Offensive AnalogyWhat does welfare reform have to do with...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 17, 1994

Offensive Analogy

What does welfare reform have to do with the Holocaust?

That is the question one must pose to Richard Dowling, of the Maryland Catholic Conference (letter, April 6).

Forced abortion by the Nazis against Polish women was a crime against humanity.

A society that seeks to ensure that "poor" women have the same right to make decisions about their reproductive health that "wealthier" women possess is a humane one.

Surely one can recognize the difference without the use of misplaced and offensive analogies.

Sanford V. Teplitzky

Baltimore

The writer is president, Baltimore Jewish Council.

Hard Choices

Tim Baker's April 11 column about well-off young professionals and other "haves" fleeing the city for the suburbs and the inner suburbs for the more distant "exurbs" reminds me of a certain fictional tea party.

When the guests finished their tea, they moved over to new places with clean cups and never gave another thought to the dirty cups left behind. (The author never described what happened when they eventually came around again to the places with dirty cups).

Eventually there will be no place left to escape to, after we have neglected to maintain a civil society in the places where we live now. We may be able to escape the consequences, but our children surely will not.

It is all too easy to say it isn't my fault and it isn't my problem; someone else's actions and choices are creating crime, pollution, crumbling neighborhoods and schools, etc.

We may feel that we have no choice or control over other people's actions. But if we don't find some solution now, and be ready to pay for it, we will pay in other ways.

Those who can afford it will pay for private schools, private security. They will pay in loss of property value and in disruption of their lives as they sell out when neighborhoods start to go downhill.

They will pay in lost time as they commute ever greater distances from home to work. They will pay as valuable commercial properties, once tax revenue generators for the region, become wasteland.

Now is the time to make hard choices -- and pay the costs. Or we and our children will all pay later.

Elizabeth A. Fixsen

Savage

Hollow Victor

Your article in the April 3 issue concerning the new gun ban is very puzzling indeed.

After three solid months of your paper's editorializing about banning these handguns, this article virtually condemns the bill as being useless. That is the exact same view our side has held from the introduction of this bill. The bill is worthless and will not affect the crime rate at all.

Yes, we fought this bill vigorously for the fact that only the law-abiding are ever affected by gun bans, never the criminals. They simply readjust their methods and switch firearms to whatever is available.

This bill was passed as a "symbol" and a "first step." Laws should be passed to alter unacceptable behavior, not for symbolism.

The legislators can take pride in the fact that they passed a bill that will not accomplish the goal set out for it, the reduction of violent crime in Maryland.

Another hollow victory for anti-gunners, who will continue to try and ban the private possession of all firearms. They will never stop. Neither will we.

Sanford M. Abrams

Silver Spring

The writer is vice president, Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, Inc.

Facts about Cameras in the Courts

There is an expression, "If you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have neither one, pound the table."

When it comes to permitting cameras and microphones in criminal trials in Maryland, which the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee recently denied, there's been a lot of table-pounding opinion and conjecture without the facts.

Let's put the facts on the table:

Forty-one states currently permit cameras (still and video) and microphones at the trial level in their criminal courts. None of those states has repealed the rules both permitting and governing the use of cameras and microphones in court.

The federal judiciary has been undergoing a two-year experiment with cameras in civil trials.

The preliminary report on that experiment has been so positive that most of the judges who participated and were interviewed as part of a follow-up said they would recommend extending camera access to criminal proceedings.

Concerns about the need to protect the identifies of certain groups of witnesses (undercover police officers, sexual offense victims) are addressed in the various state court rules. The same applies to jurors.

Contrary to the Opinion * Commentary piece by George Liebmann (April 8), cameras will not automatically be permitted in trials.

Prior approval would be required, as it is now in hearings where cameras are permitted.

Fears of grandstanding by attorneys -- and, to a lesser degree, by judges -- is totally unfounded in the 41 states where cameras and microphones are allowed in the court.

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