U.S. must free itself from the slavery to oilThere has...

LETTERS

September 26, 1996

U.S. must free itself from the slavery to oil

There has been much discussion concerning our proper role in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. The rationale of our current response has focused on our national interests, meaning oil. It is the major source of our energy supply and practically the total fountain of the Middle East's economy.

Cessation of our dependence on oil would free us from blackmail and the costs of confrontation. It would diminish the ability of our adversaries to fund the lethal weapons which ultimately will be aimed at us.

The importance of developing alternate and renewable sources of energy should be equated with our need to produce the atomic bomb during World War II. It should be reflected by the immediate investment of unlimited monetary and human resources to make use of the energy of sunlight, wind, waterfalls, ocean currents, electricity, batteries, fission of less dangerous compounds, etc. While seeking these solutions we can make better use of the natural gas and alcohol derived from grain and other plentiful substances. . . .

Marion Friedman

Baltimore

Owings house deal was misreported

Factual reporting is a cardinal rule in good journalism. Sun reporter Larry Carson fell short of this basic tenet in his Sept. 8 article on Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger.

First, the Samuel Owings House was voted off the Historic Register in 1980, thereby removing it from any considerations that might be granted it regarding renovation or demolition.

Second, there never was an agreement to raze the house ''brick by brick'' in order to facilitate its reconstruction. However, plans to rebuild the original house at another location are under way at this writing.

Third, your description of me as a ''key campaign fundraiser'' is overstated. I am committed to charitable giving to many concerns in my community, but my level of donation to the Ruppersberger campaign would hardly qualify me as a key contributor. . . .

And finally, regarding your headline, ''One-way ticket to political nowhere," I would remark that Mr. Ruppersberger is doing a solid job for Baltimore County in very difficult times. . . .

Howard Brown

Owings Mills

The writer is president of David S. Brown Enterprises.

Justice system works for suspects

Recently I was the victim of a crime and went through the justice system. To my surprise, I was almost as traumatized by the courtroom experience as by the incident itself.

I found that, indeed, "justice for all" means justice mostly for the defendants. I felt I had very few rights in a system that staunchly protects the rights of those accused.

I'm sure I would be happy about this one-sided protection if I were accused. And I know that these rights were made into law for those accused unjustly, and also to treat all persons with fairness.

However, fairness has turned into preferential treatment for those accused and even those convicted. The protection of the victim and of society as a whole has gotten lost.

We have an opportunity to stop these horrifying injustices. A "victim's rights" amendment to the constitution is being proposed. The amendment includes simple rights that most of us think we would have automatically -- the right to be informed, the right not to be excluded from many public proceedings and the right to be heard.

This amendment does not hamper criminal investigation or prosecution. It does not deprive accused persons of their rights and it does not create a cause of civil action for monetary damages.

Madelyn Rubin

Owings Mills

Baltimore militia fought at North Point

I commend The Sun for devoting space to local history with its recent story on ''Baltimore at war,'' in coverage of Defender's Day, Sept. 12.

The people of Baltimore indeed should take pride in those Baltimoreans who defended Baltimore in 1814. However, there needs to be a clarification about the militia.

The 1792 Militia Act of the United States and a Maryland state act of 1812 required all able-bodied white male citizens between 18 and 45 years of age to do militia duty. Thus the militia consisted of many men other than the farmers of the area.

If it were up to the farmers of the area, the British forces could not have been stopped. The demography of that time shows very few people living in the part of Baltimore County where the Battle of North Point took place.

It is almost impossible to find any Baltimore County citizens involved in the battle. The Maryland Militia soldiers who fought it were members of Brig. Gen. John Stricker's Third Brigade, which consisted of citizens of Baltimore City.

If one examines the order of battle of the United States forces, it consisted of the 5th, 6th, 27th and 39th regiments from the city of Baltimore. Thus Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith, General Stricker and Privates Daniel Wells and Henry McComas were city residents, not Baltimore countians.

The 11th Brigade of Baltimore County consisted of the 7th, 15th, 36th, 41st and 46th regiments. They did not participate in the battle.

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