Booking center death in chain of apathyDaniel Griffin's...


April 21, 1997

Booking center death in chain of apathy

Daniel Griffin's death in a holding cell in Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center illustrates the ills of the prison system and the ills of society that generates the prison system.

When a society's only reaction to its ills is to put men in prison and forget about them, an atmosphere of uncaring is generated, which is then transmitted to the correctional officers who ignore danger signals of all kinds within the prison.

No one is helped, and the ills compound themselves until there is no fixing them.

Elizabeth R. Greene


Playing the slots no worse than lottery

Jeffrey Carle's April 12 letter, "A jockey who believes slots will save racing," made a lot of sense. It's time for Gov. Parris Glendening to get into the race and understand what our racetracks are up against.

The argument that slot machines are evil is ridiculous. It is actually another form of gambling, along with the lottery and on- and off-track betting. Any of these three are free choices that one would make as to whether to participate in it.

I wonder how much of Governor Glendening's opposition is based on the political ramifications of his position? Is he taking a ''safe'' position to help ensure re-election? It is time that he sees the light before Maryland horse racing is effectively extinguished.

Mel Schneider


Non-students discriminated

In the past year, nearly one-half of the seating on the first floor of the Enoch Pratt Central Library has been designated off-limits to non-students. The new policy is enforced by signs stating student I.D. must be shown upon request to security guards before a patron is allowed to sit at student-only tables.

This leads to the frequent situations where on busy days non-student patrons are forced to lean uncomfortably against shelves, while entire rows of student-only tables remain completely unoccupied.

To add insult to injury, the woefully under-utilized tables reserved for students are allocated high-backed chairs, while the tables for non-students are furnished instead with low-lying stools clearly designed to discourage prolonged sitting.

If this policy is part of Pratt director Carla Hayden's plans to reimage the Pratt Library system, as outlined in her recent Perspective article, then I am not in the least bit sympathetic to her efforts.

Curtis Price


Radio ownership decides programs

Frederik G. van der Wens' April 10 letter about ''barbarians'' ruling Baltimore's airwaves, while not entirely incorrect, completely misses the point in placing the blame on Baltimore's radio and TV stations.

Mr. van der Wens says Baltimore's broadcast outlets should focus on exhaustive coverage of international events as well as cultural information on the latest books, musical events and scientific discoveries such as is broadcast over European short-wave radio.

What Mr. van der Wens fails to realize is that most of the short-wave stations he listens to are government-owned and therefore do not have to worry about earning a profit.

However, in the United States, governments tend to spend money on building stadiums for professional athletic teams rather than on radio and TV stations, so commercial broadcasters air much "drivel'' such as sports or entertainment gossip in order to turn a profit.

The freedom of the press exists to those who own the press, or in this case, the transmitter, antenna and tower.

In the case of government-owned broadcast media, the government has the authority to determine the programming.

However, with commercial broadcasting, programming is determined by attracting an audience that appeals to the widest possible audience in order to attract the greatest number of advertisers.

If there is enough of a demand for exhaustive coverage of international events and cultural information on the latest books, musical events and scientific discoveries, rest assured that some broadcast outlet would air it and make money with it.

Mr. van der Wens calls for a change from the ''drivel'' he hears on Baltimore's broadcast stations. Short of changing American culture, the only alternative is government ownership of radio and television stations -- and that is a scary idea, indeed.

Frankly, I'd much rather listen to Orioles gossip than official government propaganda.

Keith Thompson


The writer is music director for radio station WXCY in Havre de Grace.

Jerusalem is not international

William Pfaff's April 15 column cites the possibility of ''some kind of international status or protection'' for Jerusalem.

The same kind of international protection that failed to materialize in 1948 when Jerusalem, designated an ''international zone,'' came under Arab siege and Israel was left to fight alone?

Thank you, no. Been there, done that.

Jerusalem is Israel's. What earthly right has Mr. Pfaff or anyone else to suggest otherwise? Was it their blood that was spilled in Jerusalem's defense?

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