Schools must do more to close computer gapIn response to...


October 12, 1997

Schools must do more to close computer gap

In response to your editorial on the computer education gap (Sept. 29), the program that the county has to help teachers finance their purchase of computers is certainly a step in the right direction, but it will hardly plug the gap we have in technology education.

To start filling this gap, the state and all the counties need to decide if computer education is going to be part of the curriculum and if it then is the duty of the different boards of education to fund all schools equally.

The disparity between schools is unconscionable. If a school is new or remodeled, it has state-of-the-art equipment. Or, if a school has a talented writer, it may be able to write a grant to receive money. Too many of our schools have fallen through the cracks and get nothing.

At present, how can an Anne Arundel County teacher, in all good conscience, give a grade in elementary technology when software and computers are not provided by the school system?

Yes, there is a space on report cards for this item. Perhaps it is time for The Sun to do a study to determine where computer technology is going in the state.

Vera McCullough

Brooklyn Park

Handgun defender gets facts wrong

Bill Williams questioned the mentality of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse for noting that the gun used in the recent New Hampshire shooting spree was banned in Maryland. He saw it as an attempt by "anti-gunners to find a way to blame the gun and not the man who used it."

Mr. Williams' interpretation of MAHA's statement is way off the mark. MAHA realizes that gun violence is the result of misuse of firearms both willfully and accidentally. The thrust of MAHA's efforts is to set prudent limitations on the availability and easy accessibility of guns in the interest of public safety.

Mr. Williams also said that he did not hear or read about anyone blaming the gun when school children were massacred in Scotland. On the contrary, this shooting spree and the uproar that followed led directly to a vote to ban all handguns in the British Isles. On June 12, this total handgun ban was passed by a vote of 384-173 in the British Parliament and took effect in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Sept. 1.

Gun ownership in this country is guaranteed by the Constitution, but so is the people's right to challenge misuse and abuse of this right through the democratic process and education. Comparing the gun death statistics for 1994 of 75 deaths in the British Isles versus 15,450 in the U.S. -- 4.5 times the population with 200 times the number of deaths -- is part of this education. More severe penalties against the misuse of guns are necessary.

And, questioning the reasoning that claims that more guns more easily available to more people is not a factor in this country's obscene number of gun deaths is just as necessary.

Fred Davis


Teen in Miss. murders doesn't deserve death

What occurred in Pearl, Miss., on Oct. 2 is undeniably a tragedy for all concerned (" 'Murder is gutsy,' teen held in killings wrote," The Sun, Oct. 3). I am not only speaking of the murdered individuals or their families; I refer also to Luke Woodham. What a pitiable young person.

How is it that we as a society continue to turn our heads to such instability and anger? We need to take some responsibility as to what kind of a generation of children we are collectively raising. No thinking person can deny that this child is a highly troubled individual who is functioning with a far less-than-adequate reasoning ability, not to mention a serious defect in the principles of right and wrong.

Luke Woodham tells us that he is not "insane." He is "angry." I, for one, do not doubt that. Unfortunately for his victims and for himself, he wasn't equipped with coping mechanisms that would have allowed him to remain well adjusted in an environment that seemed only to remind him on a daily basis of his considerable inferiority. Daily torment about personal issues such as being "chubby, poor and a shabbily dressed nerd" is highly demoralizing.

Obviously, some kids weather it better than others. These kids are able to draw on some personal strength and self-esteem that a functional family is able to instill as the child grows and matures. It would seem a safe bet that there was nothing functional about the way Luke Woodham was brought up.

To be consumed by such a destructive rage is a horrible outcome for any child. This child wasn't born like this. Every person, child and adult, who ever had a hand in bullying this boy can accept a small portion of responsibility for what he is now.

Am I the only one disgusted by District Attorney John Kitchens' remark that he is "disappointed that he cannot seek the death penalty against Woodham"? When are peole who support the death penalty going to realize that state-sanctioned murder is not the answer to our society's criminal ills?

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