Public `meddling' can save lives and save money I'd...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 01, 2000

Public `meddling' can save lives and save money

I'd like to make a few points in response to the letter "Meddling do-gooders undermine our freedom" (April 25).

It has been proven in study after study that seat beats in automobiles and helmets for both bicycles and motorcycles reduce injuries and fatalities from accidents.

When people are protected by safety devices, this drives down the cost of health and automobile insurance, because insurers have to pay for fewer accidents and the consequences are less devastating.

I have also had enough of gun violence, accidents and dead kids or cops to last me for the rest of my life.

As a former Maryland emergency medical technician, I remember all too well studying gruesome pictures of accident victims.

Trust me, a kid who goes through a car windshield, a person run over without head protection or a young person shot many times is not a pretty sight.

I don't think other peoples refusal to buckle up or wear a helmet or employ gun safety should drive up the car insurance, health insurance or crime rates that I pay.

I shouldn't have to pay for other peoples' stubbornness or their stupidity.

I only hope people who are so obsessive about their "personal freedom of choice" can endure the horrible choices they'll have to make about themselves or their loved ones once they get to the hospital.

Kathleen A. Young, Towson

It is the right and responsibility of our elected officials to keep us free from the minority who will leave an unlocked gun laying around so a curious 6-year-old child can take it to school and kill a playmate.

It is the purpose of our government to legislate safety measures so the inconsiderate and uninformed won't go around killing themselves or those around them.

And if they aren't killed doing something stupid, they will surely sue someone; and we, the unprotected, will have to support them through public institutions.

I agree that the government should not be too involved in our lives -- if the public was smart enough to take the proper precautions and if Americans were not the most litigious people on earth.

Michael Brandjes, Baltimore

Protesters, not police, merited paper's plaudits

As a protester of the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, I reacted with shock to The Sun's article "D.C. police chief wins praise from both sides" and editorial "The demo that fizzled" (April 19).

It is odd that a supporter of the First Amendment such as The Sun would praise Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

Why not denounce his closure, on the eve of a large demonstration, of the Convergence Center? During the raid, the police, who were not wearing identification, confiscated protest material.

It took the American Civil Liberties Union to get the equipment returned.

Later that day, Chief Ramsey ordered mass arrests without warnings. Some Baltimore protesters had to flee to avoid arrest, but a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was taken into custody.

Rather than praising the police, The Sun should have sent reporters to the jail to investigate the complaints of police abuse. For a "fizzled demo" the protesters garnered unprecedented media attention, which forced the World Bank and the IMF to defend their bankrupt practices.

We protesters can take credit for placing global justice on the agenda.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

Many find Confederate flag a symbol of honor . . .

Why is it that every time The Sun does an editorial on the Confederate flag, the editorial is always negative ("Flying the Confederate flag," April 24)?

Is The Sun so narrow-minded that it can only see one side of the story? To many Americans, the Confederate flag is a symbol of freedom and honor and respect for our forefathers who fought and died on both sides of the "War of Northern Aggression."

Maybe the flag does not belong on the dome of the South Carolina statehouse, maybe it does.

But that is up to the people of South Carolina to decide -- not the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or any other group of people whose sole purpose is to complain and whine.

Albert Franklin Hunt Jr., Halethorpe

. . . and were insulted by cartoon depicting it

Oliphant's recent political cartoon was a prime example of media intolerance and stereotyping. Picturing those who revere a flag for whom hundreds of thousands gave their lives as only beer-swilling, flag draped rednecks was in the poorest of taste (Opinion Commentary, April 21).

Millions of people find the Stars and Bars to be the symbol of a proud heritage and a part of the country's history.

I submit that the newspaper wouldn't even have considered a caricature of a black man wearing a baggy sweat shirt emblazoned with an African flag, wearing pants that are several sizes too big and his underpants hanging out of the top of his downward drifting waistband.

Ronald L. Dowling, Baltimore

Women still earn less than men in similar jobs

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