Holocaust study includes reasons whyMaybe I missed...

the Forum

January 17, 1995

Holocaust study includes reasons why

Maybe I missed something in my reading of the article regarding the firing of Christina Jeffrey [newly appointed historian of the U.S. House of Representatives], so even at the risk of being castigated for my lack of perception, I must ask, what can be learned from a history lesson about events so searing to the human mind as the Holocaust, so repellent as ongoing anti-Semitism and racism, without looking at the ideology of the aberrant monstrosities that breed them?

As far as I could tell from your report, Dr. Jeffrey neither espoused nor advocated teaching the isms she cited.

Nine years ago, she rendered a professional, clinical observation that "the Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view . . . as is that of the Ku Klux Klan," and implied they should

be examined as factors in the inhumanities they precipitated.

The Holocaust happened. It can't be undone. Hatred and intolerance of one group for another continue to fester and a scintilla of ignorance could cause a new holocaust any day. Witness the anti-abortionists' judgment that their violence and killing are justified.

It seems to me that understanding the mind-set that drives individuals, groups or nations to regard others as inferior and not worthy of life is the best way to avoid similar abominations in the future.

Joseph DeMarco

Baltimore

Punitive damage

If a consumer is injured by a product purchased, sues the manufacturer and wins the case, he or she is awarded compensatory damages. These are paid for any financial or physical loss, they are supposedly full compensation for such losses. This is just.

In many cases, however, there is a punitive damage assessment made by the court, to discipline the manufacturer for selling a faulty product.

If the litigant has received compensation for all damages suffered, he or she is entitled to no more. Any other payment is a profit.

The supposed purpose of ''punitive damages'' is to discipline the guilty, not to enrich the injured.

Punitive damages assessed by a court in any suit should be awarded to the political subdivision in which the suit takes place.

The change would reduce litigation, lead to out-of-court settlements, and help all citizens who eventually pay for increased product costs.

Charles D. Connelly

Baltimore

Academy news

I can see the dollar signs lighting up in the eyes of many University of Maryland administrators based on Jonathan Bor's piece on Robert Gallo, the "famed scientist" (Dec. 29).

Can you imagine the stature the University of Maryland system would attain if Dr. Gallo and his team were to come up with an AIDS cure while working for UM? Instant success and fame. The coffers filled to overflowing!

I recall a column by Morris Freedman entitled "Buying 'Stature' " dated Oct. 24, 1986. It was written in response to a Nobel prize-winner in economics being gobbled up by George Mason University.

I believe an analogy can be drawn even if the fame is derived under slightly different circumstances.

Professor Freedman wrote:

fTC "But universities which build their status on puffery, by slapping names onto facades, without sustaining solid teaching and research, may get their 15 minutes or so of Andy Warhol's fame but little else."

Another situation just reported in the Dec. 30 Sun has a similar pattern, the resignation of President William C. Richardson at the Johns Hopkins University.

Here, instead of trying to find someone to run this prestigious institution from within the ranks, it is assumed by The Sun and others that the university will spend a year searching from among those "up-and-comers" at slightly lesser schools who are just waiting to be handed a higher visibility job, or pull off a real coup and land a "name" candidate.

I would assume the reason is money. The bigger the name and more notable the personality, the better the chance of raising funds.

While The Sun can't find enough good things to say about Dr. Richardson in its editorial, it is interesting how money is never mentioned in the equation.

I wonder how many average residents of Baltimore or the surrounding community even know who Dr. Richardson is. Without his resignation, The Sun would probably have gone another year without commenting on the Hopkins.

It might possibly pop up in a feature section article if another report came out on food quality or boredom at the school, but The Sun spends its time wondering which method to select into order to teach Johnnie to read in a society flooded with more reading material than ever existed in the past. So much for education in Maryland.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Keg law

I was initially supportive of the legislature's initiative to curb the problem of teen-age keg parties through a law requiring the purchaser's registration of kegs of beer. It was not until I recently purchased a keg that it became apparent to me that the law not only will not work, but that it puts a needless and expensive burden on the seller.

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