Prey on the weakThe attempt of the Republican Congress to...

the Forum

January 25, 1995

Prey on the weak

The attempt of the Republican Congress to cut the deficit at the expense of so-called entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and welfare makes one wonder how far we have become civilized, so to speak.

My point is this. Have you ever observed how in Africa or Alaska, when big cats or wolves stalk a herd of animals, they try to cut out the old or weak to get a meal? It's what you call preying on the weakest.

Certainly there is a similarity between this attempt to prey on the weakest in our society when there are more able-bodied places to cut costs.

The attempt to revive supply side economics that helped raise the deficit in the first place proves that experience hasn't taught us much. There are ways to cut the deficit without putting the burden on the least able to shoulder it. Doesn't it really come down to selfishness?

A real test of the progress of civilization is the value it puts on

human life. Putting burdens on the older and weaker members doesn't say much for a progressive society that rates itself above the animal kingdom.

Erwin Koerber


Education is key

In "Hard choices, hard time" (news story, Jan. 14), it was reported that "17 youths from the Pen Lucy neighborhood in northeast Baltimore got first-hand glimpses of . . . the bad. The good. The role model."

While it may do some good to expose youths to "A Day of Reality" in order for them to have an understanding of choices they may have to face, there really is little chance they will have the tools for them to make the right choices.

Not only do they have a lousy education system to deal with, but they also face an increasingly technological society where they are mostly unprepared for what few jobs are available.

Until these issues are addressed, no amount of "reality" will keep our young people out of the criminal justice system.

Moreover, the lure of drugs and the potential profits that can be made will continue to victimize our youths as long as they see little hope for any alternatives.

Our youths are involved in the drug industry for a number of reasons. I believe the main reason is the fact that many of them are helping their families make ends meet in an economy that has left them with little alternative. We must begin to offer some viable alternatives and some hope for all people.

Education is the key. We must make learning relevant and exciting, and there must be the potential to obtain a decent job once a student graduates from school.

As it is now, most students' education, particularly in the inner city, is irrelevant and unchallenging and certainly does not prepare them for the high-tech world of work.

We as a society have the ability and the resources to raise the hopes and standard of living of all our people.

If we choose to continue to ignore the needs of millions of people, especially the children of our poorest cities, then the uprising that occurred in south-central Los Angeles will be duplicated many times over in the not too distant future.

Robert Jenusaitis


Folks in high places

Susan Mannion wanted to know why the Calvert School program isn't being instituted on a city-wide basis, since this program had such great success at Barclay Elementary School (letter, Jan. 6).

Think about it. Could the following be the answer?

There are people in high places with impressive degrees in the Baltimore City school system who would be hurt by this.

These are well-established people paid big bucks to implement programs and forever change the curriculum. What would they do if the Calvert School way of educating was in every school in Baltimore City?

Would these elite educators get a "pink slip"?

Nancy Dvorak

Middle River

A far better death

Dale Bartlett of the Humane Society of the United States writes of wounded animals being terrorized in traps for up to 24 hours (Forum, Jan. 3).

He should be, and probably is, aware that the largest number of animals trapped in Maryland are water animals such as muskrat, mink and beaver.

I am sure he is also aware that they predominantly are trapped with the conebear-type trap that is designed to kill the animal instantly. There is no waiting, and pain is minimized.

Foxes are the primary target in Maryland for which the foothold trap is used.

Because of the possibility of catching non-target animals on dry land, the conebear trap is neither a legal nor ethical option. (Yes, trappers have ethics too.)

A fox will not enter a cage trap. The only practical option is the foothold trap that permits release of non-target animals.

If Mr. Bartlett had ever walked a trap line, he would know that with the proper size traps foxes either suffer no damage to the foot or leg or minimal skin breaks, rubs or bruises at the most.

One thing I think works in the animal's favor in terms of any pain experienced is that reduced circulation may quickly numb the affected area.

He would also know that before they become aware of the trapper's presence, most trapped foxes appear to be calm and not at all "terrorized."

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