Letters To The Editor


April 29, 2004

Social supports help children behave better

The Sun's stark analysis of the tragedies of crime, drugs, violence and prison to which too many poor, inner-city teen-agers succumb was on point with its concluding short list of public policies that are essential if we really want to save and redirect these youths ("A life worth living?" editorial, April 22).

But in addition to "affordable health care, decent housing, a living wage and good schools," please add to the list of things children need a substantial number of positive connections to adults and community organizations.

A recent study by the Institute for American Values emphasizes how important it is for children to have multiple, strong attachments. Moreover, the study, titled "Hardwired to Connect," finds that such positive nurturing influences the unfolding of children's genetic dispositions.

The study shows that when kids have many supportive, long-term relationships with their families, schools, significant adults and community-based groups, this triggers the chemical substances and expresses the genes that result in healthier, safer, more positive behaviors.

The biological and neurological linkages between the mental health and moral behavior of at-risk youths can be improved by a sustained social environment of support - such as effective schools; after-school, weekend and summer youth programs; and family and community support.

Don Mathis


The writer is executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County.

Parents' attitudes are key to change

After reading the editorial about Michael L. Taylor and Keon D. Moses ("A life worth living?" April 22), my first thought was that The Sun just doesn't get it: "Access to family planning, affordable health care, decent housing, a living wage and good schools" don't count for anything if the parents within the family unit don't see beyond getting their own feel-good fixes of drugs and alcohol.

Things will change only when you change the thinking of the people raising the babies.

Linda Johnson


Too much sympathy for boys in sex case?

I was outraged by the sympathetic tone of The Sun's article "A week of fear, humiliation" (April 24) about the three male "victims" in the Mount Hebron High School case.

Yes, it was wrong for the young woman to charge them with rape if the sex was consensual. But these young men seem to feel that the only thing they did wrong was violate a school policy against having sex on school property.

Why isn't anyone even suggesting that these young men shouldn't be having sex at all, much less in groups, in a public bathroom and during school?

All four of these young people are victims.

They are victims of a culture that promotes instant gratification and the reckless pursuit of pleasure, with little concern for the consequences.

Christine Stutz


Not funding program could be very costly

So the state doesn't want to pony up the promised money for Lauren Abramson's successful mediation program for youths ("Turning feuds into hugs," April 27).

I guess the results will be more violence in our schools, more prisoners in our already overcrowded jails and more citizens wondering why this has happened.

Perhaps the governor will be able to explain.

N. J. Abramson


Governor backs bullying tactics

By admonishing the business community "to be dangerous," Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. seems to favor bullying tactics over compassionate conservatism ("Ehrlich scolds businesses for lack of lobbying," April 23).

And while he warned his audience of "an agenda run by the Maryland State Teachers Association," this mother of three school-age children can imagine many scenarios more troubling than that.

I hope the business community realizes the value of a well-educated population and will resist Mr. Ehrlich's call to arms.

Kirsten Burger


Appeal to lobbyists raises integrity issue

I have always donated to political campaigns because I supported the candidate's beliefs and issue positions ("Ehrlich scolds businesses for lack of lobbying," April 23).

It surprised me that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. treated these donations as a method of influencing politicians to vote for one's personal gain.

This makes me wonder about his integrity.

Albert M. Harris


Coverage of rallies betrays ugly bias

For the past several years we have proudly joined the Jan. 22 pro-life march in Washington. This event annually protests the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that has resulted in the legal slaughter of millions of unborn Americans.

Although we have joined hundreds of thousands of pro-life people annually on this march every January, The Sun has chronically covered this event with a few lines of reporting, or not at all.

Contrast this with The Sun's major article Monday, "Thousands rally for abortion rights" (April 26), which was complete with a photograph as well as more coverage and photos on Page 4A.

Shame on The Sun for such grotesque bias.

Gregory W. Mank Barbara K. Mank Delta, Pa.

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