Several words were omitted from a letter to the editor by...


July 18, 1994

Several words were omitted from a letter to the editor by William Banks published Monday.

The sentence should have read, "The idea that by giving honest people $107.11 worth of merchandise for antiques or firearms which have been sitting in closets for 30 years, 7-Eleven will reduce crime, is hilarious."

The Sun regrets the errors.

Buying Guns

I was very amused, yet troubled, by your July 12 article concerning the 7-Eleven gun buy-back program.

I found it quite amusing that the picture in your newspaper showed two Baltimore City policewomen looking at a replica of an 18th century muzzle-loading pistol which had been turned in for $107.11 worth of "Big Gulps" and junk food.


I doubt that anyone has been killed with a pistol of this type in Baltimore since about the year 1850, and the policewomen shown looking at this antiquated firearm probably found it interesting since they had never seen one before except in the movies. The idea that by giving honest people $107.11 worth of merchandise for antiques or firearms which have been sitting in closets for 30 years is hilarious.

The part of your article which troubled me was the quote of Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier saying, "The kinds of guns we're getting are the kinds we want to get."

For heavens sake, why doesn't the police commissioner want to disarm the inner-city crack dealers and criminals and throw them in jail?

What good will it do to society to take the guns away from the honest, law-abiding citizen, while the criminal goes free to rape and rob at will?

If a citizen wants to trade any possession of his or hers for a "Big Gulp," it's certainly his or her business. But the idea of reducing crime by taking away law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves is ridiculous.

William Banks


Reducing Smog

The Environmental Protection Agency's decision to retreat from commuting rules that are necessary to reduce smog is disappointing. Voluntary compliance will not encourage car-pooling, and employer incentives will not be substantial enough to influence changes.

The federal government itself, through locality pay raises, compensates employees who must commute longer distances. Not until financial incentives are made that reward ride-sharing, or alternatively penalize non-commuters, will smog in urban areas be reduced.

The strong lobbying by lawyers representing the interests of large corporations with many commuters is reminiscent of the recent story of the lobbyist for the tobacco industry. He now suffers from lung cancer.

A stronger stand by EPA to protect the rights of the individual and ignore special interest groups is needed.

Ann G. Muhvich


Lawyer Lincoln

Referring to Abe Lincoln, Maryland's official song begins: "The despot's heel is on thy shore . . ." Yet in his July 7 column, Theo Lippman, honors Lincoln as our only U.S. president who was truly a working lawyer.

Mr. Lippman says that "the way to think of Lincoln as a lawyer president is to consider the American people during his presidency as a jury that was convinced by his arguments."

Known as "Honest Abe" (just as used-car salesmen are called "Honest John"), Lincoln once used an almanac to convince a jury that a witness lied in saying he saw a murder by moonlight. The almanac indicated that there was no moon that night.

In fact, the light came from a lantern hanging where the witness could not see it -- and Lincoln knew this.

Nevertheless, he exploited the witness' honest confusion so as to confuse the jury into finding a guilty defendant innocent.

Similarly, Lincoln confused the world into imagining that the Emancipation Proclamation was meant to end slavery, or legally did end it.

Willis Case Rowe


Lifetime License?

In an editorial in the July 3 edition of The Sun, you wrote, "In Maryland, as in many states, experienced teachers have virtually a lifetime license to teach, once they reach tenure."

On June 25, The Sun had a news article about a music teacher with 15 years experience in Baltimore City who, along with 48 other teachers, had just lost her job.

I ask you, is this what you call a lifetime license to teach, when you can be fired after 15 years of outstanding service, without a hearing and no clue that her position was going to be cut?

Now every teacher is on notice that no matter how good you are in the classroom, you may not have a job next year . . .

Edward Palanker


League Record

Nancy L. Centofante's July 8 letter misrepresents the League of Women Voters' position on health care reform and our long-standing commitment to encouraging citizen participation in government. We are taking this opportunity to set the record straight.

The league, after a two-year study and with member agreement, adopted a position calling for promotion of a health care system that provides access to quality care for all U.S. residents at an affordable cost.

We believe the plans proposed by President Clinton and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., include these requirements.

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