Harassment pushed Banks into shooting The Sun's article...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 02, 2002

Harassment pushed Banks into shooting

The Sun's article "Man who shot youths says he just asked them to move"(July 30) reported that a 60-year-old man shot three youths who refused to leave his front porch.

Frustration and anger over the troubled streets of Baltimore, apparently fueled by a heated exchange of words, pushed William Banks to do what he did.

Legally, Mr. Banks was wrong. On the other hand, he did deliver street justice.

As the article pointed out, these youths were not choirboys. And Mr. Banks understood how this situation would play itself out. If he called the police and these youths were hauled away, they could plan Mr. Banks' demise while in the slammer, then, when released, put their plan into action.

Mr. Banks, I am sure, felt caught between doing the right thing and taking care of business as street life dictated.

Those youths should have been home, sitting on their own porches, instead of harassing their neighbors.

Lou Perry

Sykesville

While I don't condone William Banks shooting the youths who refused to move from his steps, I did not hear their parents acknowledge the wrongdoing of their children.

First and foremost, the offenders should not have been on Mr. Banks' property. When told to leave, they should have and that would have been the end of the story.

Once again, where is personal responsibility?

S. Myers

Towson

Instead of prosecuting hardworking citizens such as William Banks and Edward Day, the city would do better to hold parents more responsible for the lawless, crude and rude behavior of their children.

Fifteen-year-olds are children in need of supervision, especially when they apparently have not been taught how to behave civilly in the first place.

Rosemary Catalana

Baltimore

What if the shooters had called police?

The Sun's coverage of city shootings of teen-agers by citizens has not addressed what is to me the most relevant question about how to regard the shooters: Would a call to the police have solved their problem ("City man, 60, charged in shooting of 3 youths," July 29)?

I live in a middle-class neighborhood in the county, and if I came home one afternoon and found several rowdy teen-agers refusing to leave my stoop, I would call the police, expecting prompt action. I would also expect arrests for trespassing and reasonable protection against retribution.

Can people in the neighborhoods where these shootings have occurred expect an adequate response from city police?

If they can, the shooters are out of line and should be punished accordingly.

If they can't, then the question becomes, what should they have done?

Edwin Duncan

Parkville

Acceptance of guns is the real tragedy

After reading The Sun's article on William Banks ("City man, 60, charged in shooting of 3 youths," July 29), one thought occurred to me: Nowhere does it mention where or how he obtained his gun.

Did Mr. Banks, who had been convicted of manslaughter, own this gun legally?

As sickening as this shooting is, I find it even more so that we, as a nation, have come to accept the fact that anyone, can be in possession of a handgun -- legally or otherwise.

How scary. How sad.

Patty Skinker

Ocean City

Don't put high school at Port Discovery site

While I applaud the idea of moving Port Discovery to the harbor, I do not believe a high school should be located in the building the museum may vacate ("Views polarized over plan for Port Discovery building," July 27).

I believe it is vital to tourism that a dedicated entertainment district be located in the Power Plant Live complex. Therefore, I recommend the city locate the new high school for hospitality and tourism across President Street in the former City Life Museums iron building.

This location provides a safer, more appropriate site within a historic, campus-like setting that highlights the role history plays in Baltimore tourism. And it is close to hotels, restaurants and tourism sites that could provide employment and training opportunities for the students.

Larry Ryan

Towson

Political correctness is just good manners

Bravo to Clarence Page for his column on Tiger Woods in which he took on those who claim that people who try to ensure fairness to minority groups are being "politically correct" ("The wrong club for Tiger," Opinion*Commentary, July 26).

This label, meant as an insult, really describes behavior that "civilized society" used to call "good manners."

Take, for example, the cases in which a high school decides to change its mascot and nickname because Native American groups have complained that the old nicknames are insulting.

Some commentators call this "caving in to political correctness," but I call it old-fashioned human kindness. After all, if someone you know said his or her feelings were hurt because of something you called that person, wouldn't you simply stop saying it?

Kindness is motive enough to change old patterns of hurtful customs.

Andre Papantonio

Baltimore

Townsend hasn't cast any votes to attack

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