Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 07, 2005

Forcing police to retire shows a lack of loyalty

I read with great interest The Sun's recent article on the forced retirement of members of the Baltimore Police Department who have been permanently injured in the line of duty ("Police face forced retirement on uncertain terms," Jan. 30).

As a result, I feel compelled to express my resentment for the total lack of loyalty and appreciation exhibited by those members of the Baltimore's government who feel it necessary to wield a budget ax against the men and women who have given, selflessly, so much of themselves to the citizens of Baltimore.

In 1989, my husband, Baltimore Police Officer William J. Martin, was killed in the line of duty. His death occurred as the result of his willingness to sacrifice his life for the innocent citizens he had sworn to protect and defend.

My husband's life was tragically ended. But there have been many brave men and women in blue who have performed just as selflessly as he did and, with the grace of God, have survived their injuries. Although they may no longer be physically able to perform the duties of a "street cop," they are alive and able to contribute daily to the functioning of the police force.

Does the fact that they lived through their ordeal make them any less heroic than my husband or the dozens of other city police officers who gave their lives? I don't believe that to be true, and I don't believe the citizens of Baltimore feel that way, either.

When individuals sign on as police officers, we, as citizens, ask them to protect us without fail and to defend us without fear of their own exposure to death or permanent disability. We expect nothing less than that they are willing to give their lives for our safety and security. Do we not owe them anything in return?

Do we not, as a moral society, owe them our respect? Do we have the right to tell them that their usefulness is no longer appreciated?

To those who find it necessary, for political or financial reasons, to turn their backs on these heroic men and women, I say: Shame, shame on you.

Kim Martin Deachilla

York, Pa.

Betraying obligation to aid the elderly

When I was younger, I began paying Social Security taxes. Was I happy about it? No. But eventually I grew up and understood the transgenerational commitment I was making.

The so-called greatest generation lived secure in the knowledge that baby boomers, in spite (or because) of their free-thinking ways, understood the rightness of what they were doing -- tending to those who came before.

Now, after I've been paying for 30-plus years to support the elderly and disabled, ideological conservatives and a generation of vipers are prepared to tell me, at the age of 52, that they have no interest in tending to those who came before them ("Reform of Social Security at the top of Bush agenda," Feb. 3).

But I suppose they will still want me to pay taxes for corporate welfare and to stand and pledge my allegiance to their theft and betrayal.

Michael Klapp

Baltimore

Pension reform plan would add only debt

Let me get this straight. The same man who promised to "lock box" Social Security and is responsible for the largest federal deficit in the history of our nation is ready to take the average taxpayers' Social Security dollars and plunge them into a system that is unstable and unguaranteed ("Reform of Social Security at the top of Bush agenda," Feb. 3)?

Add a few trillion more dollars in taxpayer debt to do so and call it a plan.

Did I miss something? Or is blank acceptance of stupid schemes what lack of funding for our schools gets us?

Steven Parke

Baltimore

Election no proof war is a success

Thomas Sowell must be delusional ("Vote deals a blow to defeatists," Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 3). One questionably successful election does not qualify the Iraq war and occupation as "Mission Accomplished."

Perhaps Mr. Sowell has failed to read about all of the deaths before, during and after the Iraqi election.

In the days, months and years ahead, many more lives will be lost as President Bush foolishly leaves troops in Iraq.

His excuse of the day is that they are there to promote democracy. But what sane people have always known is that the war is about securing oil for Mr. Bush's corporate benefactors and providing a staging area for planned wars on Iran and Syria.

Fred Furney

Baltimore

Torture takes place in U.S. prisons, too

George Hunsinger is not entirely correct when he asserts that "the Abu Ghraib scandal is only the most visible sign" that our government's official opposition to torture is not consistent ("American scar: Permitting torture brands us in the worst way," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 31).

To understand this, one need only interview former inmates of America's penal institutions to learn about the varieties of summary degradation and humiliation, sodomy and rape (involving both inmates and their guards), brutal beatings, isolation, etc.

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