A free press is vital to democracyFor over 200 years this...

the Forum

September 13, 1994

A free press is vital to democracy

For over 200 years this republic has remained a democracy primarily because of a free, non-governmental press supported by citizens in all walks of life.

As The Baltimore Sun is well aware, the decline in the number of newspaper readers seems to be a barometer of our nation's inability to grasp the importance of keeping up with local, national and world events.

Young people especially -- and unfortunately -- are not reading newspapers these days.

When the citizens of a nation do not read newspapers or discuss their contents, it is an indication that many are no longer interested in that nation's health or in safekeeping the democratic traditions.

As responsible adults, educators and interested citizens, we should encourage our young to read the daily newspapers and (( evaluate them.

This nation cannot afford to see newspaper after newspaper go into oblivion because of a lack of readers. A nation without a variety of free and independent newspapers cannot long survive as a democracy.

ohn A. Micklos


Good Samaritan?

The Cuban and Haitian immigration problems are not the only immigration problems this country faces.

We tend to forget about the influx of Mexicans, South Americans and Asians in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, who come into this country illegally and whose numbers continue to grow.

Where are other countries of this hemisphere, and what are they doing to help?

Where are other countries when it comes to aid for people in need?

Are the people of the United States the only ones to reach out a helping hand?

hilip E. Cvach


Health biz

Does "managed competition" mean that one competing entity will go bankrupt and be absorbed by the other?

If cost were our principal basis for decision, would we all be driving Yugos?

When mechanics cannot fix a certain make of car so it won't stall out in traffic, should we expect medical care to be by rote guidelines, regardless of the person of the patient or the working relationship between patient and doctor?

Mary O. Styrt


Who's at fault?

Three cheers for Marie Armstrong's letter, "Failed homes create failures in school" (Forum, July 27).

When and how long will it take the parents of today's school children, and for that matter all of us, to stop pointing our fingers at the "other guy"? When things don't work out -- our grades are terrible, my boss is picking on me, etc., it becomes the norm to go "outside" and find the fault. As uncomfortable as it feels, the only way the problems are going to get any better is our self acceptance and our realization that it is up to us.

Studies show the child's personality is formed before he goes to school (his first five years). I had the privilege of teaching (I liked it) for 31 years.

Most of my students learned probably in spite of me. I can't take credit for their success, but I was acutely aware of one main fact by the time I retired, and that is a teacher is limited in what they can teach, especially if the support is not given at home.

Working mothers are sacrificing the best part of their children's lives by not being home the first six years of their life.

The old "I have to work to pay for this and that" is taking its toll. Our 50 percent divorce rate is taking its toll. Our 40-60 percent out-of-wedlock children is taking its toll.

To ask the government, teachers, etc. to take care of the problem will simply not work -- failed homes are creating failed schools. It's not our education system but our way of living, our homes. Let's stop pointing our fingers and blaming the other guy.

Mike Loucas


Sensible alternative

Much taxpayer money and police officers' time went into the recent multiple drug raids that resulted in many arrests ("Druid Heights raiders nab 9, get drugs, cash," Sept. 1).

Within a very few days, as everyone knows, other dealers will hack out spots in the same or surrounding neighborhoods. There will likely be more, not fewer, shootings, as the dealers forced out by the raids move into territory already controlled by competing gangs.

If a significant amount of drugs is confiscated, the street price will increase and the addicts will be compelled to steal even more from their neighbors.

The number of desperate addicts has not changed. The names of some of the dealers may change, but not the number of deals. Some neighborhoods may be a bit quieter for a few days, but others will see increased drug activity.

And of course the drug kingpins will not be touched.

So why do the authorities go through all this nonsense where everybody loses?

Isn't it about time we began opting for some sensible alternative -- such as providing drugs to addicts at nominal cost -- that minimizes the number of new addicts as well as the damage the addict does to self and neighbors?

A. Robert Kaufman


We must take time to value Baltimore wildlife

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