Development sprawl causes the population of deer to...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 29, 2001

Development sprawl causes the population of deer to skyrocket

I was impressed by The Sun's editorial urging motorists to use caution to avoid serious automobile accidents involving whitetail deer ("A deer price to pay," Nov. 20). However, it did not accurately report why the large increase in the whitetail deer population has occurred.

The editorial indicates that the deer population in Maryland has increased despite sprawling development. The reverse is actually true: The deer population has increased largely because of sprawl.

Deer thrive in fragmented habitats, especially "edge" habitats, where patches of wooded areas are found in large open areas such as farms or large housing developments. When you combine these habitat changes with the fact that human beings have eliminated all other natural predators from the ecological picture, the deer population skyrockets.

So ironically, the very form of development that has embraced the automobile as the primary mode of transportation has led to increased automobile accidents.

Wade Shelton

Towson

Suicide bombings claimed many more innocent lives

The deaths of five Palestinian children are certainly tragic ("Blast kills 5 boys in Gaza," Nov. 23). However, The Sun's suggestion that the incident "may be the biggest death toll of innocent children or of noncombatants at one time" involves a ludicrous disregard of facts as well as intent.

Several suicide bombings by Palestinian groups have killed 15 or more children and other noncombatants. Recent examples include the disco suicide bomb that killed 19 teen-agers and the Sbarro restaurant bombing that killed and wounded scores of innocent people.

And suicide bombs entail the intentional targeting of noncombatants, while kicking an artillery shell is a tragic yet unintended accident.

Barry Levi

Baltimore

Would Peter Hermann argue that more than 20 teen-agers in a disco were acting in an aggressive manner when a bomb went off killing them? Or perhaps 15 Jews eating pizza in a restaurant were planning some mass attack when they were brutally murdered by a suicide bomber.

And, as for differences in reaction, Israel has launched an investigation into the Gaza incident in the hope that it will not be repeated. Remorse has been expressed.

Contrast this with Palestinians dancing in the streets after suicide bombings and other attacks.

Michael Langbaum

Baltimore

Never forget court's role in Florida's disputed voting

A recent letter stated that "no responsible Democrat supports any further stirring of the Florida vote mess" ("Rehashing Florida dispute shows little common sense," Nov. 17). I say: No responsible American citizen should ever forget it.

Allowing the U.S. Supreme Court to choose our president is completely unacceptable, whether that choice ended up being correct or not. The 12th Amendment provides for electoral disputes to be settled in Congress; the Supreme Court had no authority to intervene.

That it did so, regardless of the Constitution, sets a dangerous and disturbing precedent for future presidential elections.

Joanne Backof

Baltimore

Clearing mines would win Afghans' hearts and minds

Mines are a plague on Afghanistan that over the years have devastated tens of thousands of civilians. We ought to launch and publicize an immediate, intense mine-clearing operation throughout every captured area in that country.

Let's show video of U.S. forces clearing out mines and making safe for villagers, farmers and children the most heavily mined region in the world. Not only would this effort bring over to our side thousands of Afghans, but it also would win friendship for us among every other heavily mined Third World country torn by conflict. We can best win hearts and minds by saving legs, arms and lives.

John Fries

Timonium

Defending sacrilegious image offends faithful

I find Glenn McNatt's suggestion that Andres Serrano's sacrilegious image of Jesus immersed in urine really raises "larger issues" a pathetic attempt to cover simple anti-Christian prejudice under the guise of enlightened moral debate ("An image defiled by censorship," Nov. 20).

Only a child would be so naive to accept Mr. McNatt's notion that this photograph might really be about Jesus' immersion in the muck of sin and the mess of human redemption.

And even more outrageous is the writer's thesis that the terrible defilement in this whole story is not so much the defilement of Jesus but that of the public, which has been defiled by the censorship of the person who bought the Baltimore Museum of Art's postcards of the piece and (presumably) destroyed them.

As for the BMA selling postcards of this insensitive and mean-spirited work of "art," Mr. McNatt finds himself left with "no easy answers."

If the image in the glass of urine were not that of Jesus, but instead, say, the writer's mother or someone dear to him, would there be an easier answer?

David Pietropaoli

Baltimore

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