Apologies emerge more readily once peace is made Prof...


June 04, 2000

Apologies emerge more readily once peace is made

Prof. James Ron's column "Making peace first means having to say you're sorry" (Opinion Commentary, May 29) describes atrocities committed in Lebanon by the Israeli army and Mr. Ron's own role in perpetrating such inhumanities.

He feels that an apology from Israel to the Lebanese is necessary to promote peaceful co-existence in the future.

What is interesting to me is that Mr. Ron participated in these horrible acts of war when he was in Israel, and yet he writes now like a repentant, born-again pacifist.

What made him behave like all the other combatants while he was in the war-torn areas of southern Lebanon, and then be able to regretfully describe the horrors of battle and its civilian casualties from his position here at John Hopkins University?

Is it that men act in frantic and monstrous ways when they feel their way of life, their families and their very existence is threatened?

Is it that they feel victimized by past injustices that inspire them to almost bestial retaliation?

Mr. Ron can apologize, because he is safe now and able to reflect on the evils of war.

In the Middle East there is room for apology on every side, to say the least.

But it is much more likely that such apologies will follow peace than vice versa.

Israel and the Palestinians are taking the hard steps to bring about peace.

Are Syria and the Hezbollah?

Nelson Goodman, Shady Side

Gambling exacts serious social costs

My heart goes out to the family of 19-year police veteran Lt. Michael Snow, who was arrested recently for bank robbery ("Police officer held in robberies," May 17).

But let's focus on the root cause of his alleged crimes: Playing the slot machines at Delaware tracks.

When this happens to one of our most trusted civil servants, we see that gambling addiction is a major problem.

Across the country, people have robbed banks, stolen from their employers, committed insurance fraud and even committed murder so they could continue to feed the slot machines.

In South Carolina, a young military woman left her infant daughter to die in her car so she could play video poker.

A Texas man killed an elderly couple to get money to play the slot machines in Louisiana.

The Maryland legislature has been presented with this evidence as well as evidence that gambling leads to political corruption.

So why do some of our elected officials continue to push for slot machines at Maryland racetracks?

Supporters are trying to fool the public by using the innocuous term "video lottery terminals" (VLTs).

We already have a lottery, so what's the difference?

VLTs are classified as video gambling devices (i.e., slot machines and video poker). These are the most addictive forms of gambling.

If legislators sponsor or co-sponsor gambling expansion, they should be asked why they support something that will harm Maryland and its people and how many citizens are they willing to sacrifice to gambling addiction.

Only the owners and investors get rich from VLTs. The taxpayers ultimately pay the added social costs.

We already have enough problems with our own legalized forms of gambling and those just over the border.

Enough is enough. I urge Maryland's legislators to stop sponsoring gambling expansion bills.

Barbara Knickelbein, Glen Burnie

Preakness party skirted state's lobbying limits

Last year, the state's ethics laws were revised to prohibit direct lobbying of our state legislators by the horse racing track owners and horse breeders.

Instead, Gov. Parris N. Glendening decided to bring the lobbying effort to the legislators himself, and he used $140,000 from Maryland taxpayer in that effort.

How is it that this governor is able to skirt these ethics laws?

I, for one, would have preferred to have the track owners spend their own money on such things.

As it turns out, this event was attended not as much by legislators as much as by leaders of unions which supported Mr. Glendening in the past and whose support Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will need to succeed Mr. Glendening.

It is clear to me that the $140,000 of taxpayer money which Mr. Glendening spent to woo the union leaders and the race track owners is an egregious expenditure and shows a cavalier disregard for the taxpayers' interests.

What governing body has oversight of these abuses?

How can citizens prevent such abuses in the future?

Allen Furth, Annapolis

Tripp's prosecution was political payback

Michael Olesker's attempt to prolong the persecution of Linda Tripp falls short of the mark ("Beating wiretap charge is hollow victory for Tripp," May 28).

Had the case gone to court, Maryland's unique definition of wiretapping and the interstate nature of the event in question may not have convinced a jury of the guilt of the accused.

And the politically inspired injection of the state prosecutor in a case where no high official was accused of a crime, gave more than a hint that the prosecution waspartisan, retributive and malicious.

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