Baltimore jury selection opens judge's eyesI have been a...

LETTERS

September 04, 1997

Baltimore jury selection opens judge's eyes

I have been a judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City since January 1996. Since then, I have presided over the domestic and civil dockets. Recently, I had occasion to preside over my first criminal case.

The jury selection process itself provided an eye-opening glimpse into today's world in Baltimore and a disturbing view. In response to the question "How many of you, or members of your immediate family, have been convicted of a crime?" approximately ten jurors stood up, most of whom were African-American women in their 40s or 50s. They each advised that their sons were convicted felons.

I have read about the plight of young African-American males, and that a large percentage of them are "in trouble with the law." Yet actually experiencing the phenomenon during my jury selection process was telling.

There is a tear in the seam of our society's fabric. We, collectively, must find a way to sew that seam before the whole fabric is destroyed.

Gary I. Strausberg

Baltimore

Press responsibility for Diana's death

Upon hearing about the death of Princess Diana, I felt compelled to put into words my feelings in hopes of somehow dealing with such a profound loss and to rid myself of the anger TC now feel.

I think everyone would agree that the world has lost a great humanitarian and champion for many worthwhile causes.

The senseless way in which Diana died is truly the tragedy. She continued to beg for privacy, for some semblance of normalcy, but that wasn't to be. She prophesied on several occasions that the press would ultimately lead to her demise.

It's important to remember that Diana was a person who cherished her privacy the way we all cherish ours. She deserved to be happy and, ironically, it appeared that she was on her way when she was so tragically struck down.

Diana's death can, however, have a positive result. The press needs to abandon the philosophy of "get the story no matter the cost." Reporters and photographers have a job to do but they must act responsibly.

Barbara Fisher

Timonium

Smaller class size key to urban schools

We applaud interim school superintendent Robert E. Schiller's proposal to reduce class sizes in the Baltimore City public schools.

There is a body of education research that provides a preponderance of evidence in support of smaller classes. Teachers have consistently decried large classes as an impediment to student achievement.

For urban students, reduced class size has been a desired outcome of education reform.

Students need it. Parents and teachers support it. Administrators desire it.

Who will deny it?

Rodney A. Orange

Thompkins Weaver

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP and chairman of its education committee.

Truth in the movies? Are we kidding?

I had to laugh at the Navy SEAL veterans who were incensed that the movie ''G.I. Jane'' failed to give a true picture of a SEAL operation ("Seal of disapproval," Aug. 28).

Doesn't anyone remember our very own great Baltimore movie, ''Tin Men,'' and the hilarious, much-copied diner scene where one character earnestly insisted that ''Bonanza,'' the TV series, ''doesn't give a true picture of the American West''?

In this age of docu-dramas, info-tainment and info-mercials, I worry more than ever about our grip on reality.

Michael Kernan

Baltimore

Women's place is in separate Army units

Thanks to Mona Charen, the pit bull of editorial journalism, for her usual blunt, no-holds-barred opinions, specifically on women in the military (Aug. 27).

She beautifully exposes the contradictions of hard-line feminism. And yet, one may beg to argue against her implied conclusion: that women have no place in the military.

War may be horrible, but it is, as no other human activity, the one in which heroes are made. If women have no place to serve in war, they can never show their heroism and courage in the same way that men can.

Thus, they would always in the collective subconscious of humankind be inferior to men.

The military should be aiming to capitalize on women's peculiar strengths -- not trying to pretend there is no difference between the sexes.

Women may not be as ''aggressive'' as men, but warfare does not always require aggression. It requires endurance, patience, fortitude, teamwork, cunning and imagination -- all qualities which women possess.

Women may be physically weaker than men, but they can be trained to be quite strong and able, capable of carrying enough supplies and equipment to serve valuable field combat functions; capable even, in all-woman units, of carrying a fallen comrade to safety.

Women can work in teams at least as well as men; and may even make up for their physical deficiencies by greater dependency on their wits.

Women should not be in the same units as men. Many men will always try to belittle and take advantage of them; many women will always flaunt themselves to garner sexual attention from men.

If the men and the women are kept apart, in training and in action, pregnancies in the female ranks should be reduced and morale in both sectors improved.

Men should be commanded by men, and women by women. A spirit of competition between male and female units would probably work to the improvement of both.

Elizabeth Fixsen

Savage

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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