Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 05, 2006

Let state's citizens protect themselves

I could not believe my eyes when I saw Steve Chapman's excellent column "Concealed weapons a threat -- to ignorance" (Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 29) in The Sun.

Mr. Chapman's column covers the issue perfectly, and should be required reading for all Maryland legislators.

Over the last decade, most states (40 and counting) have enacted "shall issue" laws allowing law-abiding citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

"Shall issue" laws mandate that law-abiding citizens who can prove they can pass basic qualifications for gun ownership shall be issued permits to carry concealed weapons upon application.

It's kind of like getting a driver's license. If the applicant meets the basic qualifications, then the state must issue the license or permit, unless it can prove that the applicant is unqualified.

Maryland is a "may issue" state.

This means that unless the applicant can prove he or she has, as state law puts it, a "good and substantial reason" to have a concealed carry permit, the permit will not be issued.

Given the fact that police cannot be everywhere all the time, why have Maryland lawmakers not found it in their hearts to trust law-abiding citizens with the ability to protect themselves from the armed thugs who patrol our streets -- thugs who have no fear of breaking one additional law (the one against carrying a concealed weapon) while they are committing other nefarious acts?

Timothy Frost

Lutherville

A time for outrage on drunken driving

There should be mass outrage over the facts related in The Sun's editorial "Failing the breath test" (Dec. 1).

The Sun refers to the driver who allegedly killed Marine Cpl. Brian Matthews as an "undocumented" immigrant.

Let's skip the politically correct terminology: "illegal alien" is the more appropriate term.

And how did this man obtain a driver's license? Furthermore, the driver failed a sobriety test after being involved in an accident nine months earlier. Why was he still even in Maryland (with a driver's license, no less)?

Shouldn't he have been deported after the first accident?

The editorial notes that there are about 17,000 deaths a year because of alcohol-related accidents in the United States -- that is more than five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the war began.

So where are all those people who decry the war but don't decry the actions of drunken drivers?

To my mind, there should be no mercy shown to convicted drunken drivers, especially after they have killed someone.

We need mandatory sentences for these people.

I have also read that some in the state want to add more taxes to cigarettes ("Group pushes cigarette tax," Nov. 21).

There ought to be more taxes placed on alcohol instead.

Why do we continue to ask smokers to pick up the tab for every ill? Last time I checked, cigarette smoking does not cause auto accidents.

Marc Bass

Reisterstown

High alcohol level isn't that unusual

In a recent article, the attorney for the drunken driver who allegedly killed a Marine on Thanksgiving Day claimed that, at a .32 blood alcohol content, it would have been impossible for his client to function ("Liquor level detail cited," Dec. 1). This is total nonsense.

I spent 30 years as a police officer in Missouri and Maryland and have made more than 400 Driving-While-Intoxicated arrests.

I have had at least a half-dozen people test in excess of .30 blood alcohol concentration.

The highest BAC level that I have seen after someone was arrested for DWI was .40.

Experts usually teach that .40 is a BAC level at which someone is incapacitated and at .50 a person is near death. But you do find exceptions to the rule.

However, a BAC level of .32, while high, is not unusual.

John Hoffmann

Town and Country, Mo.

Sinking middle class damages Wal-Mart

It's not particularly hard to figure out why retailers such as Wal-Mart aren't doing as well as higher-end and luxury retailers this holiday shopping season ("Holiday sales picture is mixed," Dec. 1).

The middle class and poor are sinking financially, while the rich are getting richer.

This may well be the recently ousted Republican-led Congress' final legacy.

Steven Sutor

Baltimore

Megastore mistreats its own employees

The first line in The Sun's article "Nov. is the worst month for Wal-Mart in 10 years" (Dec. 2) says, "Forget the critics, labor unions, activists and politicians... the company's problems come from a far more serious quarter: consumers."

The article blames Wal-Mart's worst month in 10 years on everything and anything but the real problem -- which is that consumers like me are tired of the very wealthy people who own and control Wal-Mart not taking care of the people who work for them and provide them with their wealth.

I have a Wal-Mart about one mile from where I live. I will not shop there. Many of the people that I talk with feel the same way.

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