Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 18, 2008

Bill will open doors for disabled athletes

Milton Kent fears that passage of the Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities bill opens up a "potentially massive can of worms" ("Bill went too far," April 15). But those of us who daily serve the disability community are appalled at the can of worms his elitist comments have opened up.

This bill may not be perfect. What piece of legislation ever is?

And there will certainly be bumps along the way. The transition from big-picture theory to implementation at the grassroots level is never simple, no matter what the issue is.

But this bill marks the first step toward equality on the playing fields for students with disabilities.

In that light, it is outrageous for Mr. Kent to treat the bill as nothing more than a headache for coaches - when it should be celebrated for the groundbreaking legislation that it is.

Mr. Kent's kind of thinking - that the law will "wreak havoc on high school athletics" - is proof positive of the kind of small-minded thinking that makes passage of this bill critical.

For more than 15 years, I have had the honor and privilege of witnessing thousands upon thousands of everyday miracles involving athletes in Special Olympics Maryland.

It is impossible to describe the mixture of pride and joy that I have felt in watching children and adults achieve goals that others still think they don't even have the right to set for themselves.

I, for one, proudly applaud the passage of this bill, as does the entire Special Olympics Maryland family.

It sends a clarion signal to members of the disability community that the state of Maryland believes in them, and believes that disabled athletes are just as valuable as able-bodied athletes.

Patricia Fegan, Linthicum

The writer is the president and CEO of Maryland Special Olympics.

One spelling error didn't cause death

My first reaction to the headline "Spelling error proves fatal" (April 15) was puzzlement: How could a spelling error cause death?

I thought the article might be about a medication error in a hospital.

But when I began to read the article, my confusion gave way to disgust. It seems painfully obvious to me that Jeffrey Clinton Butler's death was caused by a bullet.

Moreover, it could fairly be said that his death was caused by the person who fired the weapon.

One could even extrapolate from the circumstances that his death was a result of his many poor choices.

He chose to commit criminal behavior, to involve himself with others who had made similar choices, to escape from the juvenile facility where he was safe and to give the arresting officer a false name.

Attributing fault for his death to the overworked and underpaid criminal justice system is absurd as well as unfair.

The spelling error was regrettable and sad, but hardly fatal.

But articles such as this one contribute to the false and destructive notion that the criminals are the victims and that the police are responsible for preventing the consequences of bad behavior.

Chris Reiter, Perry Hall

It's time to end the dying in Iraq

The war in Iraq needs to stop ("Iraq forces called unprepared," April 10).

Since 2003, the Bush strategy has been to sell us this endless war in six-month increments. And it seems that in every congressional hearing, interview or speech, we hear the same answer: Give us six more months.

But the longer we remain in Iraq, the more detrimental the war is.

Our troops are dying at alarming rates.

At home, people are losing their homes to foreclosure, 28 million Americans are receiving food subsidies because they cannot afford to feed themselves and more than 40 million people lack health insurance.

Our money could be better spent at home.

We need to end this war.

Nakia Gladden, Germantown

Obama's activism defies 'elitist' label

I find it absurd that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain are attacking Sen. Barack Obama for being out of touch with ordinary Americans ("Obama accused of elitism," April 13).

Do they forget that after college, Mr. Obama turned down corporate jobs so he could work on the streets of Chicago as a community organizer who helped, among others, workers who had lost their jobs when a large plant closed down?

Actions like that speak much louder then words.

I would urge Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain to try instead to address the needs of ordinary Americans who have been shut out in many ways over the past seven years of the Bush administration.

Steven M. Clayton, Ocean, N.J.

Felonious gun shop never quite closed

As a city resident who lives less than two miles from Valley Gun Shop, I read with interest the article in Tuesday's Sun about the store remaining the single biggest source of guns used in Baltimore street crimes.

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