Letters To The Editor


August 19, 2005

New law pushes peace forward for Colombia

The Sun's editorial "A different plan" (Aug. 14) misrepresents the peace and justice law recently passed by the Congress of Colombia to provide the conditions and procedures for the demobilization and disarming of illegal terrorist groups in Colombia.

The law, passed after two years of democratic debate in Colombia and with input from the United States and the international community, does require all members of paramilitary groups to confess crimes and human rights violations in order to receive reduced prison sentences.

This is a core aspect of Colombia's peace process, one which the government of President Alvaro Uribe considers essential to achieve a lasting peace after four decades of armed conflict.

In addition, there is no amnesty for serious crimes and no statute of limitations for unconfessed crimes. Individuals found guilty of crimes to which they have not confessed will face much harsher penalties under the law.

The Colombian peace process builds on the progress the government has realized over the past four years in dramatically reducing political crimes, human rights violations and terrorist attacks.

For the first time, the government is negotiating with illegal groups from a position of strength, and it is determined to implement this law in a manner that fosters both real justice and lasting security.

We urge those voices in the international community who have been quick to criticize the new law to, instead, help us implement it effectively and completely.

Luis Alberto Moreno


The writer is Colombia's ambassador to the United States.

A much easier way to identify predators

Our politicians are seeking ways to protect our children from perverts who would molest them ("O'Malley proposes plan to track child molesters," Aug. 17). Proposals range from life or indeterminate prison sentences to perpetual electronic monitoring.

Maybe it would be more cost-effective, and a better deterrent, if we simply tattooed a big red "M" on their foreheads.

Kids could be told to stay away from folks with such a tattoo.

And parents wouldn't have to search the Internet to check out who's moving in down the street.

Jay Hidden

Sparrows Point

Web smut verdict defies common sense

It was with much chagrin, but little surprise, that I read that the Court of Appeals had reversed the felony conviction of Jonathan George Moore in a child pornography case ("Internet smut verdict is voided," Aug. 12).

The court based the reversal on the interpretation of the word "depict."

This is not a question of liberal or conservative, it is a question of common sense. To own, possess and view the pictures in question, they must have been depicted on the computer screen.

Mr. Moore does not deny that he downloaded and possessed images of children engaged in sex acts. He questioned his conviction on an absurd technicality, the literal definition of "depict."

Sometimes the courts need to use a little common sense as they interpret the law.

How is it that the residents of Maryland are represented by a court so out of touch with the majority of citizens?

William H. Sallow


Portrait of greed hits home here, too

The article "Wealth trumps safety in China's coal mines" (Aug. 13) painted a grim picture of greed, corruption, government and business collusion, and indifference to the death and suffering of miners and their families in China.

And about halfway through the article I started substituting "United States" for "China." It worked pretty well.

Sure, there are a lot of differences between China and the United States, but the growing dominance of greed, political and economic corruption, government and business collusion, indifference to the suffering of working people, ignoring the future (i.e., issues such as global warming, environmental health issues and stem-cell research) sound very familiar to me when I think about the values and policies increasingly governing our country.

Stan Markowitz


Continuing to ignore power from the tides

Another article about the world's energy crisis, and still no mention of one of the most plentiful and available power sources - the ocean's tides ("Energy fix promises widespread effect," Aug. 14).

Why isn't someone working to harness all of this wasted power?

Frank Littleton


Toxic trains gamble with people's lives

Like Michael Olesker, I live in a quiet neighborhood ("Even in this quiet neighborhood, fear of terrorism creeps," Aug 9). Granted, it is in Washington, but rarely did I consider my neighborhood threatened by terrorism. And then I learned about the trains carrying tons of toxic chemicals that rumble through my neighborhood every day.

These "toxic trains" are open invitations to terrorists and yet the Bush administration has blocked legislation that would re-route trains carrying ultra-toxic material around Washington.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.