Letters To The Editor


October 04, 2005

It's wrong to export state's troubled youths

I join the voices protesting the pre-emptive closing of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School before a secure, humane alternative is established, or even planned, in Maryland ("Moving of juvenile offenders criticized," Oct. 1).

I represent youths charged with crimes in Baltimore. They are alienated from their families, schools and communities.

They exist in the narrow invisible world of vacant houses and drug corners. Most have never even been to the Inner Harbor, and will not see the city-financed Hilton Hotel.

In its most egregious act of neglect to date, the state wants to exile these kids to Indiana and Iowa and forget that they exist.

These children have serious problems and complex needs.

We need to keep them with us, and closely monitor their progress and adjustment.

Our state and city government must address the poverty and desolation that is all that many of our kids know.

We can't export our failures to the Midwest and expect them to return "cured."

Maybe these youths could be housed and treated in a ballroom of the new convention hotel.

Linda Koban, Baltimore

The writer is a former Baltimore juvenile court master and counsel to Court Appointed Special Advocates of Baltimore.

Ignoring the needs of city residents

I was shocked to see the attention state officials are giving to the 20,000 or 30,000 not-yet-present people who might move to Maryland because of the military base realignment ("20,000 more Md. jobs forecast," Oct. 1). It seems that new roads, new schools and even a $2 billion Washington-area Metro line are in the works.

What about the infrastructure needs of the more than 1 million people who live in and around Baltimore?

Does anyone in state government realize that every day about 40,000 people ride the Baltimore Metro subway and another 200,000 people are packed onto area buses?

Why not build another subway line or increase bus service for them? And what about the thousands of children in Baltimore's crumbling public schools?

Before the governor gets too excited about all the new white-collar jobs coming to town, he needs to fix the blue-collar infrastructure problems that already exist.

Richard Chambers


Foes of John Roberts defend Constitution

As a constitutionalist, I want to thank Maryland's two U.S. senators - Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski-- for voting against the confirmation of John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice of the Supreme Court of the land ("Roberts sworn in," Sept. 30).

A man who cannot or will not answer simple questions does not deserve to be chief justice - or even on the Supreme Court at all. But now we are stuck with him, probably at least for the rest of my life and, most likely, beyond.

The president would have done better for the country by appointing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to be chief justice instead.

Blaine Taylor


Dissenting votes pure partisanship

The 22 senators who voted against the nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Thursday are an example of the closed-mindedness in today's Democratic Party ("Roberts sworn in," Sept. 30).

Truly reasonable Democrats should implore their party leaders to cease (or at least quell) their chastising of our president, as well as the unfair scrutinizing of every decision he makes.

Ari Kaufman


Does oath violate church-state wall?

As I watched the new chief justice being sworn into office, I noticed he had his left hand on the Bible, and repeated the words "so help me God" ("Roberts sworn in," Sept. 30).

Considering the current judicial interpretation of the Constitution, wouldn't this be a violation of separation of church and state?

Oscar Schapiro


Being cruel to fish sends wrong signal

Please let me respond to Candus Thomson's column about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' new pro-fish flier ("PETA takes a giant step over the line," Sept. 29).

Because our flier exposes the violence involved in fishing, we are not distributing it to young children. We're handing it out only to kids 13 years old and older, or directly to their fathers who fish.

But the message of compassion is one that children of all ages need to hear.

As a father myself, I do everything I can to teach my daughters that cruelty and violence are wrong. And this is why, as a former fisherman, I can no longer condone fishing.

For those parents who believe that fishing is a "wholesome" activity, please know that fish feel pain when they are hooked in the mouth and ripped from their underwater homes.

Please also know that fish are much more complex than we humans ever guessed: Recent studies have found that fish are intelligent, have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures, and can use tools.

Raising a compassionate child in today's violent world can be a challenging task.

We can start by setting a good example and teaching our children that hurting animals for "fun" is never OK.

Tim Enstice

Norfolk, Va.

The writer is manager of planned gifts for the PETA Foundation.

Added ignorance won't help anyone

The writer of the letter "Blame sex education for teenage habits" (Oct. 3) wrote that teens who have engaged in oral sex "are unaware that HIV and other sex-related diseases can be transmitted through this practice, and that they can affect fertility." She suggests, "It is time to drop sex education."

This sounds like: "They don't know, and we shouldn't tell them."

When ignorance is shown to help people to solve problems, the writer will have a point.

Until then, this ignorance leads to disease, disability and early death.

We should all be against that.

Bryce Kaspar


Don't expect Iraq to pay for our war

What an astounding solution to the higher cost of oil the letter "Ask Iraq to repay war costs with oil" (Sept. 29) presented.

No one requested that the United States enter Iraq.

If someone comes uninvited into my home and is wantonly or systematically destructive, I'd expect that party to pick up the repair costs.

Clara Cooper


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