In fighting drugs, we must acknowledge their powerful...


January 31, 2000

In fighting drugs, we must acknowledge their powerful allure

Two recent letters to the editor disapproved of statements published in The Sun that dealt with the high one could achieve by indulging in the illegal drugs of heroin and crack cocaine ("Don't publish remarks that glorify drug use," Jan. 21).

Drug abuse is a critical problem facing young people today, there is no disputing that. However, the dynamics of this problem are tremendously complex.

These drugs do deliver incredible "highs" too irresistible for some individuals to pass up. If they didn't, heroin and crack cocaine would not be a problem.

But one cannot intelligently discuss heroin and cocaine without acknowledging that these drugs are dangerous because they have the ability to make people feel so wonderful that they will overlook or disregard the huge price tag the substance abuser has to eventually pay: Loss of self, loss of family, impoverishment and even loss of life.

If we are to dissuade our youth from indulging in illicit drug use, we need to focus on their perils and consequences. But failure to acknowledge the lure of these drugs is naive and irresponsible.

As parents and adults, we have a responsibility to create a safe and secure environment that from which our children will be less likely to seek escape.

But discussing the allure of drugs is not advocating their use.

Mary M. Davis


Confederate flag dispute overlooks the real problems

When will the diatribes over a harmless flag stop? How sad that the African-American community has expended so much energy on such a trivial issue, when it could be focusing on the critical needs of its people.

The drug violence that enslaves African-American communities, the hopelessness of high school graduates with no marketable skills, generation after generation condemned to poverty -- these are issues that scream for righteous indignation.

But when the last Confederate flag is taken down, the last monument is overturned and the last Confederate hero is stricken from the history books, nothing will have changed in the lives of black citizens who sit as prisoners in their homes in fear of drug-related shootings.

All the bashing of Southerners who honor their Confederate great-grandfathers will not raise a single black inner-city student's SAT score.

How much better if, in the spirit of diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness, we could join hands and honor the heritage of all Americans

This silly fight over the Confederate flag will accomplish nothing but the alienation of peoples who should be reaching out to one another.

John L. Cahoon


South Carolina's flag isn't `Stars and Bars' . . .

In his column "South Carolinians haven't proven pride in their flag is exclusive of racist past" (Jan. 16), Gregory Kane refers to the flag over South Carolina's statehouse as the "Stars and Bars."

It is not. The flag that flies in South Carolina to honor that state's more than 20,000 citizens who died fighting for the Confederacy is the battle flag of the Confederate States of America.

It is in the form of the Confederate Naval Jack, as well as of the regimental flag of a number of Confederate units that fought in the war's western theater.

Mr. Kane's careless research raises the question, why should we take his opinions regarding our flag seriously when he makes such an obvious error?

G. Elliott Cummings


The writer is past commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Maryland Division.

. . . but represents an act of rebellion

There is a simple description of the "Stars and Bars": It is the battle flag of an enemy nation.

Murray Combs

Glen Burnie

Citizens must reject back-door taxation

The Sun's article "$6 increase proposed in auto registration for emergency services" (Jan 21) should rally state taxpayers to say "enough is enough, no more back-door taxes."

We are constantly being hit with increased fees on everything from fishing licenses to boat registrations to car registrations. When will this ever stop?

The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems is a great resource, but should receive its funding through the normal budget process.

The bureaucratic waste of funds in state government alone would be more than enough to fund emergency services each fiscal year.

It's time for the citizens to let their state representatives know that back-door taxing has got to stop.

Keith F. Kelley


A well-managed city would merit more support

To provide a clearer picture of the fairness, or unfairness, of the proposed budget increases for the state's subdivisions, Barry Rascovar's column,"Governor's budget forgets needs of ailing Baltimore" (Opinion Commentary, Jan. 23) should have included the amount each area is currently receiving from the state, not just the proposed increases.

Is Baltimore really getting short-changed?

Or has the city's previous administration demonstrated incompetence in managing its share of past budgets?

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