Drivers must buckle children in back seatOnce again the...


November 19, 1996

Drivers must buckle children in back seat

Once again the American public is putting the pressure, and ultimately the blame, on corporate America and the government to solve our problems and keep us safe.

Air bags were developed to save lives. They are being blamed for the deaths of 19 children and seven infants. However, the auto industry cannot be at fault when only three of the children were wearing seat belts.

Auto makers have warned us repeatedly that air bags are designated to work with a seat belt -- not instead of a seat belt. The public has also been told that the back seat is safest for infants. If parents would take their responsibility seriously and properly buckle their children perhaps the results would change.

Car makers cannot fix all the problems or be solely responsible for vehicle safety. To expect the air bag developers and car makers to solve the problems of different sized people, unbelted people, and children standing in the front of the car assumes the American public does not have to be responsible for itself.

If the American public would start looking at itself, perhaps we could save our own lives. We need to buckle ourselves and our children properly every time we are in the car.

Cindy L. Sexton


Thank Texaco for opera support

I'll be letting Texaco know how I feel by going out of my way to tank up with its product in gratitude for the more than 50 years it has been sponsoring the weekly Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.

Surely the hysteria surrounding the current tempest in a gas tank should be tempered by remembering Texaco's long, unwavering support of one of America's most valuable and prestigious cultural ornaments.

What other company has done such a good work? And for so long?

Harry Gehlert


Music too loud? You're too old

After reading the Nov. 15 letter from Georgia Corso, "Getting the garbage out of rock music," I was struck by how much history repeats itself.

Since the dawn of civilization, old people have been blaming all of society's ills on young people and their music.

Aristotle, in his declining years, wrote about how the youth of ancient Greece were about to cause the imminent destruction of civilization with their uncouth music, and yet you see we are still here. I'm sure even Ms. Corso's parents wrung their hands when she danced the Charleston and said things like "oh you kid" and "boop boop be doop."

Times never change. It all just goes to prove the old saying (at least among young people), "If you think the music's too loud, you're too old."

William Smith


Cathedral not destroyed in WWII

Tom Gill should check his facts before writing to the newspaper. In his Nov. 14 letter ("English better off without empire"), he made the preposterous statement that Liverpool Cathedral was destroyed by German bombs in World War II and then rebuilt facing the other way.

In fact, Liverpool Cathedral, the largest cathedral in England, nTC was neither destroyed nor rebuilt. Construction was begun in 1904 and finished nearly 75 years later. One window, the Staircase Window, was damaged by enemy action in 1940-41.

Mr. Gill also compared the slums of Liverpool to those in Calcutta and Bombay. This is a gross exaggeration. I grew up in Liverpool during the war within three miles of the cathedral, and conditions there were certainly better than they are in many parts of Baltimore today.

`Dorothy Addison Hosmer


Incurable illnesses require special care, not assisted suicide

Recent publicity surrounding physician-assisted suicide compels me to set the record straight on what modern medicine can and cannot do for terminally ill people and their families.

It cannot stop all cancers or make an HIV infection go away. It cannot always reverse heart disease or make kidneys function normally.

And medicine, by itself, cannot heal the grief of a surviving spouse, child or significant other.

Healing is but only one part of the doctor's Hippocratic oath. Another is comfort, and I shudder each time I hear someone say, ''There is nothing more medicine can do'' for a terminally ill patient.

It is a humbling fact that often times the most important part of medicine is the simple ''laying on of hands'' -- a touch or a hug that conveys the unspoken message that ''you are still among the living, I care about you, and I will do whatever is necessary to provide dignity and comfort to your life." Moreover, medicine can offer a patient a great deal after a terminal diagnosis is made, addressing such issues as pain, depression, anxiety and the like, so that the patient and his or her family can experience the final months as fully as possible.

The idea that a physician should be authorized to use his or her training to end a patient's life simply because an illness cannot be cured is one that most of my colleagues would find appalling, especially when hospice care and similar services for terminally-ill individuals and their families are so widely available and accessible across the United States.

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