Banks' weapon should have remained secretIn the Sept. 17...


September 22, 1997

Banks' weapon should have remained secret

In the Sept. 17 Sun, you printed a front-page article, ''Microchip is latest weapon against crime,'' which revealed that ''local banks have been inserting tiny electronic tracking devices into packs of money that tellers give to bank robbers.'' You went on to explain how the device works.

The second paragraph indicated such devices had been "the Police Department's most closely guarded secret in its war against bank holdups.''

Later in the article, you said the police commissioner, a police spokesman and officials at NationsBank had refused to comment about the microchip.

You certainly publicized a secret weapon by printing the article.

Don't you think the refusal of police and bank spokesmen to comment was an indication that they do not want the matter made public? Don't you think people who rob banks can read? If they can, it would be a simple matter to find and discard the microchip from the money they steal so that they cannot be followed.

In short, I believe your article has undermined the efforts of police and bank officials in apprehending bank robbers.

It is a shame that you published the article to gain reader interest with no regard to the consequences of disclosing the ''secret.''

Norman L. Kushnick


Need for good works lingers after deaths

The recent loss of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa brings both tears and light to individuals committed to humanitarian goals. One thing is paramount -- the power of the media to affect us.

News coverage brought fame to Mother Teresa in a chance BBC broadcast 20 years ago and to Diana in a 1981 fairy tale wedding. Both media-made celebrities, while representing opposite ends of the economic spectrum, used their fame to focus attention on issues and people that the media for the most part ignore -- those people left in the ravages of poverty and disease and the scourge of land mines.

The media did well to cover the good deeds of these two women while they were alive and at their passing.

But in a month or less, the vogue around humanitarian action will wane and the daily glut of trivia and insignificance will return with a vengeance.

Perhaps increased coverage of the tens of thousands of individuals who daily risk life and limb in the removal of land mines or the eradication of measles could be a productive visual replacement.

Dr. Rashid A. Chotani


Disabled van service is challenged itself

A Sept. 11 article announced, ''Md. rehires van service for disabled for 3 years.'' Should the disabled cheer? Well, no.

The article went on to say the disabled are disillusioned with this ''service,'' which leaves them stranded on street corners, wastes their time and has been unreliable for some time, no matter which van service is used.

I can testify from bitter personal experience. On my last trip, I was scheduled to be picked up at 12: 30 p.m. I finally arrived home at 6 p.m.

It's not the van service; it's the telephone service. A reservation cannot be made in less than 20 minutes. Then you are asked to hold (probably another 20 minutes).

This is bad enough, but when calling about a late vehicle, you still must wait two minutes. Told that a van will arrive in, say, 30 minutes, you wait another 45 minutes before attempting to call again.

This results in the same frustrating rigmarole of listening to inane messages while waiting to contact a human voice.

I have written to the secretary of transportation and sent a copy of my letter to Gov. Parris N. Glendening. No reply has been received from either.

And now I find that the state will pay $20 million to Yellow Van Services. Just what good is a van service that can take you but not bring you home?

For those who can get home no other way, can you imagine the frustration, the anger and overall discomfort caused by a service that is supposed to help?

Margaret S. Hill


Governor never forgets his family

At long last, someone finally has given Marylanders a glimpse of the human being behind the title of ''governor.'' Thank you, Andrew Ratner, (Aug. 23, ''A father and a governor'') for giving readers a different perspective of my wonderful husband, Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

As parents, Parris and I consistently have made our family a priority. Beginning with our days in Prince George's County, we have scheduled ''family time.''

As you can imagine, a public servant like my husband receives scheduling requests that would have him out seven nights a week and every weekend.

For years, Parris resisted this pressure and reserved two nights a week as well as weekend time strictly for family. Nothing is more important to him.

In addition, literally from Raymond's birth, Parris and I were determined to give our son as ''normal'' a life as possible. We wanted him to have a childhood removed from public scrutiny, where he could learn and grow like his peers. And, grow he did. Our once tiny baby now is a six-foot-two tall young man.

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