Question of the Month
Scientists recently announced the first successful cloning of human embryo cells. Do you see cloning as a valuable tool for reproduction and medical treatment, or is it a violation of the sanctity of life? Do you favor a ban on human cloning?
Deadline is Dec. 24. We are looking for 300 words or less. 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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Marketing city's best
The Sun's editorial on Cross Street Market described a market down on its luck, a place without proper support from the community ("Reverse market's decline," Dec. 3). I see the opposite.
You need only to walk through this market at lunchtime or near the end of any afternoon to see the vitality and diversity of those who work and shop here. Henry the butcher will cut a piece of tenderloin to order while you pick up a baguette and bottle of Bordeaux at Cross St. Cheese & Wine.
And, on the way down the aisle to Nick's Samurai Sushi Bar, be sure to pick up fresh flowers from Frank's or chocolates from the Sweet Shoppe for your sweetie.
Cross Street Market is evidence of all that is best about city life. In the markets, every vendor takes care of every customer.
It's all on the line; either you sell or you don't make a living. Every stall is a specialty store and each vendor has to make the most of every inch. This is what leads to the sense of overflowing abundance and activity in the best markets.
But Cross Street Market faces the same liabilities as Northeast, Avenue, Hollins and Lexington markets. They grew up in a different era and face stiff competition from a centralized grocery industry with big parking lots and economies of scale that push mom-and-pop businesses to the margin.
As the editorial clearly identifies, what is missing is leadership. The city-run bureaucracy charged with market oversight has no clear marching orders. The relationships between infrastructure repairs, funding, marketing, leasing, special events and neighborhoods is not managed well.
The markets will survive, if the city administration understands that markets are not commercial supermarkets or shopping mall food courts. They are neighborhood spaces that serve a variety of needs - both social and economic - and they are a telling tapestry of our urban life.
Fairness isn't real goal of death penalty foes
The Sun's editorial "Justice Denied" (Dec. 2) attacks the death penalty under the guise of calling for its fair application when, in reality, your goal is to abolish the death penalty.
The editorial criticizes state's attorneys for not having a uniform policy for application of the death penalty and suggests there must be uniformity to have justice.
But there is no uniformity anywhere in the justice system. That is apparent in the outcomes of the trials in Baltimore of the killers of two city police officers. Flint Gregory Hunt was executed for killing Officer Vincent Adolpho. Yet another Baltimore jury allowed the killer of Officer Kevon Gavin, Eric Stennett, to walk free, not even convicted of negligent driving.
When, as a prosecutor, you face the prospect of such a ludicrous decision, you may plea-bargain for a known sentence, as in the case of Troy Emery, rather than risk having a murderer found not guilty by a jury that is apparently uninterested in the facts.
There are differences in our system of justice: between the outcomes of bank robbery cases handled in federal and state courthouses in Baltimore; between drug cases in Harford County and the same cases in another county; between drunken driving cases in the same county. Some of these differences are because of state's attorneys' prosecution decisions, while others stem from jurors' attitudes, judges' sentencing habits or the size of the defense attorney's fee.
If you want justice, then accept the differences that make us human beings. If you want uniformity, then buy a big computer to spit out verdicts and sentences.
Or, if you want uniformity, then do away with jury involvement at sentencing. Take away those 12 people with their differing beliefs, perceptions, biases and attitudes. Or tell the sentencing jury not to consider who the victim or the defendant is as a person or what kind of childhood, hardships or mental conditions they have had.
As soon as a defendant is found guilty of murder, automatically sentence that person to death - that would be uniform. Take all discretion away from prosecutors, judges and juries, and you guarantee Flint Gregory Hunt and Troy Emery get the same sentence.