- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 23, 2000

In defense of New York's mayor and police

I'm afraid Nat Hentoff's argument that New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is a bad person because he strongly supports the city's Police Department in its efforts to reduce crime would not hold up in the court of public opinion ("The case against Giuliani," "Sweet Land of Liberty," Op-Ed, April 17).

Would Mr. Hentoff prefer the police to back off from aggressive deterrence of crime and allow New York streets to return to the unsafe conditions of the past? If that did occur, he probably would be one of the first to complain.

Critics of Mr. Giuliani cannot have it both ways. The only effective way to deal with serious crime is aggressive action by the police. This is preferable to permitting aggressive action by criminals to go unrestrained.

Unfortunately, there are times when we have to give up a portion of our freedom for the greater good.

It is unfair for Mr. Hentoff to condemn Mr. Giuliani for doing the job he was elected to do. Mr. Hentoff should consider the alternative. If Mr. Giuliani loses the Senate election to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Hentoff and other New Yorkers will suffer the consequences.

If he doesn't realize the truth of this statement, he should take the time to read Peggy Noonan's "The Case Against Hillary Clinton." If he reads it, he undoubtedly will see Mr. Giuliani's qualifications for senator in a much brighter light. Unlike Mr. Hentoff's arguments against Mr. Giuliani, Miss Noonan's case against Mrs. Clinton is detailed, conclusive and frightening.

THOMAS J. RYAN

Bethany Beach, Del.

Elian coverage in The Times wonderful and independent[p]

Your reporting and editorials on the Elian Gonzalez case have been marvelous.

The one exception was an obnoxious, xenophobic column by Georgie Anne Geyer that slanders Cuban and other Hispanic Americans ("Drama in the 'New America,' " Commentary, April 12).

Otherwise, I have agreed 100 percent with the sentiments expressed in your paper on Elian and am delighted that he now will have his day in court.

Now I would like to see some probing of the Clinton administration's unconscionable, even puzzling approach to this case.

While I don't always agree with the opinions expressed in your paper, I greatly appreciate your independent approach to reporting and editorializing. It's great to have a newspaper that isn't always politically correct.

In the Elian case, as at other times, the politically correct opinion is clearly an unjust and closed-minded one.

PAUL S. CALEM

Rockville

'Sensitive' editors should have jeered vice president[p]

I read with interest "Editors mull ways to bolster sensitivity" ("On media," April 13). In fact, I read it carefully several times. I was looking for the tag line that revealed it as a late April Fools' Day joke.

Vice President Al Gore, self-described as a fellow newspaperman, advises editors that Texas Gov. George W. Bush's statements can't be trusted: " 'I worked in journalism long enough to know that some claims demand serious scrutiny,' Mr. Gore told the American Society of Newspaper Editors." No kidding.

This is low comedy. That the reaction from the assembled editors to the comments made by the "inventor of the Internet" was not a shower of assorted luncheon entrees accompanied by hoots and catcalls of derision is curious. I guess that newspaper editors really are getting more "sensitive" about others' feelings, as the article suggests, or perhaps they are just numb after nearly eight years of this administration.

Oh, where is H.L. Mencken now that we need him?

WILLIAM A. GALLAGHER

Galesville, Md.

Education, not toy buybacks, the answer to problem of children and guns[p]

Cynthia A. Carter, an Annapolis alderman, is correct when she says children can't distinguish between real guns and play guns, nor do they know the difference between life and death ("Buyback of toy, water pistols sought," Metropolitan, April 20). Both of these failings are inherent in our society.

The first is the fault of our community leaders and educators because they will not allow firearms safety to be taught in our schools and other public places. How are our children supposed to know the difference between real guns and play guns if no one, besides a few dedicated instructors, is willing to teach them or even allow them to be taught?

Most of our politicians don't know the difference between a real firearm and a toy gun, so how can we expect our children to know, if they aren't taught? A firearm is like a car it is as safe as the person using it.

As for our children not knowing the difference between life and death, that is something their parents and the church of their choice need to consider.

Most people seem to be waiting for someone else to teach it. Meanwhile, television, movies, videos and music continue to glorify violence. This glorification, which is so persistent and strong, makes it difficult for those parents who are trying to teach their children right from wrong.

If parents spend two hours talking to their child about what is right and wrong and then the child is bombarded for six hours by violence in the media, it's no wonder we have a violent society.

It is time people stop fixating on inanimate objects and start focusing on the real problem our society's values. Put funds behind teaching values instead of a toy buyback program, and I'll bet we see some improvement.

ROBERT E. BRAND

Gaithersburg

Army also helps in protecting endangered species[p]

It was with interest that I read the article about the red-cockaded woodpeckers ("Wildlife experts undertake head count of rare woodpecker," Metropolitan, April 17). I, as well as many others who share a common interest in the environment, applaud this effort.

I would like to point out that the Army has been actively supporting the effort in protecting this endangered species at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, near Southport, N.C., since the early 1980s. This facility also has been supporting the protection of other wildlife as well as flora. The forester, Tony Gaw, has led the way in southeast North Carolina in this regard. The last sightings of the rare woodpeckers came up with a count of more than 30 birds.

In the same vein, wild turkeys in the area had been hunted into near extinction. With new birds and a protected population, the terminal held its first hunting season last year and is currently into another hunting season. As regards plants, Mr. Gaw is working actively with North Carolina environmentalists to preserve the Venus flytrap and pitcher plants.

The Military Transportation Management Command and subcommand at Southport should be commended for this effort.

ALAN M. COX

Odenton, Md.

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