Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 10, 2003

Suing the city would diminish Dawsons' legacy

What's wrong? Is Johnnie Cochran's law firm in financial trouble? Is that why he seems to be trying his level best to tarnish the memory of the Dawson family ("Anti-drug campaign blamed in Dawson arson deaths," Jan. 8)?

This family, this special, one-of-a-kind family, gave their very lives to fight for something they believed in. It was their choice to fight. It was their choice to remain in their home after the state's attorney's office offered to relocate them. It was their choice to take a stand against drugs.

It wasn't because the city of Baltimore told them they had to. They did it because they were a family of good people, caring people - people who do the right thing no matter what the cost, people I'd like my children to grow to be like.

The people of Baltimore - black, white, purple, green - all admired the Dawsons for the sacrifice they made. We thought they were heroes. We idolized them. In this tragic time for the family and the city, we all felt united in the fight against drugs.

This family deserves to be remembered as the heroes they are, not as poor black victims of a cruel, white world.

The Dawsons deserve better than that.

Terri Fields

Baltimore

The tragic deaths of the Dawson family are crimes that call out for the righteous vengeance of a law-abiding society; the legal actions planned by Johnnie Cochran's law firm are the deeds of a group of parasites seeking to profit from the deaths of those good and courageous people.

Mr. Cochran and his lawyers seem to think Baltimore is unable to defend itself against either the murderous dope dealers or the vultures the firm intends to send into court to loot the city's coffers.

The city must not surrender to either the snakes in the streets or the hyenas in the courtroom.

Mark J. Hannon

Baltimore

Of course, let's blame the city for the actions of drug dealers.

The real losers will be city residents, who may end up paying out money to fund these bottom-feeders.

What a tragedy that those who were willing to take a stand to take their neighborhood back may be remembered for something such as Mr. Cochran's lawsuit.

Rick Burk

Columbia

`Believe' campaign offers the city hope

It is deeply disturbing to me that Johnnie Cochran seems to want to blame Baltimore's "Believe" campaign for the tragic deaths of the Dawson family ("Anti-drug campaign blamed in Dawson arson deaths," Jan. 8).

The "Believe" campaign is a message of optimism. And if Baltimore is to really come back to life, citizens must stand up to the forces of destruction. To cower in the face of adversity, to shrink from the duties of revitalization, to run from the problems that face us is wrong.

Mr. Cochran might as well represent the drug dealers.

Tom Quirk

Catonsville

Legalizing drugs would save lives

The Sun's editorial "After the flowers" (Jan. 4) compassionately laments the deaths of the Dawson family, who the police believe were killed for their stand against the drug dealers.

Unfortunately, thousands of innocent people are killed each year as a result of the illegal drug trade. And the irony is that the Dawson family and thousands of others could be alive today if it were not for the war against drugs.

Take away the profit and drug dealers will cease to exist. But our current war on drugs has never worked and it will never work - except for the drug dealers, whom it gives the opportunity to make big bucks while the public must deal with their violence.

If the billions spent to enforce the laws against drugs were spent for education and treatment, half the jails would close, corruption would be greatly reduced and half our law enforcement personnel would be out of a job.

It is time to take a step back, survey the scene and do the reasonable and common-sense thing and make these drugs legal.

Fred Everhart

Columbia

It's time to tap `rainy day' fund

The economy goes through cycles. Well-managed businesses set aside funds in good years as a hedge against poor years. And Maryland wisely set aside surplus funds during the boom years of the mid-1990s in a "rainy day" fund.

Now that the state finds itself facing a deficit, the time has come to draw on these funds to balance its budget. Increasing taxes will only slow the economic recovery.

Benedict J. Frederick Jr.

Pasadena

Dividend deduction won't do much good

Comments on the proposed tax exemption for stock dividends have stated that, under current law, dividends paid to pension and retirement plans do not "trigger" taxes ("Stimulating the rich," editorial, Jan. 7). This suggests that the proposed exemption for individual taxpayers would be only partially effective.

However, dividends paid to retirement plans are usually taxable when distributions are eventually paid. That means that the so-called tax exemption for dividends would be only a tax deferral if dividends go to such plans.

Thus it may be of only slight benefit to individuals who receive dividends in their retirement plans.

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