Gun storyThe front page article April 10, tracing a single...

the Forum

April 21, 1994

Gun story

The front page article April 10, tracing a single handgun's history, makes a couple of points abundantly clear. Efforts to arrest, convict and punish those who use handguns in the commission of crimes are pursued with little enthusiasm and meet with even less success.

Also, it seems the city has more guns than criminals in custody, and The Baltimore Sun has completed the transfer of the guilt, blame and responsibility for the crime to these inanimate, inert objects.

Listen to yourself, Sun! "Police collected 29 cartridge cases . . . 15 of them fired by the Glock." Fired "by" the Glock? How about "from" the Glock?

"Two weeks after the Glock shot Ms. Marine . . ." Can we have a reality check here?

"The Glock has been off the street for 18 months . . ." Really! Is it in jail? Has a trial date been set?

Those who employ the "feel good" tactic of attributing the character traits and actions of evil people to mere objects for the purpose of fighting crime delude themselves and do a life-threatening disservice to future victims of human criminals.

Historical and technical note: Semi-automatic handgun technology and weapons virtually identical to the Glock have been around for a hundred years, so it isn't particularly remarkable that they represent about 50 percent of Baltimore handgun confiscations.

What is remarkable (and fortunate) is that Baltimore's criminals (are they slower or dumber than other criminals?) have consumed an entire century embracing the "latest" technology.

J. M. Lepman

Baltimore

Shirkers

I think it is incredible that the legislature excused itself from responsible action this past session. That legislators did not put a cap on welfare benefits defies all sense and good reasoning.

The recipients now continue to have children ad infinitum that they cannot support. Furthermore, they can continue to apply for welfare benefits if they do not find employment within 18 months.

This was supposed to be the year where we could envision welfare reform. As it proved out, it was simply rhetoric and no substance.

Once again, the legislature has shirked its responsibility. If they would only practice what they preach at election time.

Mignon Lieberman

Baltimore

Caning started to curb dissent in Singapore

People are getting the wrong idea about why they flog criminals in Singapore. The reason vandalism was made punishable by caning was because they wanted to stop dissidents from spray-painting anti-government slogans.

Our inability to contain crime, as Singapore does, is not because we don't have the laws to take care of dangerous criminals. The reason is we don't use the laws we have.

Our first problem is we don't catch criminals.

There are not nearly enough police to investigate serious crimes, and the ones we have are put on duty giving out tickets in snowstorms and cleaning up the seedy areas of town to please some local politicians.

If someone wants to commit a violent crime, they know they will not get caught.

Next is the court room where the judges and clerks are so overburdened they no longer feel the horror of a person being violently attacked.

When someone goes to court for punching someone, it is viewed as a trivial case instead of the serious crime it is. If criminals do make it to jail, they are let out to make room for people who commit much less serious crimes.

The criminals in Singapore are the dictators who use legalized torture to keep the opposition in check. Imagine our president having the power to flog opponents for writing critical slogans.

Americans are right to be angry at our government's inability to deal with violent criminals. But I'm deeply offended by a two-bit thug from a criminal government lecturing us on individual and social rights.

Our freedom was earned with the blood of people who valued personal liberty. The fight for democracy continues in countries run by gangsters spilling blood in torture chambers, and in places like China where freedom fighters are massacred in the name of "social order."

We need to stand with those heroes, not with the dictators who oppress them.

Joe Otterbein Jr.

Baltimore

Pop culture's violent images

J. D. Considine's March 6 Sun Magazine article, "Under the Influence," totally denies any connection between the violent images and ideas pervading today's pop culture and the mayhem occurring daily in real life . . .

Mr. Considine notes that TV in Japan is more violent and sex-filled than American TV. He states that Japanese men read adult comic books that "reek of sex, death and sadism."

Nevertheless, claims Mr. Considine, the violent crime rate in Japan is a "mere fraction" of what it is here: 1.1 homicides per 100,000 residents versus 23 homicides per 100,000 in Baltimore.

He concludes his comparison of the effects of pop culture in the two countries by suggesting that a "steady diet of sex and violence [in Japan] does not necessarily spark anti-social behavior."

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