Readers Respond

July 22, 2009

Mars? We have enough problems at home

American narcissism has no limits. When the government has a deficit so staggering that the human mind has trouble wrapping itself around the amount, and when the homelessness, joblessness and hunger in this country are reaching record proportions, to propose that we increase that deficit to send men to Mars and ignore these and other dire problems is narcissistic insanity that only the delusional can embrace ("Destination Mars," July 21).

It sickened me to read this suggestion in The Sun. It was wise to print it on the editorial page so that the author would remain anonymous.

Nancy Williamson, Baltimore

MTA should listen, not spy

Michael Dresser's article Tuesday ("MTA taping idea stifled," July 21) caught my attention this morning as I rode the No. 61 bus downtown. Even setting aside the privacy issues, I am sincerely doubtful that bugging the buses would deter crime and question why anyone could have supported the proposal.

The idea that MTA police (or anyone else) could defuse a violent situation by monitoring conversations on the bus from some central command center (for example) is debatable at best. Why not use the communication devices that drivers are already supposed to have?

Ironically, the MTA has put forth a good idea but completely missed the point. The transit agency should listen to its customers to improve service, not monitor free speech in the vain hope that the tiny minority of criminals on the buses will advertise their intentions before doing wrong.

Patrick Murphy, Baltimore

We already ration health care

Note to Republicans and naysayers in Congress:

Apparently you have not been listening to the American people. We already have rationed healthcare. Insurance bureaucrats tell us what medical care they will pay for and either refuse to cover or drop people who either have or may have serious and expensive medical issues.

If you are working for the insurance companies, perhaps you should be collecting your paychecks and benefits from them instead of the American people.

R. Lam, Baltimore

Prisoners' health care better

It is about time that this country recognizes that health care is a right that all Americans should enjoy. Currently, the only segment of our population that is entitled to free health care is prison and jail inmates.

The Bill of Rights guarantees in the 8th Amendment that inmates must be protected from "cruel and unusual punishment."

As interpreted, this clause means that incarcerated individuals must receive basic medical care. That cost is included in the average amount of $22,000 annually that taxpayers pay to keep one person incarcerated in this country.

It doesn't seem fair that convicted criminals receive a basic right that law-abiding Americans do not have.

Linda Fleischer The writer is chair of the Community College of Baltimore County's Criminal Justice Studies Program.

Feral cats are a problem

To those proclaiming that "the cats did nothing wrong" in the case of the feral felines living outside North Baptist ("Church relents on feeding ban," July 19), neither do rats, mice or other vermin that roam the habitats in which humans dwell. Feral cat feces and the cats' potential as rabies carriers are enough to make them a nuisance and public threat. One can minister to humans and have compassion for animals without creating some artificial utopia where animals and all the potential problems they bring are brushed aside in lieu of some Disney-like falsity.

Cats, like mice, rats, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and the like are animals, not babies, and not equals to humans because there is a natural order.

As to these abundant feral cats, aren't the same people who feed and support the cats putting felines above the many species of animals who fall prey to them? Of course they are. That is what the natural order, the food chain, requires, and humans are at the top of it.

The solution? Take a cat home or be quiet and let property owners deal with nuisance animals the way that they need to best utilize their property.

Bill Burnham, Baltimore

No to single track

I couldn't believe that the city of Baltimore and MTA would even think to consider a single track as a compromise to developing the new light rail line ("Single-track minds," July 21).

All this does is delay the process of building something correctly the first time and instead forces the taxpayers to incur even larger costs. How is doing a job poorly and delaying costs a better solution to the controversy?

If the MTA had built the light rail system properly and effectively initially, all this current discussion would be nonexistent and we would have tons of people riding public transportation.

So, why not build the system correctly when you have the chance? Why defer costs that in the long run will only cost more in delays, bad public perception by riders and inflated costs due to deferred costs? It seems to me the right thing is to build it and do it correctly now.

Keith Carey

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