Letters To The Editor


October 31, 2002

Remind judges that the voters call the shots

Thank you for calling attention to the appellate judges' retention elections ("Judges stand on records, quietly," Oct. 26).

Appellate judges have enormous say over our lives, and almost no accountability. Indeed, no honest observer of the Maryland Court of Appeals can deny that it sits as a seven-member super-legislature, paying capricious heed to the intentions of the General Assembly.

For instance, Maryland has carried out exactly three legal executions in 39 years. This is because of the relentless sophistries of the Court of Appeals.

Judicial elections should not be restricted to questions of moral character and professional qualification.

These elections offer voters the rare opportunity to remind judges that the authors of legitimate authority are the people, not the lawyers.

Hal Riedl


Let others prosecute suspected snipers

In the interest of justice and to send a message to other criminals, Maryland officials should defer to Virginia and Alabama on being the jurisdiction to try the snipers first ("Jurisdictions divided on who gets the case," Oct. 28).

Maryland is embarrassingly soft on criminals, with laws that make it difficult to prosecute capital cases and the governor's ill-timed moratorium on executions.

For the good of Maryland citizens, Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler should just quietly step out of the spotlight and let Virginia and Alabama mete out justice for the snipers.

Ted Siomporas


Ugly grandstanding on executing sniper

My misgivings concerning capital punishment have been greatly strengthened by the apparent preoccupation with the death penalty even before the case against the sniper suspects has been fully assembled ("Md. moratorium unlikely to block death penalty," Oct. 26).

If the suspects are indeed guilty of the crimes, then public safety has been secured.

And as heinous as the sniper murders were, the blood lust now being exhibited by the media and grandstanding politicians is repellent.

Gene Oishi


Why focus on race of sniper suspects?

Was it necessary to devote one-third of a page to discussing how blacks feel about the race of the suspected snipers ("African-Americans grapple with race of sniper suspects," Oct. 25)?

I'm not "sorry they're black because I'm black," as one person stated in the article. I'm sure the victims' families could not care less; the deaths would not be easier to handle if the suspects were Caucasian.

Tiffany M. Riddick

Owings Mills

Does race have to enter everything in our lives? Haven't we gotten beyond that by now?

Looking at the victims of the alleged sniper, he certainly did not pay attention to age, gender or race. So why should we?

Regardless of whether the alleged sniper was black, green or white, we should be glad that he is off the streets.

Richard L. Coleman Jr.


I'm not sure why The Sun felt it necessary or newsworthy to run an article concentrating so much on a person's race ("African-Americans grapple with race of sniper suspects," Oct. 25).

If the sniper suspects were white, I doubt seriously we would have seen an article about white people "grappling" with such a topic. So why write this one?

If The Sun and all responsible news organizations and leaders in Baltimore could just discuss the news, without such an emphasis on the suspects' race, we might eventually have a citizenry, black and white, that was truly color-blind.

Wendy Estano


City deaths should prompt concern

Now that the alleged snipers are behind bars, and we middle-class suburbanites once again feel a degree of safety, I have an observation.

In Baltimore, where almost 300 murders occur each year, and some of the victims are innocent bystanders or children caught in the crossfire, murders are often reported in a small column on Page 4 or 5 -- with no front-page headlines, no dragnets, no press conferences, no huge amounts of money spent looking for the perpetrators.

Could this be because the victims are, for the most part, poor and black?

Anne R. Brusca


`War on drugs' is real enemy

Several recent letters have blamed drug trafficking for the horrible arson-murders allegedly committed by a drug dealer in Baltimore. "To win the war on drugs," one writer said, "the ordinary citizens have to decide they are not going to take it anymore" ("Rally around ideals the Dawsons upheld," letters, Oct. 23).

What we must stop putting up with is the drug war. It should be obvious that if drugs were legal these murders would not have occurred.

Liquor dealers generally do not murder people. The more we prosecute the drug war, the more murders, robberies, burglaries and shoplifting we will have.

The only way to put illegal drug dealers out of business is to legalize drugs.

Let's face it -- people are not going to stop using drugs. Either we allow them to do so safely and help those who become addicted, as we do regarding alcohol, or we continue to destroy our society by fighting the drug war.

Henry Cohen


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