Tailhook Award Won't Replace Personal LossI wish to thank...


November 24, 1994

Tailhook Award Won't Replace Personal Loss

I wish to thank Thomas F. Allen of Severn for his Nov. 14 letter on the Tailhook controversy. I was finally able to find closure to several issues that have bothered me for years.

During the exposure of Tailhook and the investigations that were not investigations, I constantly wondered how could this have happened.

I was confused when I heard of the women who were raped and abused during the Persian Gulf war. It was difficult to look at the defenders of our country, whom we supported as heroes, and be shown this hidden harbor of harassment. It was difficult to balance.

During the trials against the Los Angeles Police Department for the beating of Rodney King, I began to get a glimmer of part of the problem.

Whenever I hear a racial slur or ethnic slander, it is reasonable to expect comments against women from the same mouthpiece.

Mr. Allen made it perfectly clear to me, in his letter that echoes the John Arnicks of this world, two Baltimore County judges and several high-ranking Maryland state troopers.

No matter how much legislation is passed to make it against the law to violate someone's civil rights, by denying them employment without being physically, racially or sexually harassed, it can never be stopped completely because stupidity is the greatest violator.

Mr. Allen wrote, "If you are going to talk the talk, then you have to walk the walk." This statement is in defense of the "boys" who were just having fun. By Mr. Allen's definition, a woman who enters the military, a police department or any other "male" domain is just asking for it. As he states, "What did she expect?"

I would imagine that she expected what every working American expected, to work in her chosen field in an environment that was safe in every way.

Mr. Allen touts political correctness being ahead of true justice. Paula Coughlin reported behavior that was against criminal and civil violations. Mr. Allen states, "Had she been raped, I would have a different opinion." This is haunting because it echoes the sentiments of many men in positions of authority and accountability . . .

When Lieutenant Coughlin complained to her supervisors of being battered and of other women having their clothes torn off, a cover-up occurred.

The real issues were not brought forth until a Senate investigation was initiated. In Maryland, it appears we have a similar cover-up by the attorney general's office for the Maryland State Police, who again seem to feel it is better to hide the facts than punish the abusers (The Sun, Oct. 9) . . .

I am always outraged at those who feel that a favorable lawsuit is like winning the lottery. A lawsuit is a long and arduous process and there is usually little financial gain. Any financial award generally could not replace what has been lost.

The Sun reported, concerning one of the state troopers who had been abused, that all she had ever wanted was an apology and the assurance that it would not happen again.

How sad that stupidity replaces what most should have learned as a child, to have consideration for others and to apologize for mistakes and mean it.

aula Toungston

Bel Air

Simplistic Solution

Usually I find your editorials thoughtful, thorough and often educational. "Power Rangers or Public Enemies" (Oct. 22) was none of the above.

As a mother of three, I resent your patronizing advice that, in an age of media violence and children killing children, I "spend time with [my] children. Talk to them. Hug them. Read them books."

Any loving and conscientious parent knows and does those things. Do you think anyone read those words and said, "Oh! Is that what I meant to do? I never thought of that"?

You state that "complexities" (not, you argue, simply Power Rangers or toy guns) "lead a youngster to seriously harm or kill another." But then you go on to prescribe a simplistic solution. "A healthy and active upbringing" will, you assure me, "neutralize" the negative influences of television and accompanying corruptive influences.

I wish that instead of providing this trite (and, to me, condescending) answer, you had taken on the more difficult task of exploring those "complexities" you first mentioned.

Our three children watch neither TV nor videos, period. Nonetheless, the older two (ages 3 1/2 and 5) know who and what the Power Rangers are, and they have attempted a deathly kung-fu move or two in imitation.

They also know full-well who Barney is, the Ninja Turtles and every single Sesame Street character. Television and advertisers have a frightening capacity to penetrate the minds and psyches even of those who never turn on the box.

I am reminded of cigarette smoke which, we have learned, penetrates and destroys even those who never take a puff.

As I watch various legislatures develop no-smoking laws, I am inclined to question your blanket statement that "a free society will never be able to exclude the potential influences (or characters like Power Rangers and Beavis and Butt-head) from a child's world."

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