The burglars whom the Geckles shot are the real...


May 22, 2001

The burglars whom the Geckles shot are the real criminals

In his column "Shooting down law and order" (Opinion*Commentary, May 15), Alexander E. Hooke makes the assumptions that the Geckle brothers were "holing up in their offices with shotguns, waiting in the dark night to shoot unarmed intruders in the back."

None of us, including the Geckles, will probably ever know for certain exactly what happened that night. But there are a few things we do know.

Their place of business had been burglarized twice in consecutive days. Personal property vital to their business and livelihood had been stolen. The police seemed to have no clues and had not been able to prevent the repetition of the crime. What were the Geckles to do?

Why should I (or you) work for years to build a business, then sit idly by while others take what they can from it and destroy our ability to support ourselves and our families? What have we (as individuals and as a nation) become when we limit the ability of a free citizen to protect life, limb and property?

To compare the Geckles, who were simply protecting their business from destruction, to "lynch mobs hanging their victims on a tree" is ludicrous.

Lynch mobs seek their victims out. The Geckles sought no one, and certainly invited no one into their place of business that night. The burglars who were shot were not victims, but criminals.

It is unfortunate one of them is dead, but when you become involved in a hazardous line of work such as burglary, you must know ahead of time that you may pay the ultimate price for your folly.

Brian D. Hess, Bel Air

I read Alexander Hooke's diatribe against the Geckle brothers with a mixture of amusement and disgust.

Disgust at the convoluted logic the author employed to vilify these men and the grand jury that refused to indict them; amusement at the writer's feeble attempt to make me believe that he has any concept what really happened that night.

I suggest that Mr. Hooke restrict his Monday morning quarterbacking to topics he knows something about.

L. A. Mattson, Pasadena

`Take Back Maryland' effort shows need for gay rights law

Any doubt about the necessity for Maryland's recently enacted law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment and public accommodations should be satisfied by a group calling itself "Take Back Maryland."

Before the ink from state officials' pens was even dry, the group was grabbing media attention for their plan to try to repeal the law by referendum in 2002.

The majority of Marylanders believe discrimination is wrong.

They must continue the fight to ensure that all citizens of our state receive equal treatment under the law.

James R. Moody, Catonsville

Minors should get permission to have abortions as well

As a Baltimore County general dentist who has had to restore fractured teeth and treat oral infections caused by tongue piercing, I heartily endorse The Sun's recent editorial "A piercing argument" (May 16).

Defending the health of minors who are able to make good judgments about their health is worthy of legislative action.

And requiring piercing shops to obtain parental permission before disfiguring children would have decreased the damage to the dental and overall health of some of my patients.

However, a more invasive surgical procedure can be performed on minors without parental permission. This procedure can be life-threatening for young people.

Parental permission should be required for a minor to have an abortion.

John R. Baronas, Catonsville

Voice of peace activists missing from report on film

It was great to see the photograph in The Sun May 4 of Catonsville Nine activist Tom Lewis and his mother Pauline holding each other. She has always supported his many actions for peace and justice.

However, I was very disappointed with the accompanying article on the film "Investigation of a Flame," which is about the burning of draft files in Catonsville in 1968. The reporter failed to interview any of the nine, who were present that evening, and did not quote one peace activist (" `Flame' opens festival," May 4).

I was at the Senator Theatre that evening, and there was a vigorous debate. Not to include the perspective of the peace activists was unfair.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

Blaming founders for slavery offends patriotic sensibilities

Memorial Day and Independence Day are fast approaching -- days that commemorate the hardships our founders endured giving birth to the greatest form of government man has yet conceived and remembering those who gave their lives in defense of our country.

So my patriotic pride was really piqued by the letter "It wasn't the Confederacy that brought us slavery" (May 14). What is wrong with someone who writes "slavery was created by our Founding Fathers including slave-owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and approved by the Supreme Court."

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