Citizens using force to protect property is not...


April 21, 2001

Citizens using force to protect property is not `vigilantism'

The Sun's editorial "Just say `no' to vigilantism" (April 10) was designed to sensationalize the non-problem of citizens defending their property against felons.

Burglary is still a felony in Maryland. The brothers Matthew and Dominic Geckle were exercising their police power as citizens under the common law to halt felons engaged in burglary, using any force necessary.

Whether social engineers like this or not, this police power is a foundation of our legal system. Thus no "vigilantism" was involved.

The felons involved foolishly attempted a burglary knowing an armed property owner could be waiting there to defend life, livelihood and property.

They would have been better advised to attempt such a burglary in England where citizens disarmed by their government are now waiting as prey, no longer able to exercise their common-law rights.

Fortunately, American citizens have not yet been disarmed.

Jim Norris


Law and order editors gave Clinton a free ride

The Sun's latest empty editorial was "Just say `no' to vigilantism," (April 10), in which The Sun demanded quick legal action against two men who were trying to defend their business and property.

Where was The Sun's demand for fast law enforcement when former President Clinton committed perjury? Gave away nuclear secrets to the Chinese? Looted the White House?

Or accepted millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations from foreigners?

In the face of Mr. Clinton's gross amorality, readers got only deafening silence from the "law and order" editors at The Sun.

Michael Holden


Radio Free Asia offers Chinese listeners a forum

Ellen Gamerman's article on Radio Free Asia's (RFA) call-in programs ("China Calling," April 7) rightly and vividly conveys RFA's primary mission -- to demonstrate, often by example, what it means to enjoy a truly free press.

RFA provided a short-wave forum for any Chinese listener who wished to voice an opinion about the April 1 airborne collision between a U.S. reconnaissance plane and a Chinese jet fighter, or about the ensuing stalemate.

As Ms. Gamerman noted, some of those calls were viscerally anti-American. More than half, however, either expressed support for the United States or skepticism regarding China's account of how the collision occurred.

And many callers have sharply criticized China's government-controlled press, underscoring the urgent need and growing demand for just the sort of uncensored forum that RFA is providing.

To clarify another point, RFA currently has 242 full-time employees around the world and engages more than 200 others in a part-time or contractual basis -- rather than the 500 staffers The Sun reported.

Richard Richter


The writer is president of Radio Free Asia.

Balto. Co.'s commitment to recycling remains firm

I am writing to reaffirm that Baltimore County's residential recycling collection program remains strong and steady.

Last year Baltimore County residents set an all-time, statewide record for mixed paper recycling (80.8 million pounds), while also setting out 16.6 million pounds of bottles and cans.

A dedicated group of 49 private collectors provide customer-friendly, yet cost-effective services on a once-a-week recycling, once-a-week trash collection basis. The Maryland Environmental Service (MES) sorts recyclables then markets to the county's best advantage.

Last year, this teamwork led to nearly $1.8 million in revenues from the sale of recyclables, thereby offsetting some of the county's solid waste management costs.

Even more important, we estimate that, if current recycling and other trends continue, Baltimore County will not need a new, expensive landfill until 2049.

Charles K. Weiss


The writer heads the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management.

Baltimore shouldn't stop recycling program that works

The mayor has said the city's recycling program puts 100 percent of our trash trucks on the street each week to serve only 10 percent of the city's households currently participating in the program.

Did anyone ever think 100 percent of households would take the time to save bag and recycle? Is 10 percent not remarkable -- for any voluntary program that takes this kind of time and planning.

Might we be saving 10 percent of raw resources? Is this 10 percent not saving space at the city dump? And is this not conservation at its best? I now put out less than half as much trash, thanks to the recycling program.

Programs need re-examination and there is certainly room for creative change short of outright cancellation of the city's curbside recycling program.

But with recycling, and conservation, we are moving in a positive direction. Don't stop what works.

Carol Schreter


D'Adamo's opposition Is `incomprehensible'

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