HIV CareThe Sun reported March 17 on the results of a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 27, 1994

HIV Care

The Sun reported March 17 on the results of a study carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University examining racial differences in HIV care.

The erroneous interpretation of the study's findings leaves readers with the impression that black patients cared for at the Johns Hopkins HIV clinic are less likely to receive appropriate medications than white patients.

In fact, this disparity only applied to care received by patients prior to enrolling in care at our clinic.

The study demonstrated that within six months of their first visit at the clinic, these racial differences had been eliminated. . . .

While the conclusions of this study are highly disturbing, the results confirm that Johns Hopkins is part of the solution, not the problem.

Joel E. Gallant, M.D.

Richard D. Moore, M.D.

Richard E. Chaisson, M.D.

Baltimore

Dr. Gallant is assistant professor of medicine and director of the HIV Clinic at Hopkins. Dr. Moore and Dr. Chaisson are associate professors of medicine and authors of the study.

Taken Aback

My complaint refers to a March 4 article, "Cop for a day: Lesson in danger." In this article, Lt. Joe Key explains some scenarios to civilians of the pitfalls officers face when they pull out their guns.

Being a retired Baltimore City officer for 27 years, I realize where the lieutenant is coming from. However, I was somewhat taken aback when I read the part where the lieutenant talks about the case of Officer Edward T. Gorwell II, who shot and killed Simmont Thomas last April.

Officer Gorwell justified his actions by saying he heard a sharp cracking sound in the dark that he thought was a gunshot and fired in the direction of the noise. Lieutenant Key was quoted by your paper as saying, "If Baltimore police officers were allowed to shoot at every sound they hear in the dark we'd have a lot of innocent dead people in the streets."

Who is he to say Officer Gorwell's actions were wrong? Was he there? No, he was probably home sleeping, since the Gunpowder shooting range operates only in the day time.

Francis M. Schmitz Jr.

Baltimore

Audubon Society Is Not Just for the Birders

Peter Jay's March 10 column about the National Audubon Society says more about Peter Jay than about Audubon.

As he is a journalist, that may explain his nostalgia for the "old" Audubon magazine. It seems that some old magazine journalists have a purist concept of what a magazine should be, and they don't appreciate any newfangled format.

Others believe that a magazine of a conservation organization exists to promote the conservation cause, and they really don't care if it matches some journalistic purist criteria.

The purpose is not to win journalistic awards; it's to promote a greater awareness of the realities of the natural world in a society where increased population and development, combined with irresponsible acts of pollution and habitat destruction, are placing great strain on the ecosystem.

Mr. Jay contends that Audubon is straying from its original position of having been created by bird-watchers. As a journalist, he should do better than that.

The "Audubon" movement was started by sportsmen who were well aware that bird populations were dramatically declining because of unrestricted hunting of song and game birds and habitat destruction. They started not as a bird-watching organization, but as an advocacy organization.

Their early victories at the beginning of this century were to end the commercial trade in birds which were used either as feathers or as entire song birds to decorate women's hats.

They lobbied the New York state legislature and then the Congress to outlaw the feather trade. They lobbied to establish protection for song birds.

They lobbied to establish the distinction between game and non-game birds and to create seasons and bag limits to protect game species. They lobbied to create the National Wildlife Refuge system.

The Audubon movement has been true to its heritage ever since when it is fighting for the well-being of wildlife and a healthy environment and ecosystem.

Yes, Auduboners are birders; but, if they are true to the Audubon heritage they cannot be content simply to accumulate longer life lists of increasingly rarer species or engage in "counts" to document the decline and disappearance of species from previous breeding areas.

Mr. Jay laments the projected disappearance of American Birds, which is only supported by about 12,000 subscribers compared to the approximately 600,000 Audubon members.

Why should Audubon conservationists subsidize a listing of seasonal bird sightings for birders who won't pay the cost of the publication? If it is so important to them, let them support it.

He seems to blame Audubon for the fact that the few hard-core birders who want that type of information don't want to pay the real cost of producing it.

For people, including most birders like myself, American Birds is a good cure for insomnia. That's why it has only 12,000 subscribers.

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