Outpouring of Emotion at Crime Victims' ServiceIt is...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 1994

Outpouring of Emotion at Crime Victims' Service

It is unfortunate that your paper missed a very significant and meaningful event which was held for the first time in Anne Arundel County.

On April 24, my office, in conjunction with the Maryland Victim Assistance Network and the state Board of Victim Services, hosted the fifth annual statewide memorial service for crime victims and their families. The service marked the beginning of the observation of National Victims' Rights Week.

Based on past years' attendance, we had anticipated a crowd of some 350. Instead, more than 600 people attended. While there was good representation from victim service professionals, grassroots organizations and law enforcement, it was overwhelming to realize that almost all of these 600 were family and friends of Marylanders who have lost their lives because of violent crime.

People needed and wanted this opportunity to pay tribute to their loved ones, and to give support to and get strength from others who have experienced a similar loss. I feel privileged to have had a part in providing this opportunity for them.

I salute the many people who contributed to the services, and I would like to especially thank the Memorial Service Planning Committee, co-chaired by Maureen Gilmer, of my Victim-Witness Assistance Center, and Betty Asplund, of the Hospice of the Chesapeake, for its dedicated efforts which included a last-minute change in location to accommodate the large

number of attendees.

Frank R. Weathersbee

Annapolis

The writer is Anne Arundel County state's attorney.

Health Care

It is now or perhaps never to adopt complete affordable health care. It is the American people against the insurance companies, their allies and kept politicians.

The McDermott-Wellstone American Health Security Act (HR 1200/S 491) is the only single-payer bill providing complete affordable care and choice of physician. It would replace the profit, waste and fraud of 1,500 insurance companies with one public insurance fund.

All other bills mandate an oligopoly of large insurance companies to dominate the trillion-dollar medical industry.

Almost all other nations, with far better national health, provide single-payer total care, with choice of physician, for an average of 7 percent of Gross National Product. The United States pays 14 percent for partial care. Two General Accounting Office studies report single-payer will save between $114 billion and $175 billion a year.

The insurance industry has spent millions on political action committees. It is sure of our ignorance and lassitude. We must prove them wrong. . . .

Gene McNulty

Eastport

Domestic Violence

The Anne Arundel County Commission for Women urges you to join the fight against domestic violence. An important part of the mission of the Commission for Women is to identify the needs of women in Anne Arundel County. Today, a major area of concern is domestic violence.

The reality of this social problem is that both victims and perpetrators are from all socio-economic levels. We are all affected, not only from a social level but also from an economic standpoint. The cost of domestic violence is measured in terms of increased tax dollars needed to provide services for the victims as well as for those that commit the violent acts. These support services include those provided by the police, the courts, the Department of Social Services, schools, health care providers and many other agencies.

The problem is enormous. On a national level, approximately one-third of emergency medical services are given to battered women. One-fourth of pregnant women seeking prenatal care are abused. Tragically, 25 percent of all women who commit suicide are victims of domestic violence. Battering is the single greatest cause of injury to women across the nation -- more than rapes, muggings and automobile accidents combined. Studies show that at least one-third of all men who beat their wives also beat their children.

Reported domestic violence cases have increased 22 percent in our county during the last year. Locally, Anne Arundel County and Annapolis City police officers indicate that the toughest part of their jobs, in dealing with this issue, comes when children are involved. People are beginning to confront the violence in our society. Studies tell us that violence is learned in the home. To be effective, measures to deal with domestic violence must begin there. The cycle of these violent patterns must be halted.

Despite the fact that Maryland has the nation's second highest rate of domestic violence, this problem can be addressed. On a local level, there are many things the citizens of this county can do to respond to this issue. Organizations such as the YMCA, Sarah's House at Fort Meade, the Harundale Youth Center and the House of Ruth perform an array of services that merit broad-based support. Monetary assistance, of course, is needed but volunteers are equally important to the program of the organizations. . . .

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