Question of the Month
President Bush's new national energy policy stresses increased drilling for oil and energy production rather than conservation.
Do you think we can produce our way out of our energy woes without seriously damaging our environment? If not, what changes would you be willing to make to live in a more energy-efficient way?
We are looking for 300 words or less; the deadline is June 25. Letters become the property of The Sun, which reserves the right to edit them. By submitting a letter, the author grants The Sun an irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use and republish the letter, in whole or in part, in all media and to authorize others to reprint it.
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Taxing energy promotes efficiency
The Sun's editorial "Energizing the nation"(May 21) states that Mr. Bush should push the OPEC oil cartel to expand production.
But since oil is finite, more production now means less production later. Is it really in our best interests to push for a higher global oil production peak followed by a steeper decline? No.
When global oil production begins its inevitable decline, more efficient nations will be better off. In 1997, Germany, Japan and China used 140, 113 and 10 gallons of gasoline per person, respectively. Americans used an incredible 459 gallons of gasoline per person.
Our best bet would be to shift our taxes from those on income and payrolls onto fossil fuels. This would put market forces to work in building efficiency and investing in alternative energy.
If we don't raise energy taxes, the free market will soon raise its cost for us. But if we raise energy prices through a tax shift, we keep the money in our economy. If we wait for the market to drive prices up, OPEC will get our money.
We know how to build cars that get 70 miles to the gallon and we know how to build communities where people can walk to work.
A tax shift resulting in far higher energy prices (and far lower income and payroll taxes) would give us a reason to buy efficient cars, build walkable communities and make investments in efficiency and alternative energy.
Carl Henn, Rockville
Revenge culture causes violence
I read with sadness about the mass shooting on North Avenue May 28 ("11 shot at city block party," May 29).
While I grieve for the victims and the neighborhood, I was surprised to see that a local resident blamed the mayor of Baltimore by saying, "The crime rate needs to go down; O'Malley is doing OK, but apparently he's not doing good enough."
In my opinion, if we want to lower the crime rate we need to look to ourselves rather than to our mayor.
While I know few of the particulars of that shooting spree, I do know that there exists in Baltimore a revenge culture that accepts violence as a means of settling old scores. In some corners of the city, little emphasis is placed on the peaceful resolution of disputes.
If we want to lower the crime rate, let's change that culture.
Let's begin at the root of the hatred. Let's make peaceful conflict resolution a primary focus of school instruction. Let's organize our churches to preach peace and forgiveness.
Let's find a way to show parents how to teach their children that human life is sacred.
Let's show our children that they have worth, value and potential so they can respect the value of others, rather than shoot at them as if they were targets in a video game.
Is that going to be difficult? Of course it is.
But unless we change a culture in which we accept violence as a means of conflict resolution, no amount of policing and no mayor will ever be able to do enough.
Richard R. Espey, Baltimore
Gambling isn't worth the costs
Michael Olesker argues that we need to embrace casino-style gambling to save the state horse racing industry and raise money for schools and social programs ("Md. racing industry left at the gate," May 20).
Mr. Olesker may be right that Maryland's horse racing industry is in decline. However, if the only way to save it is to embrace casino-style gambling, we would be better off without racing.
Mr. Olesker's assertion that casino gambling is just "an entertainment, a diversion" is naive at best. Gambling is a disease. Gambling is an addiction.
Gambling ruins many Maryland families every year. If casino-style gambling comes to Maryland, the number of Maryland residents addicted to gambling will dramatically increase.
Legalizing gambling for profit makes no more sense than legalizing drugs or prostitution for profit.
The projected revenue from the proposed slots also does not justify them. Only a small percentage of the money wagered actually will go to the state treasury. The vast majority will line the pockets of the gambling industry.