Truly living differs from mere longevityAs practitioners...

LETTERS

January 09, 1998

Truly living differs from mere longevity

As practitioners of the healing sciences continue to circumvent the actuarial tables of the life insurance industry by extending our life expectancy, they have, except for a handful engaged in the study of gerontology, dropped the ball when it comes to the quality of those added years.

A visit to any institution specializing in geriatric care will substantiate this. So long as the quality of life of the elderly is ignored, there will continue to exist "a thing worse than death."

There is a trade-off between longevity and truly living. There is a great difference between the two.

J. Bernard Hihn

Towson

School staffers hailed for aid to students

"I'll be glad when the test starts."

"I'm a bit frantic right now."

"I need to double-check that I have everything ready."

These were just a few of the comments I overheard on the first day of the Maryland Function Writing Test on Jan. 6. They showed me the concern and commitment that every principal hopes to hear at the beginning of a testing period.

The irony is that these comments were stated by my staff and not the students.

This is not a criticism of students at Lansdowne Middle because I know how well prepared they are and I know they will work hard to be successful.

I do not believe that the staff at Lansdowne Middle is the exception to the rule when they are so conscientious about making sure the students get every possible advantage to be successful on these tests or any other type of assessment. My staff's anxiousness demonstrates their professional and humanistic strength in helping students. I believe that teachers in every school show this same commitment while battling large class sizes, reduction in budgets and other bureaucratic influences.

Learning comes from many avenues.

Having the confidence in oneself to take a test,whether it is a state functional test or the SAT, is a critical skill for all students to learn.

NB So is learning that the adults in their world care about them.

Ed Massey

Lansdowne

The writer is principal of Lansdowne Middle School.

Let's see the faces behind the bylines

Publishing the faces and backgrounds of the people behind the editorial pages is something I had wanted to see for a long time and was tremendously pleased to see you do, Jan. 2.

We have seen pictures of Olesker, Kane, Rodricks and Reimer to name a few. How about taking it one step further by doing a photo/resume series on your front-line people, the reporters?

It would be nice to give them recognition, too.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Glendening right and wrong about Hurt

While we are elated that Gov. Parris Glendening saw fit to correct a monumental injustice and commute the sentence of Nathaniel Hurt, we are equally disconcerted by his remarkably ,, ill-considered opinion regarding this fiasco.

"If anything comes from this, I hope it will be a reflection on having guns around," Glendening reportedly said (Jan. 7, "Hurt is home after 14 months"). What a curious statement to make.

One would think that an elected servant of the people would be hopeful that the lessons to be learned had something to do with 1) why Vernon Lee Holmes was where he was and was doing what he was doing on that fateful night; 2) what is wrong in our communities when peaceful, well-regarded private citizens are so frustrated by circumstances that they have to resort to armed intervention; or 3) what's wrong with a law that punishes the offender not for the offense, but for using a particular instrument.

The death of the Holmes child is tragic, certainly. But it was completely preventable. Hurt's actions, right or wrong, should be judged on their own, without interference from politically-motivated law that removes all judicial discretion and imposes a mandatory sentence regardless of mitigating circumstances.

How curious that Mr. Glendening, a man continually protected ++ by bodyguards (armed with weapons that he would like prohibited to us) would be concerned about "having guns around." May we then assume that he will take the logical first step and agree not to have them around him in the future?

Mr. Glendening did the right thing by commuting Hurt's sentence, though if the governor had not pushed for the ridiculous mandatory-sentence law in the first place, he may not have had to commute anything. Mr. Glendening has revealed a woeful lack of connection to the lives of the citizens of Maryland. Such arrogant disassociation from the people whom he serves raises the question, once again, of his fitness to serve in elected office.

John Taylor

Columbia

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