Spielberg war realism is needed to illustrate carnage of...

Letters to the Editor

August 07, 1998

Spielberg war realism is needed to illustrate carnage of Civil 0) War

Steven Spielberg could do an additional good service as he has done with his realistic and historically accurate presentation "Saving Private Ryan" by producing a lifelike film about the U.S. Civil War.

I would encourage him to use the Battle of Antietam. Here, he could debunk any romanticism and glory of marching into a corn field, point blank, into Confederate guns.

Mr. Spielberg could show the genuine horror of the "Sunken Road" as soldiers lay helpless, trapped by a superior force, or he could depict the futility of sending young men to their deaths across a narrow bridge.

Then maybe, just maybe, the reality of the carnage at Antietam will knock some sense into those who would re-enact such events as if they were theater for all to rejoice in the heroic deeds on that glorious day in September.

After seeing "Saving Private Ryan," could anyone possibly imagine re-enactors staging the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach?

Robert M. McDonough


Bubba Gump could require Corps of Engineers permit

I am writing to correct statements made in recent articles regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' jurisdiction at the Inner Harbor and the need for permits in the harbor area of the Patapsco River.

In general, the corps defines navigable waters of the United States as waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or capable of transporting interstate or foreign commerce. We regulate activity in navigable waters under Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Section 10 prohibits the unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water, and Section 404 requires our approval for the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters, other waters and jurisdictional wetlands.

In 1968, Congress declared a portion of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River non-navigable. That area is west of a line running from the southwest corner of Pier 3 (National Aquarium Pier) to Battery Avenue (see map above). Work here would not require our approval under Section 10 but may still require a permit from us under Section 404, depending on the type of work proposed.

Because the proposed activities between Pier 3 and Pier 4 fall east of this line in navigable waters, they could indeed require a corps permit.

If they do, we will carefully and objectively review all aspects within our jurisdiction.

Lucy Lather


The writer is chief of public affairs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Baltimore District.

Everyone who enjoys the Inner Harbor should be concerned about the issue of the Bubba Gump barge restaurant. Why? The issue is clear. We do not want the waterways filled with permanent structures and decks.

People come to see the water and enjoy the atmosphere and activities. The city should realize what a treasure the waterfront is and find another place for the shrimp boat.

Keep development out of the waterways. If it must be on a boat, let's start moving development eastward and put it near the Columbus Center.

Geri Schlenoff

Lutherville The headline of the article ("Blacks own about 8 cents of wealth for every white dollar, report says," July 31) makes a claim that the first paragraph of the story repeats. Implicit throughout the article is that this disparity in wealth is a result somehow of white racism.

However, deep in the article, we learn that when factors such as education, marriage patterns, age and employment are factored, the average black family owns only $43,000 less wealth than the average white family.

Moreover, in the next to last paragraph, the article reports that a significant factor in wealth accumulation is, obviously, savings. And, according to the Urban League, whites save more money than blacks. The Urban League says blacks "need to go from purchasing Nike [shoes] to purchasing Nike stock."

In other words, if blacks want to accumulate more wealth, they should spend less and save more. Why didn't The Sun's headline include that point, rather than burying it deep in the story?

Michael Holden


Conservatives don't want to admit white privilege

Robert Jensen wrote an astute article on white privilege, "White privilege shapes the U.S." (July 19). There is a growing conservative backlash, even among youth, that calls for bashing of "liberal ideas" such as affirmative action.

Often people do not understand why such programs, however flawed, were necessary in the first place. They ignore history, particularly the hideous legacy of slavery and segregation. This is partly a result of right-wing propagandists so prevalent nowadays.

Spokesmen for the right include fundamentalists such as Jerry Falwell and extremists who are Christian reconstructionists and neo-Confederates who still defend slavery.

Secular conservatives populate the media, from relatively sensible people, to hundreds of brash radio bullies like Bob Grant and Rush Limbaugh.

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