The Internet poses risks more serious than a computer...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 20, 2001

The Internet poses risks more serious than a computer bug

The Sun's editorial "You've got mail" (Nov. 6) points out the apparent safety of e-mail compared with the possible anthrax contamination of letters through traditional mail. But while this may be true in terrorist times, it is not entirely safe or rational to send e-mails, which may deliver unintended consequences.

As a single woman, I have met men over the Internet and corresponded with them in attempts to establish friendships and beyond. While cyber-missives begin innocently and with the best of intentions, they can lead to frightening outcomes.

The ease and relative anonymity of the computer connections can prompt correspondents to tell and ask for more information than they would in person. Friendships can quickly advance into more intimate relationships online, and lead to meetings or promises that may be disappointing at best and dangerous at worst.

The editorial states that the only threat inherent in e-mail is the possibility of encountering a computer virus. But there are other risks to e-mail.

G. West

Columbia

Reinforcing half-truths about Middle East conflict

The recent letters titled "No `Zionist project' explains Mideast violence" (Nov. 12) are exactly why The Sun should continue to publish commentaries that represent both sides of the spectrum.

The arguments spouted in both letters represent old and tired points of view based on half-truths (such as that Palestinians were made a generous offer at Camp David - yes, if you call a country that looks like Swiss cheese generous).

Sadly, despite all our technology, Americans are probably the most misinformed population on the planet regarding the Middle East conflict.

The media is mostly to blame, but so too are those "Palestinian sympathizers" who have failed to speak out for their belief that military occupation is wrong and that a country based on one religion, with a defined class of secondary citizens, is wrong and is not something we Americans should ever support.

Donny S. Onnet

Sykesville

Eliminating some teams won't cure what ails baseball

The baseball owners' contraction plan reminds me of the doctor who told his patient: "Your headaches are caused by the swelling of your brain. The way to relieve the problem is by removing your two ears."

Quentin D. Davis

Aberdeen

Arrival of cruise ships could boost local economy

Since Sept. 11, we all have been living under stress. One of the best stress relievers is travel. However, the airlines have done little to ease the anxieties of the traveling public.

The best stress-reliever in the travel industry is the cruise vacation. And two cruise ships will now be home-ported in Baltimore ("Fear of flying may bring more cruise ships here," Nov. 3).

This provides the community with the opportunity to travel without the problems of flying. And it's important that the community supports these cruise vacations, since success will bring additional ships and boost the local economy.

These ships will also bring many visitors to our area. It is essential that all Baltimore makes these visitors feel welcome and that the visitors have a great vacation.

Each visitor who has a positive experience in Baltimore could, by word of mouth, bring 10 other visitors to Baltimore.

Allan R. Miller

Towson

The writer is a professor of travel and tourism at Towson University.

Without right to dissent, our freedoms ring hollow

The letter "Second-guessing the war aids enemies" (Nov. 10) criticized a Sun commentator for not supporting the war in Afghanistan. "If you can't support the team, get off the field," the writer said.

Many of us feel this war is a poor decision. Some for pacifist reasons; some for practical reasons, such as that the war seems to be driving more moderates to the camp of the extremists and has little chance of stamping out terrorism; and some because the United States, once again, seems to be playing the failed "enemy of my enemy is my friend" strategy.

The letter writer, in exercising his right to voice his position, obviously understands that right as among the precious liberties that make this country extraordinary. But without the right of dissent, free speech is but a hollow phrase.

Dan Shemer

Lutherville

Mayor is right to redirect funding for kids

In covering the political controversy over funding after-school programs, The Sun downplayed the mundane but important fact that Baltimore is spending approximately $6.5 million a year in new funds for after-school care for more than 10,000 children at 90 sites ("Mayor faces loud criticism," Nov. 13).

The 50 providers administering these programs are being funded in an impartial, nonpolitical process and held accountable for their use of funds. The beneficiaries are the children of Baltimore.

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