MisledThe Baltimore City Police Department deserves high...


August 19, 1994


The Baltimore City Police Department deserves high praise for its speedy investigation and arrest in the horrific Loch murders in Guilford. The same accolades cannot be given to the department's spokesperson who clearly misled the press and public during the investigation.

As recently as Wednesday, The Sun's story quoted a police department source saying that the motive was apparently burglary.

At that time, it was abundantly clear that the murderer knew his victims. Needless to say, the burglary headline continued to feed community panic that there was a manic predator breaking into homes and bludgeoning victims.

Ideally, the police should have said that the case did not look like a random killing. At the very least, the police could have said, "We're not answering questions."

As one who has been a practicing journalist in Baltimore for more than 20 years, I would far prefer a "no comment" to a false statement. The Sun may look foolish for repeatedly publishing the burglarly story. The police department's media office should explain why misleading statements were made.

This episode represents a breach of faith with the public. Good relations between the police and the public starts with telling the truth.

Rich Hollander


Watch Out

I am certain that if smokers like me had been organized, we would not now be suffering the tyranny of the majority. For there must be ways to accommodate our lifestyle along with other examples of "diversity."

I cannot believe that cigarette smoke is the most grave source of pollution in our society.

And those non-smokers among you who are tempted to smile, just wait a minute. If government agencies are going to micromanage an individual's choices, smoking is only the beginning.

Our choices of what we eat must surely be next.

Alice Kushner


Unborn Taxes

Regarding Jean Gaes' letter, "Abortion Tax" (Aug. 10): I can sympathize with her feelings, since I have been paying "right-to-life taxes" for years.

These taxes exist in the portion of my local, state and federal taxes that go to pay for the costs of unwanted babies or babies who cannot survive without massive medical costs.

They are also present in the substantial percentage of funds contributed to the United Way of Maryland that are diverted to religious charities that not only oppose abortion but also oppose birth control.

Since Gaes' letter is tied to the pending health-care legislation, I might also note that I pay an additional "right-to-life tax" every time I pay a medical bill. In virtually every case, these bills include a surcharge to pay for care for those without the means to pay.

Jean Gaes may not consider that she has a "choice" with regards to paying "an abortion tax," but the rest of us haven't had a choice in having to pay for the lack of choice she and her cohorts want to force on us.

I haven't heard of a single right-to-life group that accepts the financial cost or has taken over the responsibility to care for babies born with massive medical or physical disabilities.

So far as they are concerned, it would seem that "life begins at conception and ends with birth."

William F. List


Costly License

Reading your article "For foreigners, driving in Germany becomes costly" (July 31) made me mad. It was interesting but completely one-sided.

Let me tell you about my experience as a German citizen trying to obtain a driver's license in the United States.

A few years ago, I was transferred to the U.S. by my German company. In order to buy a car and to get insurance, I was told I had to have an American driver's license.

At that time, I had had my German license for 12 years. How foolish of me to assume that it would be no big deal to make the change.

Everybody in the U.S. has heard about the German autobahn: no speed limit, drive as fast as you want. Yet I was told, "Sorry, but you have no driving experience."

I had to take the written and the driving test. This was quite humiliating. The biggest joke, however, was that you don't even leave the Motor Vehicle Administration parking lot when taking the driving test.

Two of my German co-workers (one of whom has almost 20 years of driving experience) were treated the same way.

Granted, taking the test in the U.S. isn't quite as costly as in Germany. But due to my "lack of driving experience," the insurance company charged me approximately $3,100 per year. What kind of scam is that?

Wolfgang Feile


Beyond Burgers

Marc Levin's July 31 article about the proliferation of low-wage jobs perpetuates the myth that hospitality jobs, for the most part, are low-skill and low-paid.

People in food service are getting pretty sick of their universal image as "hamburger flippers." In fact, the hospitality industry is diverse, including restaurants, hotels, institutions, recreation- and travel-related businesses.

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