TCPlutonium space probe causes safety concernAs a...


September 11, 1997


Plutonium space probe causes safety concern

As a protester against the launch of the Cassini space probe with 73 pounds of plutonium on board, I was greatly disturbed by the Sept. 2 article, ''NASA fears 'enemy within' for Oct. launch.''

It is preposterous for the space administration to suggest possible ''sabotage'' and to go on military alert ''to counteract possible terrorism.'' Such behavior is calculated to smear those of us condemning the use of plutonium in space.

Actually, the anti-Cassini movement is non-violent. The Baltimore Peace Network promotes dissent by encouraging direct action as used by Thoreau, Gandhi, King and the Berrigan brothers.

Using plutonium, probably the most deadly substance known to humankind, is an act of terror and an indication of a willingness to risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Note that the space probe is to be launched by a Lockheed Martin Titan IVB rocket, a type which has exploded in the past.

Instead of besmirching non-violent protesters, NASA should use alternative fuel sources for its space probe to Saturn. However, there is a hidden agenda as the use of plutonium in space has military applications.

Max Obuszewski


Bosnia should be Europe's problem

Let's bring the American troops home from Bosnia.

Every time we get involved in foreign politics, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars and kills countless troops.

Next comes the influx of the population. Note Korea and Vietnam.

Let Europeans deal with this one. America has done enough.

Thelma Neubauer

Bel Air

'Less than lethal force' for police is ridiculous

I think the idea of ''Less than lethal force'' for the police (article, Sept. 2) is absurd.

Giving people like a knife-waving criminal or someone with a history of violent crimes a second chance will only bring on more victims in our society.

By using ''less than lethal'' force, people who once possed a threat to police and society will hae yet another chance to do the same thing, or even one day kill someone. Great, I really feel secure now.

Michael Werdin

Perry Hall

Jay assumes too much on Diana's fatal crash

Regarding Peter Jay's Sept. 4 column on the tragedy of getting what one wants: I thought his comment, ''it isn't hard to imagine the ill-fated lackey at the wheel being ordered to lose the photographers at all costs,'' very unfair.

Unless the survivor recovers, we'll never know what was said in that car. Perhaps Dodi and Diana were telling him to slow down.

Joyce Robinson

Glen Burnie

Failed marriage caused Di's death

While we are try to fix the blame for Diana's tragic demise, let's place the blame where it belongs -- squarely on Prince Charles' shoulders.

Had he been a true and faithful husband, Diana would have been with him in Scotland, not trying to outrun cameras in France.

Joseph R. Pazourek


Educators and parents deserve more respect

I want to second Peter French's statement in his Aug. 29 letter to the editor about the new Baltimore City Public Schools leadership. Mr. French praised the direction in which the new board of school commissioners and Robert Schiller seem to be going. He then responded to Mr. Schiller's statement about teachers' need to rededicate themselves by saying, ''I don't appreciate anyone questioning my dedication.''

As a member of the School Improvement Team at Patterson High School, I share Mr. French's feeling of being disrespected. When area superintendent Sandra Wighton spoke at the SIT meeting at Patterson High on Aug. 14, every statement she made was laden with implicit accusations against the SIT members, the parents attending the meeting, and the faculty and staff present. She repeatedly asked us to set aside our ''personal agendas'' and to ''put the children first.''

I assumed that most everyone in the room was there to put the children first. I was insulted for myself and for the dedicated faculty, administrators, and other community leaders who generously give their time and effort to serve on the team. I was deeply embarrassed that parents who had come out of genuine concern for their children's futures would be treated with such disrespect and disdain by a school official.

I personally felt that the decision to transfer principal Bonnie Erikson and Success Academy principal Bill Morison was a grave mistake. So did the majority of parents who attended the PTO meeting later that day. However, my deeper concern was about the total lack of receptivity from Ms. Wighton and Mr. Schiller to input from the community. If the closed and secretive process by which decisions were made for Patterson High is an example of how our new education leaders will function, I grieve for the future of Baltimore's schools.

We keep hearing how the board members are spending 35 volunteer hours a week working to improve our schools. I hope the board members are aware that there are hundreds of teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders who have been doing the same for years. I don't claim to be one of them. I am new to school involvement.

But those who have been on the front lines for so long have been given more than one slap in the face by the new leadership. No apologies please -- simple respect and opportunities for a voice in the future will do.

Dottye Burt-Markowitz


Pub Date: 9/11/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.