Baltimore

More Irans?

The Clinton administration is pursuing in the Middle East the same deadly course as former President Jimmy Carter did in Iran.

The Shah of Iran was a staunch ally of the U.S., and Iran was a good country to live in. Former President Carter, in the name of so-called "democracy," helped the forces opposing the Shah.

What ensued was the takeover by fundamentalists in which millions of Iranians have been killed, not only inside the country but in a senseless war with Iraq. Iran is now a virulent enemy.

If the Israeli army and the Jewish settlers move out of the West Bank, anarchy, bloodshed and vendettas will ensue. At least 500 Arabs have been murdered by other Arabs since the so-called "peace process" began for collaborating with Israel.

As for Israel, it will eventually cease to exist. Israel is Zionism; it is the Bible; it is Judea and Samaria (not the West Bank); it is Hebron. The patriarchs and matriarchs are buried here. This is the soul of the Jewish people.

Israel has always been willing to live in peace beside its Arab neighbors. It is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs have the right to vote and are citizens. All 22 Arab countries are repressive dictatorships. Only two of them, Egypt and Jordan, are friendly to the United States and the West.

Jeremiah said, "Peace, peace, but there is no peace."

Is there no common sense in the Clinton administration that they are encouraging and pushing the Rabin government into an abyss? Is the United States creating other "Irans" as virulent enemies?

Beatrice Davis

Baltimore

Weapons-free schools

The Baltimore County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recognizes that learning and teaching of our children must take place in safe and secure settings.

We have witnessed in recent years an escalation of violence and the use of deadly weapons in committing violent acts in schools. Schools and their immediate environments are no longer the traditionally safe havens for teaching and learning.

Citizens, communities, organizations and social institutions have a responsibility for restoring some measure of social control of violence in Maryland and Baltimore County.

Nonetheless, now is the time to bring the force of law to this problem. There needs to be sent a strong and clear message as to just what is prescribed or proscribed regarding weapons in and near schools.

Therefore, the Baltimore County branch of NAACP supports Senate Bill 172 entitled "Weapons-Free School Zone." The Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee is urged to act favorably on SB 172.

Patricia C. Ferguson

Herbert H. Lindsey

Baltimore

The writers are president and vice president, respectively, of the Baltimore County branch, NAACP.

Slow JFX

Can someone tell me why the traffic "drifts" down the Jones Falls Expressway every morning, brake lights ablaze?

Isn't it a driver's obligation to get moving when the road ahead is clear?

I assume most people try to get to work on time. But perhaps they simply are not concerned with being late. Usually I find there was no reason at all for the rolling backup.

Jones Falls Expressway? That's a laugh. It's more like a herd of turtles.

Stephanie Jeram Baltimore

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