Making documents available in Spanish could stop abuse...


June 10, 2000

Making documents available in Spanish could stop abuse

The fear, frustration and humiliation that a women goes through when she is sexually harassed was well documented in Kristine Henry's article "Harassment lawsuit settled for $1 million" (June 2).

Ms. Henry cites this case as troubling "because the victims, all Hispanic, were particularly vulnerable: new to the country, unable to speak English, making low wages and unfamiliar with their rights."

What is also particularly troubling is the failure of state legislators to recognize the need to provide the state's Hispanic population with information in Spanish -- information that might stop these abuses early on.

A bill to provide such translations was killed in committee by state legislators during the past session. And the English-only mentality seems to be alive and well among many politicians.

But in Baltimore the mind set has been more proactive. Councilwoman Helen Holton recently introduced a resolution to have the city's public information translated into Spanish.

The entire council approved the resolution. This is a step in the right direction.

Incidents such as the one that occurred in Laurel can be prevented if we are willing to take such measures.

Hector L. Torres


Starr's obsession caused impeachment, humiliation

It was special counsel Kenneth Starr who "put the country through the torture of an impeachment trial"("Disbar President Clinton before he leaves public life," letters, June 2).

Mr. Starr employed illegal tapes to investigate an extramarital liaison that had nothing to do with high crimes and misdemeanors.

He intimidated a witness to elicit all the irrelevant sexual particulars.

And in an act mind-boggling in its flouting of common decency, he included those particulars in his report.

Mr. Starr not only gratuitously humiliated the two principals and their families, but shamefully embarrassed the entire country, making the United States the laughingstock of the civilized world.

Rea Knisbacher


Focus on athletes trying to improve people's lives

I am relieved that the Ray Lewis trial is over. Contrary to what every form of media in this town seemed to think, everyone was not focused on this trial.

Guilty or innocent, Mr. Lewis is a sports figure, and his indiscretions do not qualify him as the lead story on any news report or as a headline for The Sun.

Put this person on the playing field where he belongs.

Let Mr. Lewis be overrated and overpaid there, but not monopolize the media with his bad-boy behavior and the consequences.

Let's highlight instead the positive things our local sport figures are doing -- activities to help kids and better the lives of people in specific neighborhoods and places where they are investing their money to better the lives of others.

Lynette Reagan


Looking for a scapegoat rather than a solution

The Sun's article "A household insecticide becomes a horror story" (May 28) failed to meet even the common-sense test.

Once the writers heard that the couple in the story reported symptoms to their physician two months before treating their home for carpenter ants, they should have heeded the warning bells.

If there were a cause and effect relationship between the pesticide the family used and their health concerns, the exposure would have had to have come before the symptoms.

The same is true of any exposure: You don't get drunk before using alcohol or get headache relief before taking aspirin.

My concern with the story is not that companies will settle nuisance lawsuits, but that this couple was looking to assign blame rather than find solutions.

John Spencer


Jail time might teach owners to keep guns safe

The Dutch have it right in sentencing the father of a teen-ager who wounded five in the country's first school shooting ("Father sentenced for teen's shootings in Dutch School," June 1). The father was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Why isn't the grandfather whose gun was recently used by his 13-year-old grandson to shoot a popular middle school teacher in Lake Worth, Fla., also guilty?

Why wasn't his gun locked up or stored away free from the hands of a grandchild or an intruder?

The grandfather in this horrible, unnecessary tragedy should be sentenced to nine years behind bars. That might set a precedent for all gun owners to be responsible in owning a gun.

Ruth Von Bramer


Leave chasing criminals to the professionals . . .

The tragic stabbing death of Christian W. Ludwig on the eve of his graduation from the University of Maryland Dental School is a loss for all of us and, unfortunately, a cautionary tale.

The Sun's editorial "Another grievous loss" (May 23) is correct: "Sadly, the impulse to help a friend cannot be obeyed in a city where death may easily be the result."

Most citizens do not have the knowledge, training or defenses to deal evenly with these dangerous situations.

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