Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 24, 2005

Reformed convicts not owed new start

Why does Dan Rodricks think that people owe recovering addicts something ("If they can't work, then this city won't work," Oct. 17)?

While I applaud anyone who has had the courage and willpower to get clean and stay clean, I think Mr. Rodricks misses that point that no one forces addicts to start using drugs.

Where does Mr. Rodricks, or anyone else for that matter, get off suggesting that law-abiding, well-off citizens should feel obligated to give money or jobs to people who chose to live lives of destruction and crime?

Employers have every right to refuse to hire someone because that person has a criminal record. To me, this is just common sense.

Using and buying drugs is a crime. While it might not be in the same ballpark as murder or rape, it is still a crime.

Why does Mr. Rodricks think we should feel sympathy for those who chose to commit these crimes? Why are they my problem just because they got clean? Now all of a sudden we owe them a living?

Sorry, but you're not going to get any tears from me just because you used to do drugs, and now you don't, and can't find a job.

The basic message that needs to get across to Mr. Rodricks and liberals like him is that no one forces anyone into a life of crime - whether one of being addicted to drugs or selling the drugs.

We all, as individuals, are responsible for our actions. If one chooses to reform, get clean and go straight, that is commendable, and I wish him or her all the best.

But those people should not think the world now owes them something just because they decided to stop doing what they never should have been doing in the first place.

Damon M. Costantini

Catonsville

Arab intransigence initiated intifada

Helen Schary Motro indicts herself as "no better than a hypocrite" for being an Israeli liberal afraid to ride a Jerusalem taxi driven by an Arab ("A failed test brings shame to a peacenik," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 20).

But the column suggests that her real problem is confusion.

Ms. Motro writes of "the Israeli occupation and the intifada it caused."

She's got it backward. In 2000, Israel and the United States offered the Palestinian Arabs a state on more than 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital, in exchange for peace.

Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority rejected the deal and launched the terrorist "al-Aqsa intifada" instead.

And by the way, like Ms. Motro, when I was last in Jerusalem (for several days this August), I parked my car at a hotel on the edge of the city and repeatedly took cabs into town - cabs driven by Jews and cabs driven by Arabs.

And once, when no cab was available, I climbed with friends and relatives onto a bus.

Yes, we eyed our fellow passengers anxiously, hoping to reassure ourselves no Palestinian suicide bomber was among them.

But we never felt hypocritical - or confused.

Eric Rozenman

Washington

The writer is Washington director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Honesty may begin democratic dialogue

One must admire the honesty of Helen Schary Motro as she confesses her nameless and unjustified fear of an Arab Israeli taxi driver, which was sufficient for her to flee his car ("A failed test brings shame to a peacenik," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 20).

She admitted her Arab-phobia, and must know that such bigotry fuels the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Here's hoping that she has the courage to examine where such feelings come from (i.e., constant exposure to Israeli propaganda) and will try to overcome them by reading some modern histories of the conflict and developing dialogues with some real Arabs.

Could it be that recognition of her dumb hatred is the beginning of her growth into the democratic person she would like to be?

Miriam M. Reik

New York

Storm shows what animals mean to us

Many of us have been touched by the stories of animals being rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina ("Katrina pets find love in Md. foster homes until their owners are found," Oct. 18). Clearly, the bond that people feel for their pets is an important one, and it is why animals need to be included in disaster plans and relief efforts.

In addition to displaced animals being placed in foster homes, there was much work involved in caring for these animals before they were placed in foster care. And there is much work yet to do to reunite them with their owners.

The Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent staff to the Gulf Coast to assist the Humane Society of the United States in caring for rescued animals. It was grueling work, but very important for the saved pets and their owners desperate to find them.

The SPCA has also been sending staff to help the Humane Society track owners and pets in the hope of creating reunions.

After this disaster, it is obvious not only that animals need people to help them, but that people need their animals, too.

Aileen Gabbey

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland SPCA.

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