Small-time arrests little cause for joyWere we supposed to...


January 03, 1998

Small-time arrests little cause for joy

Were we supposed to be thrilled by the arrest of 39 people in police drug sweep operation? I wasn't. My room mate wasn't.

In the past year in our Canton neighborhood, he's had his car window smashed three times and I've had my car broken into once as well. Nearly every night, I hear a car alarm in the distance. It happens so often that when the alarm went off in my roommate's car, we ignored it at first.

When I hear that there was ''a police officer on every corner'' just to catch a few losers who have a drug problem, it makes me angry. If they are catching major dealers, great. But six small capsules of cocaine and $400, that's nothing to write news about.

Lonnie Fisher


Doing the numbers on crime reports

Annette Fuentes' contention (Opinion Commentary, Dec. 18) that the statistics used by the Justice Department to show that rape has declined since 1993 are bogus raises questions of its own.

First, she questions the methodology of the source of the Justice Departments statistics, the National Crime Victims Survey, saying correctly that respondents are likely to feel inhibited from discussing rape "if others are present in the household, perhaps even the rapist himself."

But she does not indicate whether the department is comparing new data from this survey to data from an identical 1993 survey using the same methodology.

If so, while we could not trust the accuracy of the hard numbers, we could justifiably conclude that the declining trend had in fact occurred, since the methodological flaw would be identical in both surveys.

A decline from 100 to 50 rapes in a given number of households might, due to under-reporting, reflect only half of those which had occurred, but the decline would nonetheless be real.

Also, Mrs. Fuentes states that "the FBI itself acknowledges only 36 percent of rapes are reported to the police" in support of her argument that rape statistics are not very accurate.

Which begs yet another question: Exactly how does one arrive at an accurate statistic for something that is not reported?

Jerome Kiewe


Add 'Telemachus' to Bready's fine book list

Jim Bready's census of the year's books by and about Marylanders is always useful. This year, though, one slipped through Mr. Bready's fine net and it looks like a good one. It's "Telemachus," the witty, entertaining adventures of a demigod, by Baltimore attorney-writer Robert Thieblot. I thought your readers might want to know.

William Amelia


More support needed for black wax museum

With the closing of the City Life Museums, followed by the failure of the Columbus Center, one would think that the mayor would welcome an opportunity to embellish the accomplishments Elmer and JoAnne Martin, owners of the Great Blacks in Wax Museum.

They appear to have one of the few sites able to sustain itself without state or city funding.

With so little being done in the black communities, an opportunity like this would go a long way to reducing the gap between the mayor and the voting black community.

We, the supporters of the museum, were aware of efforts among city agencies and local politicians to convince the Martins to move to the Inner Harbor. We applaud the Martins for their tenacity to remain in East Baltimore and not become another item on the list of city administrative failures.

Ornat Erby


Grappling with chronic grief

The article on grief and closure (Dec. 14) was excellent, especially because it focused on those that know this issue most closely, the families experiencing it and the professionals working with them.

So much can be added in what we have learned from families after the birth of a disabled child. Although there are many PTC different reactions, the realization at some point of the loss of the "ideal child" we all dreamed we would have has widely been likened to the experience of grieving loss through the death of someone.

One facet is the idea that the presence of this child, for whatever joy and hardship brought, is always there to give opportunities to the parents to revisit the grief.

Times such as ordinary childhood milestones, even those displayed by a younger sibling, can be shattering to a parent for a period of time. This concept has been labeled as "chronic grief." Many parents experience this and many are relieved to hear that it is a fairly common experience.

Perhaps the idea of grieving a loss from violent, traumatic deaths also has this sense of "chronic grief" because, like the parents of disabled children, these families have grief complicated by anger, a sense of unthinkable injustice and the inexplicable sense of randomness.

I have seen tremendously courageous families move through this at various stages, but how can one have true "closure"?

Dorothy Lee-Doyle


The writer is a school psychologist with the Anne Arundel County infants and toddlers program.

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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