Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 07, 2003

Don't segregate disabled people from community

Individuals and organizations that want to keep Rosewood Center open would have us believe that such outdated facilities are the only way to meet the needs of the people now living there. This is simply not true ("Center's closure debated at rally," Sept. 30).

People with similar disabilities and very intensive needs are living in the community now, including people who require assistance with all activities of daily living and have complex medical needs. Their support needs are as great, sometimes greater, than those of people now in Rosewood. And they are receiving high-quality home and community services. Everyone in Rosewood deserves such services.

Families who placed their loved ones in Rosewood years ago believed they had no other choice. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Community programs have evolved over the past two decades to meet the needs of individuals with extensive health care needs, challenging behaviors and multiple disabilities.

It is not reasonable to segregate people in institutions when experience and research prove that even people with significant disabilities and intensive needs can be supported in the community.

It is not reasonable to continue to invest scarce public dollars operating large, inefficient congregate settings. And it is not reasonable to deny even one person the right to live among us, where services and support can be provided.

We no longer segregate any group of people from society unless they committed a crime. We must end this unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities.

We know how. We must act now.

Brian Cox

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.

I am a parent of a child with a disability, and the executive director of Caring Communities, a nonprofit respite care training organization. And I am wholeheartedly in favor of closing institutions such as Rosewood Center.

Supports and services need to be developed so its residents can have their needs met in the community.

Mona Freedman

Eldersburg

Bloodshed brings Mideast no peace

When will it ever end? How much more blood must be spilled in the Middle East before the Palestinians and Israelis and their neighbors learn that, as Mohandas Gandhi said, "`An eye for an eye' makes the whole world blind" ("Israel strikes alleged terror camp in Syria," Oct. 6)?

Retaliation and retribution breed only more violence, more hatred, more resentment and never-ending violence. After months, years, decades of conflict, are the people of the Middle East any closer to peace and security?

I have long thought that the only hope for peace in that part of the world is to follow the example of the truth commission in South Africa, which managed to avoid a bloodbath after apartheid ended.

Sylvia Eastman

Baltimore

Don't pay for what Iraqis will blow up

I think we should support a portion of the $87 billion President Bush is seeking for Iraq.

I support whatever is needed to ensure the safety of our troops over there.

However, I don't see why taxpayers should pay to rebuild Iraq's bridges, schools, etc., when the terrorists and militant groups will just blow them up again.

Lisa McMahon

Severna Park

Legislative prayer crosses the line

State Sen. Larry E. Haines' comment on legislative prayers, "I believe that people shouldn't be censored," misses the point ("Md. Senate reviewing its prayer guidelines," Oct. 1).

Individual lawmakers are free to pray any way they wish, on their own behalf. However, when prayers are offered as part of the official business of a lawmaking body, the impression is given that the prayer is said on behalf of the people the body represents, and this violates the line that separates church and state.

This line may be hard to see when one's own tradition is represented in a prayer. However, if a legislative prayer from a more marginal tradition is imagined, the line suddenly becomes more visible.

Amy Fried

North Bethesda

Take tourist dollars to tolerant locales

I was troubled to read "Ocean City groups oppose fetish convention set for Nov." (Sept. 27). I thought Ocean City was a part of America, where citizens with alternative lifestyles were free to associate without fear of persecution or prejudice, but perhaps I was wrong [as the convention has been canceled].

Religious and political extremists have no right to tell people how we should live our lives. And I find it shocking and depressing that in the year 2003, self-righteous fanatics are still trying to stop peaceful gatherings of people with alternative lifestyles.

If a group of people want to rent an entire hotel and have a sadomasochism and leather convention, why should anyone else care? No laws are broken, and it's a private event. These are law-abiding adults who wish to engage in safe, consensual activities.

I thought that tolerance was a religious virtue. However, I now see intolerant holier-than-thou zealots trying to impose their morality on others.

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