Attacks reveal best and worst of our character Since...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 21, 2001

Attacks reveal best and worst of our character

Since bloody Tuesday, the world has witnessed Americans at their best and Americans at their worst.

The innumerable acts of compassion, generosity and kindness contributed by millions who live in the land of the free have awed people across the country and around the planet.

And when hundreds of intrepid firefighters and policemen scrambled up the smoldering twin towers to rescue those within, Americans from coast to coast remembered that this country is, indeed, "the home of the brave."

Meanwhile, others decided to express their "patriotism" by harassing, assaulting and, in at least one instance, killing Americans who appeared to be of Middle-Eastern descent.

Terrorizing innocent people is something we must all stand united against. We would do well to remember that one cannot fight fire with fire and that an eye for an eye only renders the world blind.

Michael I. Lineberry

Baltimore

Don't target ethnic groups to avenge terrorist attack

Before Sept. 11, the public seemed to have decided that one of the gravest mistakes made after Pearl Harbor was the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans, just because their ethnicity affiliated them with the enemy country.

Yet after the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11, this same public has turned against Palestinians with alarming alacrity and hatred that is strongly reminiscent of the hysterical scapegoat mob mentality of America after Pearl Harbor.

I hope America will learn enough from history enough to realize that scapegoating an entire ethnic group for the crimes of a few individuals is one of the worst mistakes our country can make at a time of national crisis.

Grace Cahill

Baltimore

America will need as much fortitude now as it did 60 years ago this December. We should not, however, repeat past errors and make all Muslims our enemy.

We are a great country because we believe in accommodating many cultures.

The vast majority of Muslims are good productive Americans. They should be no more associated with the acts of Sept. 11 than most Christians should be associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

Dennis G. Olver

Baltimore

If we're fighting terrorism, Arafat must face sanctions

The U.S. government and most of the world are pledging a war on terrorism. Forgive me if I'm skeptical, but if we look at the history of the fight against terror we find the western world has caved in.

How else can you explain Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat receiving a Nobel Peace Prize years after he was directly implicated in the hijacking of civilian planes and the murder of innocent civilians?

There should be only one response to terrorism, no matter what the justification -- condemnation and eradication.

We know Mr. Arafat is responsible for terror and everyone accepts that the Palestinian Authority at least harbors terrorists. The Palestinian Authority should suffer the consequences.

Amir H. Wolfe

Silver Spring

No one has a right to shed the blood of innocents

The destruction is still too gigantic for me to grasp. It is unfathomable to be hated on this scale. As a people, we had no idea.

Striking back is a necessity. But I have a foreboding that our government is going to let us -- no, civilization -- down by replicating a hideous crime.

I want to preserve the distinction between them and us. We must not target the innocent. We have no more right to shed their blood than they did.

Sarah Lord

Baltimore

Attack leaves nation shaken to its core

Sadly, the tragic events of Sept. 11 may be "previews of coming attractions."

The brave facade put on by Americans is admirable, but it does not alter the fact that America has been shaken to its core.

Garland L. Crosby

Baltimore

Hole in the city's skyline must devastate New Yorkers

Every time I go past the ruins of Memorial Stadium I am hit with a true feeling of sadness: How much that wonderful structure meant to me and how much it will always mean to me.

I cannot even imagine what New Yorkers must feel when they see lower Manhattan as it is today.

J. McDonald Kennedy

Baltimore

Make the cockpits of airliners impregnable

I believe that the commercial aircraft cockpits should be made impregnable. The current cockpit doors are useless; I propose that substantial, bulletproof doors be installed.

These doors should be locked from inside the cockpit with no external access other than, perhaps, a method of deactivating the lock from outside the plane.

Cockpits should be locked at all times when passengers are on the plane. The pilots would never leave the cockpit for any cabin emergency -- the cabin crew is at least as capable as the pilot of handling unruly passengers and a knife- or gun-wielding passenger is no match for anyone short of an armed guard.

But the plane, passengers and pilots are far safer if the pilots are protected.

Joe McDaniel

Owings Mills

Donations to Afghanistan would show our real strength

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