Sweet LeadTo your Aug. 22 article on lead poisoning, I...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 13, 1995

Sweet Lead

To your Aug. 22 article on lead poisoning, I wish to add three notes.

First, many lead paint flakes have a sweet taste. Check me on this, but lead oxide was once known as sugar of lead.

Second, if your residence is plumbed with soldered copper, letting the water run for a while makes it much safer to drink. The water absorbs significant amounts of lead only while standing in the pipe.

Third, if lead paint is flaking, of course scrape it, but pick it up with a broom and dust-pan rather than vacuum-cleaner. The best of vacuum filters still pass a fair amount of very fine dust, and the cleaner motor grinds the flakes into just that.

McKenny W. Egerton Jr.

Owings Mills

For Gun Bounty

My letter is in response to a Sept. 2 article concerning Sen. John Pica Jr.'s initiative to introduce more handgun legislation in the next session of the legislature.

I fail to understand what he hopes to accomplish.

The Digest of Criminal Laws distributed by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions lists approximately eight pages of legislation dealing with handguns, and this is small print. My point is we have more than enough law impacting on handguns; what we need is somehow to make an impact on those who illegally carry handguns on the streets of Baltimore.

Mr. Pica is well intentioned, but he doesn't seem to understand that the people of this city want something done now, not in January. So here is what I suggest -- a handgun bounty.

In August of 1974 city leaders started a gun bounty program and it should never have been terminated in June of 1975. The bounty program paid $100 for any anonymous tip which led to the arrest of someone carrying an illegal handgun.

Today that would mean anyone who did not meet the exceptions rule as described in Art. 27, Sec. 36B of the Maryland Handgun Law or did not have a permit to carry a handgun.

The old bounty plan removed, on average, an illegal handgun a day from our streets, and they were quality guns, not trash. These are the guns we want off the street today, along with the "human trash" that uses them to kill and wound us.

You don't have to wait until January to start a gun bounty -- you can start it within a week. You set up a special confidential phone number that operates 24 hours a day. Money for the bounty can come from the forfeiture/gambling/drugs contraband revenue account which was established by the city to bank its share of seized assets taken from the folks who bring us our most violent episodes -- drug dealers.

If our "community leaders" want to get guns off the streets, let's do something other than verbal hand-wringing about how awful all this violence is and how something has to be done. set up a gun bounty and help the police do their job. People are dying.

James G. Giza

Baltimore

Misquoted?

Surely our governor was misquoted in The Sun's Aug. 28 story about the repairs and redecoration of his office. He could not, would not have said, "If a citizen walked in here they would be embarrassed . . ."

Would he not have been more apt to say something like, "Any citizen who walked in here would be embarrassed . . ."?

Braxton Mitchell

Ruxton

My Experience

In his Aug. 12 letter, Prof. Wayne C. McWilliams states his belief that it is only a myth that the atomic bombing of Japan saved lives. It is obvious that his belief is based solely on the selective use of "documentary evidence."

My differing opinion is based on the whole of my personal experience.

I was born in Japan and lived near the Edo River, across from Tokyo, until May 1945. During this time more people were killed there by conventional bombing than were later killed by atom bombs.

Our life in that area was one of constant terror. Several times a day we had to go into crowded bomb shelters. Once, when I left the shelter to go to the toilet, the ground was showered with bullets by an American P-40. Since I was the only pedestrian in sight, I guess the pilot was trying to kill me. My unending fear was that my every waking minute might also be my last.

Like all students in the Tokyo area, I had to work in a war plant. My job was to clean old spark plugs for use in kamikaze craft. The plant was a 90-minute trip away by electric train. The trip was sometimes interrupted by air raids, and the train had to be stopped so we could get into shelters. This meant my trip could stretch out to six hours.

The worst Tokyo bombing occurred on the night of March 9, when over 150,000 Japanese civilians, including many of my classmates, lost their lives. In the bright light of the ground fire, TC we could see the B-29s' bay doors opening directly over our heads and then the bombs descending on Tokyo. After that, my widowed mother decided to take my sister, brother and me to Hiroshima Prefecture to live with relatives. I was 16 at the time.

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