There's nothing moral in blocking efforts to stem AIDS...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 2000

There's nothing moral in blocking efforts to stem AIDS' spread

The Sun's editorial, "The tragedy of AIDS in Africa" (May 1) quoted United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan saying "The first battle to be won in the war against AIDS is the battle to smash the wall of silence and stigma surrounding it."

But the editorial stopped short of pointing out that Mr. Annan's words apply in large part to the failure of a number of African governments to mount adequate AIDS prevention programs -- programs encouraging the use of condoms.

The truth of the secretary general's statement is well demonstrated by The Sun's article "Kenya calls AIDS a national disaster, but officials refuse to urge condom use" (Nov. 30, 1999).

The article credits Kenyan President Daniel T. arap Moi with statements that planned AIDS education classes will be based on "culturally acceptable moral values" and that it would be improper "to encourage the use of condoms."

The article also reported that in a country of 30 million, more than 500 Kenyans die from AIDS each day, one-half million have died to date, half the beds in Kenya's public hospitals are occupied by AIDS patients and the cost of dealing with the epidemic is $2.7 million per day.

It would be interesting to know what "moral values" Mr. arap Moi has in mind which inhibit the only workable means for stemming the spread of AIDS -- educating people, providing condoms and encouraging their use.

Dan Lynch

Baltimore

Idealistic young teachers often learn harsh lessons

I am a special education teacher who chose to leave the schools, and The Sun's coverage of Kristine Lockwood has really hit a nerve ("A teacher who stands for her principles," May 2).

I too started out as an idealistic teacher who wanted to change the system. But on too many occasions I saw perfectly qualified young teachers being harassed (myself included) by angry and frequently incompetent administrators.

Regrettably, what I encountered was a "power struggle" between teachers and administrators. And, for teachers, speaking out meant possible termination.

From what I read in The Sun, I can only ascertain that the so-called "teacher shortage" is being exacerbated by an out-of-control school board that will not allow any challenge to its authority.

David A. Samuel

Baltimore

If we want kids to be fair, we must show them how

Amid the fervor over the recent removal of middle school teacher Kristine Lockwood in Howard County, parents and school board officials alike need to be aware of the audience for their actions.

Ultimately, the students of Glenwood Middle School will be the ones affectedby the situation -- less by its outcome than by the decision-making process they observe.

Only by modeling fairness, objectivity and restraint for children can we expect the same from them in return.

Parties on both sides of the issues should ignore the fanfare of pundits, politicians and the media.

They should concentrate on setting an example that encourages students to both voice their opinions in appropriate ways and make equitable judgments.

Michael Balascio

Baltimore

Firefighters' shifts still save county funds

The Sun has once again gone out of its way to ridicule firefighters in Baltimore County ("Police, fire department submit bills for overtime," May 1).

The article's implication that we are not "nice to each other" could not have been more demeaning or further from the truth. Emergencies are never planned, nor was it the intent of the union to capitalize on a potential for overtime.

If The Sun had bothered to get the facts from those who do the work daily, it would have seen that most of us still report to work at the same hours as before the change in shift arrangement, which isstill saving Baltimore County precious dollars.

A. Long

Reisterstown

The writer is a Baltimore County firefighter.

Retesting all drivers would save lives, money

Pennsylvania's lottery system to re-test drivers over 50 years old sounds good, but falls short ("Studies of elderly drivers are rising," May 2).

Let's use such a system in Maryland to retest drivers of all ages: young women in little red cars, soccer parents, 40-years olds with "mid-life" sports cars -- all of us.

It could save lives, suffering and money.

Don Villella

Towson

Shootings garner headlines; carnage on roads ignored

"Baltimore has the nation's second-highest per capita homicide rate... 28 more people have been killed than at this time last year," ("Another shooting and more frustration," April 29).

Those are horrifying and appalling figures, but at least Mayor Martin O'Malley and acting police Commissioner Edward T. Norris are attempting to do something about them.

Many Annapolis legislators choose to ignore that 600 people in Maryland are killed annually by another smoking gun, the family car.

The House Judiciary Committee killed the underage drinking prevention bill, the open alcohol container bill and the high blood alcohol content bill.

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