Question of the Month New laws passed in response to...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

November 17, 2001

Question of the Month

New laws passed in response to the Sept. 11 attacks give the government added police powers. But civil libertarians warn they may imperil the rights of the innocent.

Do we need to limit civil rights to prevent terrorism?

What rights would you be willing to surrender?

We are looking for 300 words or less; the deadline is Monday. 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.

Letters should include your name and address, along with a day and evening telephone number. E-mail us: letters@baltsun.com; write us: Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001; fax us: 410-332-6977.

Maryland crabbers face a bitter harvest

Once again, Maryland crabbers and seafood workers have been dealt a great disservice by our governor and top officials of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

They have ruthlessly and prematurely closed down Maryland's 2001 blue crab season by eliminating crab-harvesting for the entire month of November, thus short-circuiting another bountiful hard-crab season ("Protesting crab limits," Nov. 1).

The Maryland crabbing industry will suffer huge monetary losses from this - ones much larger than it suffered in 1995, when the crab season was shut down for 15 days in November.

That episode turned out to be a terrible, $20 million blunder that never saved any crabs at all, because they just swam down to Virginia and were eventually caught there.

This time Maryland's crabbing industry stands to lose more than $l million for each day lost to harvesting, or more than $30 million.

Smith Island crabbers had been catching 60 bushels to 90 bushels of huge male crabs per boat daily.

Many of these giant crabs measured more than 9 inches across their back shells and were bringing $40 per bushel at dockside.

And hard-crab buying boats out of Dorchester County were leaving the docks here at Ewell daily, loaded down with those enormous crabs.

Now this has all been taken away because of some silly DNR theory that cutting the state's current crab catches by 15 percent will somehow restore the bay's blue crab population within a few years.

Well, you're not going to get a crab catch any better than 60 bushels to 90 bushels of crabs per day, no matter how many years you wait.

And Smith Island crabbers are fed up with the DNR's propaganda machine spewing out false information on slick-looking charts and graphics to persuade the crab-consuming public that the bay's current supply of hard crabs must be cut off to save the crabs.

It is wrong, and it is cruel, to strip people who work on the bay of their livelihoods without subsidies or reimbursements.

The Chesapeake Bay is the only employment we have here on Smith Island. Yet, our leaders are allowing closed-minded bureaucrats at DNR to shut down our only viable industry.

Any politician or political party that does this to their own state's hard-working people does not deserve a position of leadership, and their parties should not be supported in the 2002 elections.

Jennings Evans, Smith Island

Humane policy is key to safety

Most of what Gregory Kane wrote about me was accurate, save for me pushing 70 ("Anti-war proposal likely to raise ire," Oct. 24). Oh, to be still pushing 70!

As to lowering the voting age to 16, Mr. Kane comments, "Oh yeah? Why not make it 8 then?" Would Mr. Kane be happier if we raised it to 80?

The more serious part of Mr. Kane's column concerned an appropriate response to Sept. 11.

After Nazi Germany surrendered in World War II, Eisenhower forced German villagers to tour the death camp near their village.

The news footage shows them walking in, smirking, smiling and laughing - and walking out stunned.

They really hadn't known what their government had been doing, right under their own noses.

Unfortunately, the average American knows about as much about what our government has been doing to Third World people.

Suffice it to say that increasing numbers of young men born into the torture and terror regimes our government sponsors or supports militarily will be driven to suicide bombings and worse until we wake up to the Sept. 11 wakeup call to ask ourselves why they hate us.

Both directly and through the United Nations, our government has inflicted mass terror and death on uncalculated millions of Third World people, in too many nations to list here.

They see Sept. 11 as counter-terror.

What I was trying to explain to Mr. Kane was that all the hit-or-miss bombs (Sorry, we weren't aiming for your Red Cross hospitals) we drop on starving Afghans will not save us from more and more counter-terror.

I hypothesized: What if the American people took the effort to find out what our tax money is really doing to finance the bad guys, internationally, to suck profits out of the hungry masses?

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