Death-penalty foes forget about victims of convicted...

Letters to the Editor

November 06, 1998

Death-penalty foes forget about victims of convicted killers

Regarding the article "Death penalty opponents aim protest rally at Glendening" (Nov. 1), kudos to Gov. Parris N. Glendening for refusing to meet with condemned killer Tyrone D. Gilliam Jr.

Why is it that death-penalty opponents always want us to feel sorry for people like Gilliam while once again forgetting about the victims?

Gilliam's attorney, Jerome H. Nickerson Jr., said of the governor's refusal to meet with the convicted murderer, "If you're going to kill a man, have the moral courage to look him in the eye and tell him he is going to die."

After reading the article, I don't think Gilliam displayed any moral courage when he shot a 21-year-old woman in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun after a carjacking.

As far as I am concerned, the death penalty is the easy way out for criminals such as Gilliam.

He is indeed fortunate that he will die humanely as provided by the Constitution.

Brian J. Spector


Right to bear arms still necessary today

The Second Amendment is written in plain English. So ask English professors whether the wording of the Second Amendment reserves the right to keep and bear arms only to members of a well-regulated militia.

It doesn't.

The right of all "the people" to keep and bear arms is unqualified in the wording. The wording just happens to contain one of the reasons (or excuses) for the inclusion of this unrestricted, written guarantee in our Constitution.

History is on the side of the National Rifle Association on this issue. In 1791, many of the people were not well-protected by a well-regulated militia. They had to be concerned about protecting themselves and their families against existing dangers, which included armed and misunderstood Native Americans and bad white guys. They had no telephones to call 911.

"We, the people of the United States," would not have agreed in 1791 to the establishment of a government that would have the power to disarm the people.

Today, we still have to protect ourselves against bad guys. Our well-regulated militia rarely arrives in time to protect us. Fortunately, the wording of the Second Amendment is the same as it was in 1791.

William J. Scanlon Jr.

Ellicott City

Framers might rephrase the Second Amendment

On the issue of gun control, or the lack of it, I bow to logic. Both sides of the issue offer compelling arguments.

I am, and always have been, astounded by "experts" who state, with absolute certainty, what the Framers meant when they created the Constitution of this country. When those honorable men were meeting and debating the Second Amendment, my guess is they never imagined a society overwhelmed by crime and inundated with drugs and its associated violence.

I believe, but do not state with absolute certainty, that the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution was, by design, only a set of guidelines.

Were it possible to reconvene a meeting of those same wise and knowledgeable gentlemen and offer them an opportunity to observe society today and rewrite the Constitution, a different document would emerge -- one without the words "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Edmond D. Groff


Clinton's job rating linked to fund-raising

Many people are surprised that President Clinton's job approval rating is so high. I am surprised that it is not higher.

After all, consider what his job is: raising funds for the Democratic Party.

E. Calvin Peregoy


Fed Chief Alan Greenspan merits credit for economy

While we are in an era of prosperity, most of us praise the president. We forget to throw bouquets to Alan Greenspan, who sets the rate of interest at a level that is profitable to borrowers and lenders. This is the way the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board stimulates the economy.

Many of us are not aware that the rate of interest is not a narrow phenomenon applying only to a few business contracts but permeates all economic relations. It is a link that binds man to the future and by which he makes all his far-reaching decisions.

Joseph Lerner


Judge John Prevas' latest 'strike for justice'

A few years ago, I spent an hour listening to Circuit Court Judge John Prevas talk about drugs and crime at Loyola College.

He began sensibly by separating hard drugs, heroin and cocaine, from soft drugs such as marijuana, but quickly contradicted himself by saying that all illegal drugs are the same -- bad -- requiring punishment, jail time and money spent on the drug war. He gave lip service to treatment.

He used the usual cliches and dumb ideas to explain a small but important problem when compared to tobacco and alcohol, whose costs to society are enormous.

Judge Prevas appeared to have been a confused person. A less charitable description would be "burned out." I am not surprised at Judge Prevas' latest "strike for justice" -- no lawyers, no chance, go right to jail.

This is absolutely consistent with his stale approach to his profession.

Dick Weisberg


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