INS targets chicken pluckersIn the last month there have...


September 27, 1996

INS targets chicken pluckers

In the last month there have been two articles reporting Immigration and Naturalization Service raids on the Eastern Shore. INS agents are deporting illegal immigrants with the power and fierceness of true crime fighters. And who have they caught in their net? Colombian drug dealers? Smugglers and would-be terrorists? I don't think so.

They have deported chicken pluckers and flower pickers. These hard-working immigrants are overwhelmingly Hispanic and many are mothers and fathers of young children. In some cases the children are U.S. citizens. The children can stay, but their mother has to go. In other cases, one spouse is a legal immigrant while the other spouse is illegal. No matter. If the INS determined the workers' documents were not legal, out they went with a swiftness that is terrifying.

I know that the INS agents are carrying out the ''law.''

I'm glad these INS agents were not around when my great-grandparents and grandparents came to America. If any of them had been deported and sent back to Eastern Europe, I know where my family would be now -- buried in mass graves at Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Sherlynn Matesky

Owings Mills

Last thing needed is another drug store

For some time, I used to imagine something wonderful and different occupying the unkempt parking lot where Howard Street is met by the terminus of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

I hoped that there was some planner/visionary within the bureaucracy of City Hall seeing what I saw in my mind's eye -- a welcoming, lushly landscaped plaza with a fountain or perhaps a well-scaled and detailed architectural gem of a building for public use.

Of course someone would think of that. This was the northern end of the mayor's much touted ''Avenue of the Arts." The Meyerhoff is around the corner, perhaps a new performance center will rise on the Monumental Life property across the street. Antique Row and the charming shopping area of Read Street are a stone's throw away.

So imagine my delight to see construction crews hard at work bringing another Rite-Aid store to life. I'd like to think that a need exists within the community to support such a venture, especially with the old Hecht's housing one several blocks to the south. Honestly, how many drug stores does one city need?

Even if the surrounding community truly could use a store of this type, couldn't another location be found? The value of this particular plot of land in the context of rebuilding the city's core far exceeds any price tag some commercial developer could apply. You certainly wouldn't see a Rite-Aid store being thrown up on the site of the old McCormick building on Light Street, would you?

This city's administration continues to display a lack of sensitivity to the built environment and how it affects the psyche of its citizens. I am sick and tired of this continuing effort to make the city look like the suburbs.

If the mayor and his crew think that bringing the 'burbs to the city will keep people from fleeing, they're wrong. More than likely, people are leaving because they are tired of paying high taxes for bad schools, dirty streets and rising crime; not for some driving need to be among strip malls and bland architecture.

Joseph Leatherman


Gun laws render us self-defenseless

I am writing to comment on recent events in Baltimore that defy explanation and deserve our outrage.

As reported in The Sun on Aug. 26, Curtis Smalls was standing outside the USF&G building when he was attacked by two thugs. They knocked him down, robbed and stabbed him. Mr. Smalls pulled a .38 caliber revolver and shot both attackers, who were later charged with this attack and two other robberies and are suspects in at least 15 more robberies. For his life-saving, self-defensive action, Mr. Smalls was rewarded with a criminal summons for a handgun violation because he did not have a permit to carry a handgun. The police also confiscated his handgun.

In another case reported by The Sun on Sept. 19, James Scott, 83, of West Baltimore, always kept a .22 caliber rifle for protection from repeated burglaries. It was taken away by police after he shot and wounded an intruder last year. Charges filed against him eventually were placed on the inactive docket, but the system rendered him defenseless. On Sept. 19, Mr. Scott was strangled to death by an intruder.

In the Aug. 28 Wall Street Journal, John R. Lott Jr., a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, previewed a study about the effect of concealed handgun laws. One of his substantiated observations was that in counties with more than 200,000 people that adopted right-to-carry concealed handgun laws murder ,X rates dropped an average of 13 percent. . . .

Why is it that Mr. Smalls and Mr. Scott understood this important truth and the Baltimore City Police and other Maryland authorities do not? Or, is it that they prefer to keep us ''self-defenseless"?

Geary J. Foertsch


Enoch Pratt's noble vision

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