Man who shot bike thief is not a `murderer' While I do...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 18, 2002

Man who shot bike thief is not a `murderer'

While I do not condone wanton vigilantism, I do believe citizens have a right to protect their property. And Edward Day is a Vietnam War veteran who fought for his country, is well-respected in his crime-ridden neighborhood and was protecting his property.

Mr. Day's property was in a fenced-in backyard, and David Stewart was apparently a trespasser and a thief ("Teen taking bicycle slain," July 12).

Did Mr. Stewart deserve to die? Maybe not, but when he consciously entered a fenced property to commit a malicious crime, he became a criminal and suffered the dire consequences of his actions.

Mr. Day should not be charged with murder or manslaughter. He was protecting his home and property and perhaps his own life.

Maybe parents will take this as a wake-up call, and teach their children that if they trespass and steal, they may end up being dead wrong.

Ginny Phillips

Baltimore

The death of another Baltimore teen-ager, David Stewart, was an unfortunate headline in Friday's Sun. It was also unfortunate that the paper seemed to make every effort to paint a positive image of the victim when he was, if the story is accurate, a thief.

While Edward Day may have stepped over the line by gunning down this criminal, it should be made perfectly clear that if young Mr. Stewart had not trespassed and stolen, he would be alive today.

Charging Mr. Day with first-degree murder is outrageous. How could he premeditate his actions unless he knew he would be robbed on that day?

It appears that he was spontaneously reacting to a criminal act. Reckless endangerment seems a more appropriate charge.

E. Mitchell Arion

Goldsboro

Charge Edward Day with a lesser crime

David Stewart should not be dead, his parents should not be slammed with the shock of losing a child and Edward Day should not be held on first-degree murder charges ("Teen taking bicycle slain," July 12).

After all, the boy was only stealing. What were Mr. Day's alternatives? Let the boy take his property with immunity? Not really a viable option. Call the police? Oh, please! Confront the youth face-to-face? Just as stealing has come to be accepted and acceptable, so has violence against property owners, so this option also falls short on desirability.

But while we don't yet know the whole story, Mr. Day does need to be under arrest. Even if he had previously been preyed upon by neighborhood youths, and that does not seem to be the case, he used way too much force for a transgression as small as Mr. Stewart's. But that doesn't mean he should be charged with first-degree murder.

I hope that cooler heads will prevail and Mr. Day will be indicted and tried under a more reasonable charge -- one that can be sustained.

Guy Thompson

Laurel

Fight illegal drugs, not tobacco use

I am sick to death of hearing about victims of smoking. What about the victims of drugs? If all of the attention given to the anti-smoking campaign in Maryland were to be redirected to an anti-drug campaign, Maryland would be a drug-free state ("`Smoking stops here' starting today, state officials declare," July 12).

Drugs do more harm to our state than tobacco. So let's take the state's tobacco settlement money -- all $4 billion -- and use it to eliminate illegal drugs.

Focus on the real issues. Drugs are illegal. Drugs are debilitating. Drugs contribute to crime and murder. Drugs break up families. Innocent children are being killed because of illegal drugs.

What will it take for Maryland to wake up and smell the crack cocaine and leave tobacco smoking up to individuals?

Drema Wolfe

Baltimore

Use of tobacco tax is self-defeating

The General Assembly has decided to fund the Thornton Commission's plans for education, in part, by using revenues from increased cigarette taxes that will disproportionately impact the poor.

Additionally, the Glendening administration has embarked on an expensive campaign to reduce smoking ("`Smoking stops here' starting today, state officials declare," July 12). This will dramatically decrease revenues collected through new cigarette taxes and reduce the pool of money available for under-performing schools.

This will, again, disproportionately impact the poor.

The disingenuousness of Maryland Democrats has reached new heights.

Brian C. Griffiths

Pasadena

Reimer reinforces sexist stereotypes

I am a 19-year-old girl who is tired of being insulted by Susan Reimer's columns.

Ms. Reimer is correct that it is not easy growing up as a young woman in our society. And that is precisely why it is so important that those closest to us give us the respect that we are often so thoughtlessly denied.

But Ms. Reimer's tone and language consistently perpetuate misogynistic stereotypes, and her blatant generalizations about adolescents deprive us of credibility as rational individuals ("Shelving children's differences isn't that easy," July 2).

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