Shame on Sarbanes for crime bill votePaul Sarbanes should...

the Forum

September 01, 1994

Shame on Sarbanes for crime bill vote

Paul Sarbanes should be ashamed of himself for the tomfoolery he voted for in the name of fighting crime.

This "crime" bill is nothing less than the president's original pork-barrel, big-spending economic stimulus package that was defeated in the Congress earlier in this president's term.

The American public cannot be fooled by this chicanery on the part of the liberals in the administration. This bill is loaded with big, new social programs that have nothing to do with fighting crime. It is simply a payoff for the big city mayors for helping to elect liberal Democrats.

The three worst proposals in the bill provide for arts and crafts fairs, midnight basketball leagues and converting drug-dealers into drug counselors.

These are nothing but liberal "feel good" programs that are, among other things, inherently racist in their attitude . . .

I'm sure that Chelsea Clinton is not going to join a midnight basketball league. I suspect that at midnight Chelsea and all the other children of administration figures will be in their beds asleep after having completed their homework.

Why should poor minority kids be treated any differently? Should they not be encouraged to be in the house at that late hour like any other children? How racist and condescending of the president to propose such Pablum!

I am a police officer in one of the poorest, most disadvantaged neighborhoods in East Baltimore, and I can tell you that it is a small minority of kids who are causing trouble on the street after midnight.

The parents of these children should be penalized for allowing their children out after dark, not rewarded by providing them with an excuse to abandon their kids to the street.

Baltimore City has just passed a new, tougher juvenile curfew law with parental sanctions. If enforced properly by the courts it could be very effective.

What a conflicting message the federal government is sending by encouraging kids to stay out after midnight.

Senator Sarbanes should have voted to cut out all the liberal "feel-good" social programs and voted for some good old fashioned punishment.

Unacceptable social behavior should be stigmatized, not encouraged. Society should not reward drug dealers with jobs as counselors. It is ludicrous anyway to think that a young, gun-toting junkie punk is going to go straight just because the feds are going to pay him to do so. Poverty does not cause crime. A lack of moral values causes crime.

If Congress wants a solution, here's one. Give Baltimore City money to rent a big warehouse and invite all the junkies to come in and shoot up all the free drugs they want. The city already gives them free needles.

This would keep the drug abusers off the streets and put the dealers out of business. That solution is no less ludicrous than inviting the junkies to arts and crafts fairs or giving them dancing lessons.

Senator Sarbanes could have voted for a real crime bill that brought back punishment and stigmatized offenders; not a bill that holds them up as role models.

Even the strong crime-fighting language that did survive the House-Senate conference was weakened and handcuffed with federal rules and mandates that will ultimately defeat their purposes.

More politics as usual. Shame on you, Mr. Sarbanes.

Eric R. Martin

Perry Hall

Our medical care is the best

My letter has to do with President Clinton's health bill. I agree that every citizen in the United States should have health insurance.

However, I am opposed to a plan that would take away the rights of the people to choose their own physician and hospital and punish them for switching to another doctor, other than the one appointed or assigned for their care including fines and jailing.

The other objection to the plan is the cost. No one has put an exact cost except that it will be mammoth.

I've heard the Democratic senator from New York, on the Finance Committee, say we couldn't afford to fund such a plan.

I also cannot understand why President Clinton insists that everyone has to join this plan.

Why can't we take care of the estimated 15 to 20 percent of the people who do not have health insurance?

The young, most of them who are employed and don't want health insurance, but can afford it or can pay a good part of the cost.

Those who can afford health insurance, but insurance companies will not insure them because of medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease or a history of past cancer, etc.

Last, but not least, those persons now unemployed, through retirement, loss of job and insurance, or too old to get rehired or to obtain health insurance, cost is too high, but could afford to pay something toward an insurance policy.

This 15 to 20 percent group could be handled through the welfare system, Social Security or agreement with insurance companies, instead of forming another large system like Social Security and hiring thousands of people to administer the plan.

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