City streets claim yet another life

SATURDAY MAILBOX

June 03, 2000

City streets claim yet another life

On Sunday mornings I usually awaken before the rest of the family and enjoy a cup of coffee while I peruse The Sun. In quiet solitude, I read the headlines, check the sports page, then it's on to Gregory Kane's column.

However, on May 21 I deviated from my pattern and first read the article that was opposite from Mr. Kane's column "Walking while black new reason for suspicion."

The news article was about a 26-year-old student of mine, Christian Ludwig, who was murdered the previous morning while trying to help a friend who was robbed ("Dental student fatally stabbed after trying to stop robber").

While Mr. Kane was weeping for his son's rights in his encounter with Baltimore police, I and hundreds of others were weeping for a young man senselessly and brutally murdered in the streets of Baltimore.

Mr. Ludwig played by the rules and became the type of son every parent hopes and prays for. He was never involved with drugs or crime, but was a kindhearted, good-looking man who had an uncommon, infectious joie de vivre.

He found good all around him and had old-fashioned values of courtesy, humility and genuine caring.

And now, parents, relatives, friends and faculty all try to make sense out of the senseless.

One thing is certain: We are all diminished as human beings because tragedies such as this one are allowed to occur almost daily.

Another thing is certain: If acts such as this could be prevented by the police stopping Mr. Kane's son, or my 24-year-old son or every other young son, then so be it.

It's not a racial thing, or a rich or poor thing, or a profiling thing; it is simply the right thing.

Yes, Mr. Kane, many of us are prepared to trade our so-called "freedom" for security.

We welcome Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris' attempt to stop the bloodshed and help restore Baltimore to a place where people can walk the streets without fear and can enjoy "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

In Mr. Kane's eyes, this approach might make us Baltimorons or even Nazis.

However I don't think the parents of Christian Ludwig or the thousands of other survivors that have been left behind would share his vision of freedom.

Morton Wood, Towson

The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

Ways to prevent blooms that blemish the bay

The Sun's article "Mahogany tide casting a taint on Chesapeake" (May 20) gave excellent background on algal blooms.

But we at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation thought readers might appreciate more information about the nutrient pollution that is the primary cause for this type of algae bloom and what citizens can do to reduce it.

Nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus, are key ingredients for plant and animal growth. But excessive nutrients enter the bay and its tributaries daily and cause algae to grow and expand into huge blooms.

These blooms block sunlight to the plants and animals that are underwater and, when the algae decompose, they lower the levels of dissolved oxygen in the bay.

In the short term, these blooms cause fish kills such as those associated with the mahogany tide, and in the long term, they contribute to declines in essential underwater grasses.

An estimated 21 percent of the nutrients that enter the bay come from cars, industrial sources and electric utilities.

Citizens can help reduce nutrient pollution by minimizing car trips, conserving electricity and supporting environmentally sensitive utility companies.

We can also support more efficient septic systems, conserve water, use less fertilizer on our lawns and work to reduce nutrient pollution from agricultural sources.

The mahogany tide will dissipate, but the bay's underlying nutrient problems will not disappear so easily.

If we are to save the bay, we must all take responsibility for reducing nutrient pollution.

Theresa Pierno, Annapolis

The writer is Maryland executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation .

To stop gun violence

I was raised in a family where we owned guns and many in my family still own guns. I support their right to own them.

On the other hand, gun violence has spiraled out of control in America.

The Centers for Disease Control's most recent (1997) data shows gun homicides are the fourth leading cause of death for people 10 to 14 years of age and the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

Homicide was the No. 1 cause of death for 15-to-24 year-old African-Americans and 32,436 individuals died as a result of gunfire.

These statistics represent deaths. They do not touch on those who are injured or maimed and they do not cover statistics about non- fatal crimes involving guns.

What is the answer? The Million Mom March was a great start. It brought 500,000 citizens together to say, "Enough is enough."

Some have criticized the march as emotional or as an attempt to ban guns altogether. Some gun control advocates have criticized the march for its moderate goals. Both sides are missing the point.

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