Domestic abuse takes toll, suggests further violence...

Letters to the Editor

July 20, 1999

Domestic abuse takes toll, suggests further violence likely

The Sun's editorial "Hate holds a gun to the nation" (July 7) neglected to mention one other indicator of Benjamin Smith's (the racist killer who went on a shooting spree in the Midwest) violent nature: His record of domestic or dating violence.

He was the respondent in a court order of protection for a former girlfriend. The evidence against him must have been convincing because the judge granted his estranged girlfriend two years of protection in April 1998.

Violence in an intimate relationship always indicates a serious problem that often is not confined to the relationship. It can bleed over to society at large.

In the past, we have too often dismissed domestic violence as a personal matter over which the legal system should have no jurisdiction or concern.

But domestic violence kills approximately 1,000 U.S. women a year, according to federal crime statistics. The Maryland State Police report that 72 Maryland men, women and children were killed in domestic violence last year.

Let's make sure we learn something from this terrible situation: People who are violent in intimate relationships are dangerous. That's why Benjamin Smith was denied access to a gun through legal means when a background check revealed his domestic violence history.

Peggy Miller, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Maryland Network against Domestic Violence.

Oral sex and Clinton's sad legacy to our kids

I found Susan Reimer's column regarding middle schoolers and oral sex very ironic ("The last straw about teen sex," July 10). Three years ago, the term "oral sex" would never have been used in a family newspaper.

Since President Clinton has redefined oral sex as "not sex," one presumes these middle school boys have Mr. Clinton as their role model.

Many who still support Mr. Clinton may feel uncomfortable telling their children "oral sex is bad" when the child can turn around and say, "but the president did it and he didn't get into any trouble."

What a wonderful legacy Mr. Clinton has left to the children of America.

If kids who are barely teen-agers are using oral sex as a substitute for spin-the-bottle, children and parents need to become reacquainted with such archaic things such as rules regarding behavior and morality.

Teach your child to walk out of a party where the sexual behavior is getting uncomfortable for him or her. Take the time to make sure there will be responsible adult supervision at parties.

It's better to spend 15 minutes finding out whether a responsible adult will be at the party than to spend time later trying to console your child regarding inappropriate sexual behavior.

Robin Andersen, Baltimore

Clinton legacy would be bad for U.S. Senate, too . . .

Surely, a state the size of New York has someone in public life who has more experience in the state than a 60-day "listening tour" can provide, has been elected to public office and could do a credible job of representing the state in the U.S. Senate.

New York has, after all, produced such politicians as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javis, Ed Koch, Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug.

Now Hillary Clinton aspires to follow in their footsteps. Never having held elective office, Mrs. Clinton instead offers the voters 20 years of experience co-habiting various executive mansions with her philandering, one-step-ahead-of-the Independent Counsel husband.

Here's hoping New York voters are sensible enough to reject this carpetbagging, celebrity candidate whose unctuous concern for the "issues that matter to us all" lamely disguises her arrogant grab for power.

Cameron C. Stearns, Baltimore

. . . and may hold lessons for city's mayoral race

President Clinton has lied to his wife, his daughter, the American people, his cabinet, congressional leaders and many people believe he lied to a grand jury and an Arkansas judge. Yet he remains president.

Now, Dan Rodricks wants to make a big deal over the fact that some of the information Carl Stokes has released was not accurate, and argues that this may cost him the mayoral race ("Fib about degree could affect campaign," July 16).

Wake up, Mr Rodricks: Nobody cares -- as evidenced by who remains in the Oval Office.

Larry Klos, Baltimore

Our one-party state lacks genuine democracy

In a recent column, Michael Olesker wondered why Baltimore can't redeem itself the way New York City has ("If New York can rebound, why not Baltimore?" July 8).

The answer is easy: New York has something Baltimore doesn't, and Maryland doesn't,either -- a real democracy. One with two parties, real elections and new faces in politics.

Here we fall about one party short of a real democracy. What we have is a sort of updated Democratic Party machine oligarchy, run by hacks and opportunists and endorsed by such thinkers as, well, Mr. Olesker.

So we don't get any new ideas or changes -- just Baltimore's swift decline into a ward of the state and Maryland's growth into a revenue-eating monstrosity.

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