To cut crime rate, Baltimore needs tougher policing I'm...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 09, 2000

To cut crime rate, Baltimore needs tougher policing

I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the interesting juxtaposition in the May 3 Sun of Gregory Kane's column criticizing aggressive policing ("Council vote for Norris could threaten civil liberties") and Douglas P. Munro's OpinionCommentary column "Policing needs balance" calling for more action to reduce Baltimore's appalling homicide rate.

Mr. Munro calls on us all to be outraged, and says "the policing [must] begin."

Mr. Kane, on the other hand, says "reducing crime by turning poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods into police states is not something to be proud of."

I disagree: A police state would be better than a lawless, murderous anarchy.

I have some sad news for Mr. Kane: You can't have it both ways. You can't tell the police to go reduce the crime rate, then complain when they get aggressive.

Of course, brutality must always be punished and can't ever be condoned. But Mr. Kane isn't just complaining about police brutality.

He complains about people being stopped and arrested. He worries about such practices turning poor neighborhoods into police states.

I think that black leaders should stop complaining about such tactics and start looking ways to help the police reduce the crime rate.

We're going to have to face the fact that some compromises in our liberties will be required to bring down crime rates.

I haven't reached this conclusion easily. I, too, treasure the civil liberties foundation upon which our society is built.

But civil liberties aren't doing any good for those 300 people who were murdered last year in Baltimore or for the thousands who become crime victims or live in fear.

I am a mother and I grieve for those dead sons and daughters and for their mothers.

If having the police stop me every day to ask questions would save some of this year's 300 murder victims, then start pulling me over.

Susan M. Battle-McDonald

Lutherville

Douglas Munro's column cited Baltimore's ever-increasing murder rate and decreasing population.

We need to find a statistician who can extrapolate those numbers and tell us during which year that confluence of events will result in everyone who is left in Baltimore being killed.

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

It's time to expedite capital punishment

The Sun's article "Groups seek moratorium on executions" (May 1) was about groups asking Gov. Parris N. Glendening to commute the death sentence of Eugene Colvin-el.

I for one would like to say that this man has had 20 years to present his case.

As a fellow citizen and taxpayer, I am tired of helping to foot the bill for these convicted murderers while they await the appeals process in prison.

I strongly feel that capital punishment needs to be revamped and the punishment carried out as soon as possible.

Why have someone sit on death row for 20 years at the taxpayers' expense?

I am sick of society making excuses for these people. What about the victims and their families? I don't see anyone putting up a fight for them.

Debra Rosner

Baltimore

Appellate judges don't sit on U.S. District Courts

The Sun's article "Deal nears for special education" (April 30) began with the following statement:

"With the unusual help of a U.S. District Court appellate judge, the Baltimore public schools will take a major step toward ending a 16-year-old lawsuit over special education Monday."

There are no U.S. District Court appellate judges. Federal appellate judges are on the Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Robert L. Malech

Columbia

State-run health care would be a fiasco

Karl Marx lives. Socialism died in Russia, but it lives in Maryland with the proposed Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative ("Health plan for all studied," May 2).

It would be a program run by the government and paid for by additional taxes on Maryland citizens.

Why should any Marylander think the government can run the health program any more efficiently than the Federal Aviation Administration can provide airport safety or local government can provide police protection or trash collection?

With the clout of a new Maryland law behind me, I could knock 15 percent off Maryland's insurance premiums through savings on unnecessary administrative expenses and on the millions of dollars of interest hospitals and doctors pay banks to finance unnecessary accounts receivables because HMOs and other health-care providers pay so slowly.

No new taxes or government administrative offices are needed.

Richard A. Eliasberg

Baltimore

Mothers aren't penalized by Social Security system

I disagree with The Sun that women who stay at home children are penalized when collecting Social Security ("No `motherhood penalty,'" editorial, April 26).

A stay-at-home mom can collect approximately 50 percent of her husband's Social Security benefits, in addition to his receiving 100 percent, even if she never paid a dime into Social Security.

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