April 08, 2009

Texting ban invites abuse by police

Those 90-day wonders, our beloved state representatives, have really put their foot into a mess this time while trying to look good and appease voters annoyed by people sending text messages ("Ban on texting passes House," April 2).

While I agree that any distraction from driving is a danger, most of them cannot be legislated away. And we already have laws on the books about negligent driving.

Many of our legislators tried to ban cell phone use while driving and failed so now are trying to ban texting. But what about all of the other distractions while driving: I see people shaving, reading the newspaper, screaming at kids and doing their make-up, just to mention a few.

Don't our legislators have more important matters to address - like the budget?

The greatest danger of this bill is that it would make text-messaging a primary offense. That means police could pull you over for mere suspicion of texting.

This is plainly wrong and could open the floodgates of police abuse.

It amounts to an invitation for the police to pull anyone over and just say, "I thought they were texting."

Larry Love, Reisterstown

Time to ban phoning while driving too

While it is patently absurd not to have text-messaging while driving outlawed - there are already enough problems out there on the roads without having drivers distracted by their "need" to text - I implore legislators to prohibit cell phone use altogether while in motion ("Ban on texting passes House," April 2).

It is not only common sense but a proven statistical fact that distracted drivers are deadly. And it is you and I, and my child and yours, who are potential victims of these careless drivers.

And just maybe, if we had drivers actually paying attention and respecting the rules of the road, a sense of decency could be restored to the roadways.

One can dream.

Jaye Dansicker, Sparks

Art shouldn't rely on state funding

The letter writer who claims that "without art, we'll be a second-rate culture" seems to be trying to make the case not for art but for government-funded art ("Arts are essential to cultural identity," April 3). The two arguments are distinctly different.

There is no need for government to be in the arts business. The arts can continue to thrive whether or not they get public support.

It is time for Americans to put their hands back in their pockets and to cease begging the government, and hence their fellow man, for handouts.

Michael P. DeCicco, Severn

Slain Israeli boy wasn't a 'settler'

The Baltimore Sun's headline "Palestinian kills Israeli settler, 13" (April 3) was an unfortunate way of describing the cold-blooded ax-murder of a sweet, harmless little boy. And since the victim is described as a "settler," he is treated, in some way, as the bad guy, while the term "Palestinian" is, at most, neutral.

I have visited Bat Ayin, the community where the killing occurred. It is in Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem. Gush Etzion was part of Jewish Palestine before 1948.

The Jordanian Arab Legion led by British officers besieged it and murdered all the males and deported the women and children. The children came back in 1967 and rebuilt the villages their fathers had died protecting.

Israel will never give back Gush Etzion; it is a nonnegotiable part of the land of Israel.

To call residents of Gush Etzion "settlers" is the same thing as calling Jews living live near the Western Wall settlers because this area was also reclaimed in 1967.

Rabbi Leonard Oberstein, Baltimore

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