Like toys that injure, firearms should be subject to civil...

Letters to the Editor

November 30, 1998

Like toys that injure, firearms should be subject to civil 0)

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Thomas Maloney ("Forget about frivolous suit against gun manufacturers," Nov. 25) has finally stated what all of us knew but avoided saying: "Guns are designed by the maker to be dangerous." Even Eddie Eagle, the National Rifle Association's education mascot, does not tell children directly that guns are dangerous, only that they should not touch them.

Without a reason that a child can understand, that ridiculous bird might just as well say, "Go ahead and find out why the adults want to keep this fascinating object for themselves."

Mr. Maloney, of course, concludes that Baltimore should not waste taxpayers' money on a lawsuit against gun makers who manufacture a product that does exactly what it is designed to do -- kill. I would ask Mr. Maloney if he believes Maryland taxpayers instead should continue to pay more than 80 percent of the direct medical costs of the mostly uninsured or publicly insured gunshot victims, which exceed $40 million annually?

Perhaps the time has come to place some accountability for firearm accidents on the manufacturers of guns. We have long had safety standards for consumer products, which are designed primarily to protect children -- everything from medicines to cleaning products to teddy bears. Yet a product whose primary purpose is "to do harm and not be safe" remains the only unregulated consumer product in our country.

The technology to personalize or child-proof handguns does exist. Courtesy of a federal grant, Cold Manufacturing has been developing handguns that can only be fired by their authorized users. Personalized handguns could have prevented many of the tragic accidental shootings of young children that are becoming so commonplace in Maryland. They also would lessen the number of teen suicides in our state and make stolen handguns virtually useless to criminals.

Ginni Wolf

Glen Burnie

Support of Ellen Sauerbrey should not hurt racetracks

Recently The Sun ran a number of articles concerning the racing industry's support of Ellen R. Sauerbrey and the potential repercussions of that support.

Frankly, I really don't understand the revelation here. Gov. Parris N. Glendening has had a stranglehold on the racing industry during his administration. He has seriously impaired its ability to compete with not only racing in our neighboring states, but also with other forms of entertainment.

If the governor had banned the sale of liquor at restaurants to mitigate the social risk of drunken driving, I could have predicted with a reasonable level of certainty that the industry would have supported another, more understanding candidate. When the governor takes such a "plant the flag" tactic with any business that so seriously constrains its ability to adjust to market conditions, the reciprocal backlash is cause and effect.

I would trust, however, now that the election is over, Maryland's elected officials will be constructive and work in the best interest of all citizens, even those who didn't vote for them. Good government and not revenge should be their mission.

Fred Metschulat

Baltimore

Loyola College expansion brings community concerns

I am writing in response to the article ("Razing of Boumi Temple begins," Nov. 12) concerning Loyola College's buying the former Boumi Temple property to expand its campus.

As a Wyndhurst resident, I am concerned that the college will rush ahead with construction without thinking about the impact that this will have on neighborhoods. The majority of people on college campuses are students who are unaware that their actions are felt by the communities surrounding them.

It is difficult to merge a college with a quiet neighborhood. This project will create an incredible amount of traffic. Was this issue taken into consideration when the plans were in the works?

Any college brings problems of parking and traffic, and Loyola is no exception. Loyola has to make sure that student vehicles don't spill over in to the surrounding neighborhood. If children are unable to play in their yards because of the traffic, the whole purpose of a neighborhood is defeated.

In a world where wealth and power are the dominant forces, it is imperative that people take action against forces that disrupt a peaceful community.

M. Elizabeth Murphy

Baltimore Peter G. Angelos is one of the top contenders for the purchase of the Redskins and will have more than enough money after collecting more than $500 million for helping the state of Maryland agree to accept the recent tobacco settlement.

This payment to Mr. Angelos begs a few questions: Is it the right amount to pay for this service? Was outside legal counsel really needed? Is Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.'s staff not competent to perform the work? How many hours were required of Mr. Angelos' office? Did The Sun investigate the deal?

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