Enrollment decline explainedIn response to the article in...

the Forum

January 03, 1995

Enrollment decline explained

In response to the article in The Evening Sun Dec. 19 regarding the decline in applications to the Naval Academy, I agree that the six-year commitment could be part of the reason for fewer applicants.

However, I feel that another valid reason for the decline is the fact that beginning with the graduating class of 1997 the graduates will not be commissioned into the Navy or the Marine Corps, but into the Reserves.

Once in the Reserves, these Naval Academy graduates must compete with Reserve Officers Training Corps and Officers Candidate School graduates for billets in the Navy.

Since the same type of commissioning is earned at a regular four-year college without all the restrictions of academy life, I feel more students are opting for ROTC and a four-year commitment.

Perhaps, if Congress would decide to change the length of service to be fulfilled following graduation from the Naval Academy, then the academy would also revert to commissioning in either the Navy or Marine Corps instead of the Reserves.

Students committed enough to the military to spend four years of rigorous academic and military life at the Naval Academy should be guaranteed a position in the service of their choice in which to fulfill their military obligation.

Joyce F. Stahl

Baltimore

Inhumane trapping

Some of the comments made by Catonsville trapper Robert L. Dunker Jr. (letter. Dec. 21) in response to my Dec. 8 letter warrant scrutiny.

Mr. Dunker wrote of "pathetic, diseased foxes," claiming that wildlife starvation and disease can be stemmed by trapping.

The Centers for Disease Control do not advocate trapping to stem wildlife disease. The National Academy of Sciences says trapping campaigns as a means of rabies control should be abolished, because they don't work.

Because sarcoptic mange, the disease most common to foxes, is highly contagious, only selective trapping for mangy foxes could even begin to reduce its incidence.

But that's impossible because trappers catch far more healthy, active animals than diseased ones.

Populations of fur-bearing animals are managed to ensure a surplus. If the goal were to reduce absolute numbers of fur-bearers, trapping would be allowed year round, and populations would not be allowed to rebound each off-season.

Mr. Dunker suggested that death by trapping was less cruel than by natural causes. After languishing for up to 24 hours in a trap where they are wounded, all but immobilized, and in a severe state of fright, trapped animals may be clubbed to death with a shovel or have their chests caved in by a trapper's boot.

The year 1994 saw the European Union implement a ban against leg- hold traps, Alaska halt its wolf-snaring program, Arizona voters ban trapping on public lands and California file cruelty charges against a fur farm.

The goals, motivations and views of the fur industry are increasingly less compatible with prevailing public sentiment.

Dale Bartlett

Washington

The writer represents the Humane Society of the United States.

Thanks be

We've heard thanks expressed to God, President Clinton, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Michael Seipp and all sorts of other folk who have worked long and hard to bring $100 million in federal aid to three of Baltimore's most beleaguered neighborhoods.

Perhaps thanks should also be given to the American taxpayer, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Ted L. Pearson

Baltimore

Random kindness

In the Dec. 2 paper, Dan Rodricks' column, "Mystery man rides Manatee to rescue of stranded foursome," caught my eye.

It shows that there are people who will take time from their daily routines to help fellow travelers in times of trouble.

The column brought to mind an incident that happened to me. I'm sure that there are other persons who will remember being in similar circumstances.

I was involved in an accident during the morning rush hour. Nothing serious, but traffic backed up quickly and things were tense.

A gentleman pulled over and offered those of us involved in the accident the use of his car phone to notify work and spouses of what had happened.

I called work and declined to call home since it was a long distance call. The gentleman assured me it was not a problem and the call was made.

Things got hectic, and when I thought of the gentleman who stopped, he was long gone. I never got to tell him how much I appreciated what he had done or to offer to reimburse him for the calls.

Since that time I have been more aware of people in trouble and take time to offer my assistance when I can.

Dan Rodricks' column is a reminder to us all that there are things we can do to help others.

The Rivelises and their friends are to be commended for taking the time to try and thank the man who helped them.

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