Letters To The Editor

April 11, 2008

Shelters secure refuge from cruelty

Kevin Lindamood and Jeff Singer got it right when they urged our community, including city leaders, to "Stick to the plan" (Commentary, April 3) to end homelessness.

Members of our community who find themselves without a home of their own, whether as a result of foreclosure, eviction or violence, are undeniably vulnerable.

The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that fatal attacks on people without homes have increased every year since 2005, totaling almost 30 in 2007.

Frightening in its own right, this statistic is particularly troubling when compared with the total of three fatal hate crimes committed in 2006 for all categories of such crimes (ones based on race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion and disability) tracked by the FBI.

The April 3 guilty pleas of two teenagers in Edwardsville, Ill., for fatally beating a homeless man and the beating death of a man sleeping in an alley in Frederick on Valentine's Day this year confirm this horrific trend.

When the city announced plans to open a temporary shelter on Fayette Street, residents of the Albemarle Square community had the opportunity to become leaders in providing protection for hundreds of people during the most vulnerable time in their lives; instead, some residents used hateful language and turned their backs on those in need ("Dixon reassures group," March 31).

While the city is resisting "not-in-my-backyard" interests with respect to the temporary shelter, as Mr. Singer and Mr. Lindamood note, city leaders may also be contemplating a crackdown on begging, including anti-panhandling zones and other measures that would criminalize the same population that is in such critical need of our protection.

Let's put people in housing, not jails.

Antonia K. Fasanelli

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project.

Turn big taxers right out of office

Once again, the General Assembly has adjourned. And thank goodness: If they had stayed in session any longer, we Marylanders would all be in the poorhouse.

The Democratic leadership, under the command of the governor, has increased state spending while sticking its hands in our pockets by raising fees and taxes. The Democrats say we should be happy with all the work they have done down in Annapolis for the past 90 days ("Democrats see victory as session concludes," April 8).

But most Marylanders are smarter than they think we are and can see right through their smokescreen.

We know when we have been given the shaft.

My advice to everyone who feels the same way I do is: Don't forget what your legislators did in the special session of 2007 and the regular session of 2008, and vote these tax-and-spenders out of office.

David J. Petr

Street

Get U.S. troops out of quagmire in Iraq

On Tuesday, Army Gen. David Petraeus again tried to convince Congress that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq ("Petraeus supports halt to Iraq pullout," April 9).

The attempt by General Petraeus to put lipstick on a pig would be hilarious, except that people are dying in Iraq and the war is a quagmire.

As we peace activists said in 2002, this war is wrong.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Yet the Bush administration got enough votes from Democrats to launch an invasion of that country.

The only solution now is for U.S. troops to come home while we get the United Nations involved in rebuilding the country and send the money allocated to the Pentagon for the war to Iraqi nongovernmental organizations as reparations to help rebuild Iraq.

Max Obuszewski

Baltimore

Early withdrawal does ensure defeat

While it is certainly true, as The Sun suggests, that "withdrawal delay offers no assurance of war's success" ("Never-ending war," editorial, April 9), it is also true that premature withdrawal ensures failure.

Further, anyone who believes that the end of the Iraq war will end Islamic terrorism doesn't understand what is happening throughout the world.

So far, we have only seen the "nose of the camel" in our tent.

We are indeed facing a "never-ending war."

Dick Tatlow

Marriottsville

Make profilers pay fine for misconduct

The taxpayers of Maryland must pay $400,000 because some state employees broke the law ("State settles bias lawsuit," April 3).

How about identifying those employees and their bosses, holding those people accountable to the law and making them pay the $400,000?

David J. Heston

Glen Arm

War on drugs a cure worse than disease

Mandatory minimum prison sentences have done little other than turn what is supposed to be the "land of the free" into the world's biggest jailer ("Declare peace in war on drugs," April 6).

If harsh penalties deterred drug use, the goal of a "drug-free" America would have been achieved decades ago.

Instead of adding to the highest incarceration rate in the world, we should be funding drug treatment.

The drug war is a cure worse than the disease.

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