No joy felt over Inca child's horrible deathHow quickly...


June 02, 1996

No joy felt over Inca child's horrible death

How quickly -- and almost joyfully -- we can gloss over the horrid ritual death of an Inca girl [whose 500-year-old, mummified body was examined recently at Johns Hopkins University].

They did it for religion and we do it for "science," our current favorite religion.

We read about the feelings of "honor" felt by the family (was Mother as excited as Father; was she allowed to speak?), but not the victim's possibly unspoken feelings of fear, betrayal and dread. Forced intoxication is seen as merciful, and it's assumed that the vomit found after the girl's death was a result of this, not extreme fear or pain.

It's also assumed that she was knocked unconscious and stayed that way until she ''died . . . in the burial pit.'' The other possibility is too horrific to think about.

We need to temper this grant-driven "joy" with a little compassionate reflection, lest we lose our moral capacity altogether. Frankly, I'd rather subsidize a provocative painting.

Lizbeth T. Binks


Spotting the issue of domestic violence

A thunderous round of applause to Gregory Kane for his brilliant column, ''Whining ill becomes O.J., a byword to wife-beaters,'' May 25. In a fluid yet thought-provoking style, Mr. Kane captured many Americans' alarm over the O.J. verdict and the national issue of domestic violence.

I believe the linchpin of his argument and our frustration is found in his words, ''but there is a world of difference between being found not guilty and being innocent.'' Just as important, Mr. Kane's balance reminded us of the many African-American athletes who are superb role models for all of us. Get that? All of us.

2& Thanks for his wisdom and courage.

Jo Anne S. Palmore


Care where animals raised for slaughter

In her article about the new Fresh Fields store in Baltimore (May 23, "A new market's fresh food fare draws a crowd"), Jean Marbella said the store sells ''deli meats that, as the sign says, 'come from animals raised in a clean, fresh environment,' which seems to matter not a lick if you end up at the slicer machine, anyway.''

It is the unthinking attitude of people such as Ms. Marbella that allows large segments of the meat industry to get away with terrible animal neglect and abuse, and to operate in revoltingly unsanitary conditions.

Before Ms. Marbella writes any more food commentaries, she should visit some of the animal factories that don't provide a clean, fresh environment. She would learn that it matters a great deal, both to the animals and to the eventual consumers.

Kate Henshall


School 33 Art Center serves city well

School 33 Art Center is a project worthy of Baltimore City's support.

Over the past 15 years, this active center run by a tiny and dedicated staff has provided art classes, gallery exhibitions and spaces for working artists who open their studios for the edification and enjoyment of the public.

The May 1 article by Eric Siegel, "Incidental spending costs city millions," was incorrect in discussing a proposed city subsidy for School 33 Art Center. My understanding is that the city's financial support for the center is only $67,000, or about a third of the $210,000 budget mentioned in the article.

This is quite a deal, considering the number and scope of programs provided for that minimal amount of money.

Two after-school programs (one at Arnett J. Brown Jr. Middle School and another for neighborhood kids at School 33 in South Baltimore) serve children who need an opportunity to create something positive in a safe environment.

Open studios and changing gallery exhibitions give the general public a chance to see inventive processes in working environments as well as the finished objects on display.

Through these programs, young people and adults are given a chance to learn a process, create with their hands and minds and discover something about themselves.

If our city's concern about education is sincere, then School 33 Art Center must be considered a cost-effective gain for the citizens of Baltimore.

Linda De Palma


Handgun law a joke to criminals

The recent passage of a less-than-significant piece of legislation by the Maryland General Assembly is one of the greatest examples of the unwillingness and inability of our state's elected officials to effectively face up to and deal with a very serious problem -- violent crime.

Specifically, the poorly conceived and ill-considered handgun-control bill, now the law of the land, will never have any impact on the pervasive and pernicious crime rate in this state.

What a comfort it is to know that the law-abiding citizens of Maryland are now limited by law to buying only one handgun per month. That's only 12 handguns per year! By the same legislation, spearheaded by the grossly gullible and misguided Gov. Parris N. Glendening, any person with a criminal mind-set can and will still have, at any given time, any number of handguns he wants in his possession.

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