Trust the pilots to defend us in an emergency The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 22, 2002

Trust the pilots to defend us in an emergency

The editorial "Pilots packing heat" (July 12) was one of the most ridiculous I have ever read in The Sun. Its main argument against arming pilots seems to be that a pilot might be "trigger-happy." But this is the same person to whom you entrust your life when you buckle up in an airplane seat.

Airline pilots often carry several hundred passengers on every flight. If we can trust them with our lives, we can trust them with the means to defend our lives in cases of extreme emergency.

Armed pilots would be the absolute last line of defense after a hijacking has taken place. And with less than 3 percent of all flights carrying an air marshal, 97 percent of our planes are unprotected.

And talk about costs -- an additional 120,000 air marshals would be needed to guard each and every plane. It could cost billions to recruit, train and compensate these new air marshals. This makes The Sun's $500 million figure for firearms training for pilots seem small in comparison.

The U.S. Air Force has been authorized to shoot down commercial aircraft taken over by terrorists. Trained and armed pilots could prevent such a tragedy.

So stop whining and support the last line of defense against airplane terrorists -- armed and fully trained pilots.

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association Inc.

I have one question concerning the editorial "Pilots packing heat": Does anyone really think the outcome of Sept. 11 would have been worse for our side if the pilots of the hijacked airplanes had been armed?

Stephen H. Bartlett

Chestertown

Citizens must change chaotic City Council

Should we be surprised that the City Council couldn't find enough votes to downsize itself ("City Council fails to vote on plans to reduce its size," July 16)? Although there are some real heroes among its members, the council as a group acts more like a disorganized child care center than a deliberative legislative body.

Council members play games of tit-for-tat, blackmail each other over projects, do political favors for the mayor while ignoring the consequences and fail to look beyond the borders of their own districts to see the whole city as a living (or dying) organism.

Some members vote to destroy forests and communities but won't be there to vote for the $3 billion city budget. Others refuse to even meet with their constituents on life-or-death issues regarding the health of their neighborhoods.

We shouldn't expect the City Council to hold itself accountable. That's our job. And the broad-based plan for single-member districts is the only way to weed out the deadwood and use limited city funds more effectively.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

Race is no reason to back a candidate

I was very angry at the quotes I read in the article "Voters' choice: race vs. power" (July 14).

I guess all 41st District African-Americans should vote for Del. Lisa A. Gladden because of her race. But if we follow that logic, all white people should vote for state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman -- especially if we follow Del. Howard P. Rawlings' offensive notion that people want representatives who "look like them, smell like them and think like them."

I wish these leaders would repeat what they are saying and substitute the word "white" for "African-American" and see how that sounds.

Sheri Vizzi

Baltimore

Del. Howard P. Rawlings' comment that people want to elect officials who "look like them, smell like them and think like them" is a very good rationale for apartheid.

Does this also mean I, as a Caucasian, may live in a community comprised only of people who look like me, smell like me and think like me?

George W. Weiner

Bel Air

Throw out politicians who have cashed in

Did anyone notice that most elected officials in this state managed to get hefty raises for themselves this year (40 percent over the next four years for legislators), yet reneged on a meager 2 percent increase for rank-and-file state employees?

I don't see a lot of difference between this and Enron and WorldCom executives cashing out before the money is gone.

Throw the bums out. Throw them all out.

David J. Snowden

Towson

Executions protect law-abiding citizens

By no means do I encourage the execution of the innocent. In fact, in cases where DNA evidence could vindicate a convict, I support giving the convict the option of having his or her DNA tested ("Death penalty threatens lives of the innocent," letters, July 10).

There is, however, a place for the death penalty in a civil society. Law-abiding citizens are in a war with criminals who prey on society like animals looking for their next meal.

Children, seniors and everyone in between are at risk because our justice system fails to effectively deal with those convicted of violent crimes.

And without the fear of death these predators would face no deterrent.

The only real justice a murder victim's family can depend on is the death penalty.

Mike Snyder

Bel Air

Learn the lessons the past can teach

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