Letters To The Editor


October 01, 2004

Brief treatment only encourages domestic abuse

There's a darn good reason Baltimore County's new four-week treatment program for batterers "appears to be the only one of its kind in the state" and "goes against the national trend": Anyone who has ever worked with this population will tell you it can't possibly work and, what's more, it will ultimately put victims at greater risk ("Option offered to treat abusers," Sept. 27).

The Baltimore County bench has apparently insisted on having this option available because of all the "first-time" offenders they think they are seeing in court. But such an animal is rare indeed. How many women call the police the very first time their partner hits them? How many of them go on to press charges? And how many actually show up in court?

Had these judges bothered to check, they would know that the average "first-time" offender in court has abused his partner dozens of times before she calls the police.

The reason that this kind of program has been avoided across the country is that in the four weeks of the educational program, we know that batterers will only bond with each other and rationalize the abuse of their partners.

It is only in the later stages of work that men are able to break through their denial and begin to do the hard work of examining the attitudes and beliefs that allow them to choose this behavior.

In four weeks, the men may indeed learn what they need to in order not to show up in front of the court again. But this will do nothing to lessen the danger the victim lives with or the likelihood that this abuser will just find other ways to control her.

We desperately need judges who take domestic violence seriously, who will take the time to talk to the experts in the field and not, in their arrogance, assume they know best.

Louise Machen


The writer is chairwoman of the Guidelines Committee for Maryland's Family Violence Council.

Critics of strip club have no complaint

The Sun's article on Chubbies Club and its conflict with the new homeowners in the area points to something more than strip clubs and overpriced real estate ("As neighborhood takes off, strip bar digs in," Sept. 25). It shows the "me-first" attitude that has taken over our society.

City Council candidate Jim Kraft is quoted as saying, "If you paid $300,000 for a house, would you want a strip club next-door?"

But, according to the article, a business such as Chubbies has existed in that location for almost 20 years. Why should anyone have the idea that their purchase of a property should force surrounding businesses, no matter how dubious, to move or close?

A better question from Mr. Kraft would be: "Why would anyone spend $300,000 on a house they know is located next to a strip club?"

I am not a customer of Chubbies, nor do I intend to be. But I think legally operated businesses, no matter what one's opinion of them, have the right to continue operating, no matter what incoming homebuyers may think of them.

To them I say, caveat emptor.

Michael Connell


Drugs from Canada may cost area jobs

The pharmaceutical industry in America is the envy of the world with its high quality and safety standards. Yes, prescription drugs are expensive, but their profits are plowed back into research on the next generation of miracle drugs.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley are hoping to lure those cutting-edge bio-research jobs to their jurisdictions. So it seems odd that Mr. Duncan and Mr. O'Malley support Marylanders buying their prescription drugs from Canada to save money ("Medicine discounts sought by coalition," Sept. 28).

Is a quick political sound bite worth outsourcing our jobs?

Mike Collins


Montague has served this state for years

I was angered to see Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr.'s name being dragged through the mud ("Ehrlich must explain unsafe conditions," letters, Sept. 27). I have known Mr. Montague for nearly 20 years. He has served this state long and hard.

Anyone can point a finger. But I hope Mr. Montague will continue in his efforts.

Denny Olver


D.C. team enhances local baseball scene

I was an avid Orioles fan from 1954 until the onset of the Peter G. Angelos era. Nothing could beat the excitement of the days of Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Rick Dempsey, John Lowenstein, Brooks and Frank Robinson, etc.

It wasn't just about talent or ability - every player was a colorful personality. And there was a huge connection between the team, the players and the community (much as there is with the Ravens today). But I couldn't name but one or two Orioles today. They have no personality.

So, not only do I personally not object to seeing a team in Washington ("D.C. rejoins big leagues as Expos begin packing," Sept. 30), I think it may add a little spice to the Baltimore baseball scene.

Steve Stankiewicz


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