Rights of victims deserve safeguards in U.S. Consitution...


May 03, 2000

Rights of victims deserve safeguards in U.S. Consitution

The Sun's editorial "Distorting victim's rights" (April 23) was aptly titled. The Sun indeed has distorted the truth concerning the constitutional amendment for crime victims' rights that's before Congress.

As I read the editorial, I thought I was having a flashback to 1994, when The Sun took the same position against Maryland's proposed constitutional amendment for crime victims' rights.

But despite the paper's dire predictions of a collapse of the state's justice system, violations of defendants' rights and a host of other evils, the Maryland amendment has worked successfully for the past six years.

There is no reason to believe that a federal amendment would not provide the same fair and equitable treatment of crime victims and defendants.

The proposed U.S. constitutional amendment would ensure that all crime victims in our country have the same fundamental rights, regardless of where they live.

The amendment allows the same basic rights as our Maryland law. If our Maryland law has proved to be fair and without problems, why does The Sun perceive the federal law to be dangerous and deceptive?

More than 90 percent of Maryland's voters approved our state constitutional amendment.

There is no reason to believe that this majority would not approve a federal amendment, if the facts are known.

Anne Furst McCloskey, Baltimore

The writer chairs the Maryland Coalition Against Crime.

To fight crime, city needs Norris' `strong-arm tactics'

What is wrong with the Baltimore residents who oppose "strong arm tactics" they believe acting police Commissioner Edward T. Norris may implement to fight crime and reduce homicides in the city?

The city's homicide count is well ahead of last year's pace. If the trend continues, this will be a record year.

Do we need more funeral processions?

People who want the police to use a "kid glove" approach to crime are hypocrites. What this city needs is a "kick butt and take names" attitude toward crime.

George Peterson, Baltimore

Sometimes it's the police who disturb the peace

The Sun's article describing police efforts to keep the peace in west Baltimore was one-sided ("Rebirth of west side hinges on public safety," April 24).

It details the disturbance by the young, but omitted the disturbance by the police -- that is, 10, 15 or more police cars screaming through the street from midnight until 3 a.m.

Those of us who do live downtown got a wake-up call before our time.

An earlier article "Revelers outside nightclub catch city police off guard" (April 21), recounting police efforts to control unruly behavior also omits the fact that police cars responding to the scene did so with sirens blaring.

It sounded like a war zone. And for what? "Minor skirmishes," "milling around."

This is not an isolated incident; police do this frequently.

But police do not have to sound a siren to awaken a homeless person.

And are shrieking sirens on empty streets necessary? Wouldn't flashing lights be a sufficient response to milling around -- especially at 1 a.m.?

Is it not possible for police to show some semblance of a measured response?

George E. Brown, Baltimore

A father-son image worthy of Norman Rockwell

Congratulations to Jed Kirschbaum on his wonderful photo captioned "He's my Hero" on The Sun's April 21 cover.

Norman Rockwell himself could not have captured this special father-son moment any better.

Wayne Jordan, Annapolis

Norman Rockwell has arrived at The Sun. The picture on the front page of Good Friday's paper was wonderful -- give us more.

Norma Lee Moore, Baltimore

Could trigger locks have stopped zoo shooting?

Vice President Al Gore's response to the shootings at the National Zoo was to call for mandatory child-safety trigger locks ("6 children shot at zoo in capital," April 25).

But it is already against the law to have guns in the National Zoo.

If the persons responsible for the shootings disregarded one law about guns, why does the vice president believe that they would follow one calling for child-safety locks?

Marie Lewis,Baltimore

Al Gore thinks having mandatory trigger locks on handguns illegally possessed by juveniles would have made a difference in the National Zoo shooting.

"Mandatory" must be a very strong word. Maybe we should make it "mandatory" that no one use illegal drugs.

David A. Titus, Baltimore

After the shootout at the National Zoo involving a pistol-toting 16-year-old, Washington Mayor Anthony Williams pleaded for Maryland and Virginia to make their gun laws more like D.C.'s.

Obviously, the mayor should amend the District's laws to be more like Maryland's and require all 16-year olds in D.C. to have locks on their handguns.

Maybe this will work, since Washington's ban on handguns obviously doesn't.

Ben Michalski, Havre de Grace

After-hours clubs should remain open

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