Study underscores the terrible toll taken by domestic...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 29, 2001

Study underscores the terrible toll taken by domestic violence

The Sun's article "Homicide tops list of pregnancy risks" (March 21) highlights another aspect of the horrific toll of domestic violence. It emphasizes the concern advocates for abused women have long expressed and society has been slow to recognize -- that domestic violence is a widespread threat to women's health.

Earlier studies indicate domestic violence is the leading cause of serious injury to American women between age 15 and 44, and that at least 25 percent of these victims are pregnant when they are beaten.

Studies also show that domestic violence is a major threat to children's health. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, abuse during pregnancy often leads to miscarriages, birth defects and premature or low birth-weight babies.

Studies also indicate that 50 percent to 70 percent of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children.

This new report on pregnancy and homicide in Maryland should be a wake-up call for more education and intervention to stop the toll of domestic violence.

It is not just a quiet, family problem; it is a major public health issue.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the board of the Maryland Health Care Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

HUD's failure to assist flipping victims is shameful

Thank you for John O'Donnell's article "Homebuyers still waiting for HUD aid" (March 18) and the subsequent editorial "Feds shouldn't flip on homeowner relief" (March 20) on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) lack of action on victims of flipping and predatory lending in Baltimore.

After publicly promising to help, HUD now hides behind semantics and arbitrary guidelines that exclude nearly everyone.

HUD has ensured that Baltimore victims will be ripped off twice, once by unscrupulous lenders and sellers sanctioned by the Federal Housing Authority and once again by HUD's false promises.

HUD should be ashamed.

Jeff Sattler, Baltimore

The writer is a former director of the Waverly Community Housing Program.

Intruders paid the price for committing a crime

I stand 100 percent behind the Geckles. The way I see it a person who decides he or she is going to commit a crime is also saying he or she is ready to accept any and all force used against them ("Victim's attorney seeks arrest in fatal shooting at warehouse," March 22).

I don't feel sorry for Jonathan Steinbach; he got exactly what he deserved. It's a shame anyone lost his life, but he took the risk, now he paid the price.

Thomas Krell, Reisterstown

Memo to Leonard H. Shapiro, attorney for Justin Storto: Tell your client to get a new hobby, preferably one that doesn't allegedly involve trying to steal someone else's property.

That way he'd stay a lot healthier.

Diane Pazourek, Sparks

Banning body armor makes citizens more vulnerable

Once again honest, law-abiding citizens may be punished for the wicked ways of criminals as the state legislature is considering a bill to ban the sale and possession of body armor except upon a permit being issued by the Maryland State Police ("Senate panel scales back governor's body armor bill," March 20).

Wouldn't it make more sense to prosecute criminals and those who use body armor during the commission of a crime?

Criminals who would wear body armor are also armed. Being an armed criminal is already against the law.

What makes legislators think criminals will throw away their body armor, when they won't throw away their weapons?

E. David Silverberg, Towson

Where access to guns is easy, shootings are more common

There is a direct link between killings involving guns and their availability.

Montreal, for example, is roughly about twice the size of Baltimore. It has a very diverse population. For the last five years, it has averaged about 50 homicides a year by guns. In Baltimore, we have averaged about 300 homicides by guns.

Buying a gun here is no problem; getting one in Canada is very difficult.

In fact, in nearly every country where there are strict laws about gun purchases, homicides by guns are nil.

When will we admit this fact and take action to save our children and population from gun violence?

Irving Distenfeld, Baltimore

Schmoke should reconsider support for the death penalty

Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is trying to obtain the release of a man who has served 26 years for a murder he probably did not commit ("Schmoke urges Jessamy to free murder convict," March 20).

This is commendable of Mr. Schmoke. But shame on him for supporting the death penalty. Had the prisoner been executed, what could Mr. Schmoke do now?

The death penalty in our country is racist by its very nature. Rich, white guilty persons do not die; poor, black and sometimes innocent people do.

Gerald Ben Shargel, Reisterstown

MSPAP costs kids knowledge of basics they need to succeed

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