Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 14, 2007

Anger over murder rarely lasts long

Another Baltimore police officer is shot, fatally this time, and everyone is outraged at the continuing violence in the city ("Suspect in killing has long record," Jan. 10).

Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley, Mayor-to-be Sheila Dixon, Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm and other civic leaders all lined up for photo ops to express outrage.

One can only hope the outrage will take hold this time.

When the Dawson family was firebombed, the outrage lasted about three weeks. City police officers are often wounded, and the outrage lasts about a week.

The reporting of several murders last weekend did not spark any outrage. And The Sun buried the article about the killings deep in its Maryland section ("Deadly weekend in city brings four homicides," Jan. 8).

The city is averaging almost one murder a day this year, and business goes on as normal. Hundreds and hundreds of killings have plagued our city for decades, and everyone says that the violence has to end. But there is just not enough outrage.

C. D. Wilmer

Baltimore

Discipline, values can curb the killing

The discussion about the constant crime and murders in Baltimore continues, even after the election. And indeed, the city's murder total for 2006 exceeded that of 2005, despite the election-related drivel ("A `broken' system scrutinized," Jan. 11).

The real answer to the violence is plain and simple: It lies in the family unit and values such as responsible parenting, discipline, education, the work ethic and respect.

With the erosion of traditional values and families has come an onslaught of broken homes and children left to fend for themselves on the streets.

Discipline, education and responsible parenting - these are the true solutions to the violence.

Jack Noppinger

Kingsville

Keep the criminals under lock and key

I read with great dismay The Sun's article "Suspect in killing has long record" (Jan. 10). But, unfortunately, the article was not at all surprising.

Time after time, we see the criminals preying upon the innocent with few consequences.

Judges suspend sentences, give probation for serious and multiple crimes and continuously let dangerous people walk free. Parole boards let criminals out of jail who belong nowhere else. Meanwhile, Baltimore is a killing field, and the violence is spreading. Police officers and citizens are under attack from the criminal element because criminals have no fear of the law.

It is time we wake up and insist that tougher sentencing guidelines be established and adhered to. Maryland needs minimum sentences for repeat offenders and certain crimes.

I think it's pretty clear that when we leave it up to judges and parole boards to properly sentence and incarcerate criminals, they fail miserably.

And people die violently.

Rick Proctor

Bel Air

`Quick take' powers imperil property

So a number of Baltimore legislators and judges are upset about the ground rent system ("Crowd condemns ground rent system," Jan 9)?

Bully for them. It was heartening to read about various officials railing against a system that allows folks to take a person's property away without just compensation.

But I'm wondering where these same officials stand on the city's "quick take" eminent-domain process ("City `quick take' gets review by Md. court," Jan. 9).

It's not that I'm in favor of the ground rent system; it seems somehow medieval.

But the sheer hypocrisy of city officials, council members and others deploring the injustice of that system, while the city maintains the right to take away someone's property and livelihood for the sake of the future possibility of development, is absurd and strikes me as a form of empathy fraud.

Laura Townsend

Annapolis

Purge our troops from Iraq quagmire

America has been subjected to the Bush administration's word games on Iraq for four years now. Examples include "Shock and Awe," "Mission Accomplished" and "Stay the Course." From the deep well of slogan-draped dead-ends now comes the "surge" ("Iraq Situation `Unacceptable,'" Jan. 11).

The sectarian hacks known as the Iraqi government cannot put real police and army units together, they look the other way as death squads roam Baghdad, and they managed to make a lynching victim out of one of the worst dictators ever.

And now we're going to send more American troops to do their dirty work in Baghdad?

We need to purge, not surge. We need to get out of Iraq right now. It's a lost cause.

Iran is backing the Shiites and their death squads. Saudi Arabia may pour cash into the Sunni insurgents. And the Shiite-led Iraq government will condone Americans coming to Baghdad to kill Sunnis, but not Shiites.

Civil war has descended, and it will only get worse.

Mitch Lambros

Towson

President confuses resolve, leadership

President Bush's long-awaited new plan on Iraq turns out not to be a new strategy at all; it is a barely perceptible shift in the kinds of tactics that have already failed ("Iraq Situation `Unacceptable,'" Jan. 11).

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