Negative ToneAs pleased as we are that the Belair-Edison...


April 11, 1995

Negative Tone

As pleased as we are that the Belair-Edison community made the front page of The Sun April 3, we are distressed by the negative tone of the three captions used in the article.

One's eye is caught immediately by the headlines, "Belair-Edison's efforts fail to stop flight to suburbs" and "Picture-perfect area falls victim to trend."

If that isn't enough, one turns to the continuation of the article and is greeted by, "Belair: Handsome Northeast Baltimore neighborhood losing residents to suburbs."

Luca Zacharias, president of the Belair-Edison Community Association, is quoted as saying: "I hate the perception because that's what is killing all of us -- the perception."

The perception that Belair-Edison and Baltimore City are unsafe and undesirable places to live is reinforced by articles in The Sun that continue to convey that message.

So much good could have been done if the headline had been, "Belair-Edison embraces and celebrates its diversity: Picture-perfect area attracts suburban residents"

Such a caption would have focused attention on the good work being done by the people in Belair-Edison and by organizations like St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center and Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. to maintain the community's stable integration.

It would also have directed attention to Debbie Straka, David Sann, Kelley Ray and others like them who have chosen to move from the suburbs back into Baltimore City. They seem to me more newsworthy than those who leave.

Martin A. Dyer


The writer represents Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc.

Armed Thugs

I found your April 6 article, "Armed thugs feeling the crackdown," very interesting and rewarding.

For years now, the National Rifle Association and believers in firearm freedoms and the Second Amendment to the Constitution have pleaded for the enforcement of the more than 20,000 gun control laws currently on the books across the nation.

We have said that harshly punishing criminals who break existing laws, such as carrying a firearm without a license, would greatly reduce crime and protect the law-abiding citizen's right to own firearms and defend his home and family.

And you know what? We were right. A hearty "Right on!" to the prosecutors who are charging the convicted criminals with illegally carrying firearms, rather than plea bargaining away that serious crime. Let's continue to punish the criminals and make them pay for breaking the law.

We certainly don't need to target the law-abiding citizen with any more foolish, ineffective gun control.

After all, trying to solve the problem of crime by forcing the law-abiding citizen to practice gun control is like trying to solve the social problem of unwed mothers by forcing happily married, faithful couples to practice birth-control.

It's the criminals, stupid!

William Banks


Suspect Figures

On April 4, your paper published an Associated Press story that stated that 1.1 million Vietnamese troops died and 600,000 were wounded in the Vietnam war.

These were official figures released by Hanoi 20 years after the Vietnam war. Comparing the Vietnamese number to the U.S. numbers might allow your readers to question Hanoi's official numbers.

The United States reports casualties from the Vietnam war as 58,156 (including POW/MIAs), of which 47,359 are hostile deaths and 10,797 are non-hostile deaths.

The United States reports 303,704 wounded, of which 153,329 were hospitalized and 150,375 injured did not require hospital care.

The United States reports that for every death there were about six wounded, while Vietnam reports that more combat deaths occurred than wounded. Hanoi either understated its wounded or overstated its deaths by a factor of six.

Hanoi claims "officially" to have 300,000 MIAs, but the United States claims to have only about 2,200 MIAs. It appears to me that Hanoi has overstated and exaggerated its losses.

Michael Van Atta


The writer is chairman of the Live POW Lobby of America.

AARP Grants

Great balls of fire! Someone in Congress, namely Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, has finally awakened to the fact that the multi-million-dollar American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has been receiving millions of dollars of taxpayer money in the form of federal grants.

In fact, as Senator Simpson reports, up to 19 percent of their $454 million revenue represents a federal government gift to this organization.

Surely several years ago, when AARP purchased prime real estate (two blocks from our nation's Capitol), and erected an extremely costly headquarters building, a very brilliant light should have been set off in the brain of some Congress member that the 19 percent grant money should be directed away from AARP -- perhaps back to taxpayers as a tax reduction or better still for deficit reduction. However, this would probably have been too practical for congressional thinking.

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