Speaker Taylor offers public apologyLanguage I used to...

LETTERS

January 17, 1996

Speaker Taylor offers public apology

Language I used to reporter C. Fraser Smith to describe Gov. Parris Glendening as "two-faced" was wrong and I regret using it. I want the public to know that I have apologized to the governor personally for this remark.

As one who constantly urges the highest level of public discourse, my comment was counterproductive and damaging to the process.

Governor Glendening and I have worked well together in the past and I expect a continued good friendship with him in the future as we work on difficult issues that face our state.

Casper R. Taylor Jr.

Annapolis

The writer is speaker of the House of Delegates.

Each human being is unique

While visiting the neighborhood library the other evening, I happened to overhear a conversation between some young people and senior citizens discussing how depressing and gloomy things are in the world.

''The news is downright dreadful. I've stopped reading the newspaper,'' said one senior.

Hopelessness and helplessness were the sentiments expressed as they continued their dialogue. The overall conclusion they reached was that this is a pretty mirthless planet on which we reside.

Sadly, and not unexpectedly, no solutions were offered from this inter-generational gathering.

Returning home that evening, I kept thinking about what I had heard and lamented that I, too, had no solution to offer.

It was only a few days later that I read a warm-hearted story in The Sun by Rafael Alvarez (Dec. 26) about a Catholic nun and a Jewish gentleman who shared a unique friendship. It was truly a timeless story.

Clearly, the story re-affirmed my belief that in order to deal with and do something to change the seemingly sad state of societal woes, we must find within ourselves the same tolerance, sensitivity and consideration that this Catholic nun and Jewish gentleman expressed for each other.

It occurred to me that there is a need for all of us to search for the new and beautiful in each other that perhaps we have failed to appreciate fully. We have the capacity of changing our outlook, and to a small extent, our immediate world by acknowledging that each human being is unique, special and invaluable.

Finally, let us all learn from the Catholic nun and Jewish gentleman that we can have dissimilar belief systems, come from different faiths and races and nationalities, and still live at peace and in harmony with others.

Avrum Samuel Shavrick

Baltimore

Good police work on handgun sales

The Maryland State Police under Col. David Mitchell should be commended for its innovative and most successful program to verify purchase of handguns (Operation Maryland Cease Fire).

Even gun enthusiasts must concede that secondary sales are a problem -- that a significant volume of weapons reaches the hands of criminals through unregulated and illegal transfers from ''straw'' purchases of multiple guns.

Michael Olesker's column of Jan. 4 documented a single incident where a police call to a young straw purchaser in Glen Burnie permitted 27 handguns to be traced to potential users in Cherry Hill.

The fact that more than 400 guns have already been removed from the streets under this program is testimony to its efficacy in eliminating the cheap guns most likely to wind up in the wrong hands, and to be used in commission of a crime.

The charge of ''Gestapo tactics'' is absurd. The voluntary cooperation of law-abiding citizens reflects their belief that gun ownership is not a right but a serious responsibility of good citizenship.

Michael A. Pretl

Baltimore

Snow shows we're better off without cars

We, as a state, have spent vast resources to unbury our cars and roads from the snow (at least $20 million for emergency road service, according to the Jan. 11 article, ''That costly white stuff'').

We have also spent unimaginable amounts of time and money through our personal efforts. But at the same time, we, as a

metropolitan area, are reducing our dedication to equitable and inexpensive public transportation with a proposed transit fare increase.

Maybe we should begin to question the very idea of user-operated transportation. Our unfailing and bizarre devotion to our automobiles disposes us to forget that cars cost us greatly -- personally and as a society.

Vast amounts of money go to ownership and operation. The vehicles create considerable pollution. Enormous expenditures and destruction of land occurs for road systems. And there's the intangible loss of that mysterious urban ritual of walking to where you want to go.

The revolution that would accompany the legislated elimination of personal automobile ownership would certainly eclipse any other conceivable political, economic, social or cultural revolutions. Our work and our community lives would merge and the middle class might finally reconcile itself to living with its disadvantaged urban brethren. The suburbs would vanish and we'd all be healthier for the walking and the cleaner air.

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