- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2001

Bush stem-cell compromise: Don't condone, but reward

President Bush claims his decision to provide federal funds for stem-cell research using existing stem-cell lines avoids involving government in the killing of embryos because the dirty deed already has been done.
What he and the news media have ignored is that the federal funds will be profits for the private companies that ended these human lives and are selling their remains on the market. Rather than being punished for what Mr. Bush believes is an unethical practice, these companies not only will be financially rewarded for being the first to kill embryos for their tissue, but also will be given a monopoly on selling embryonic-stem-cell tissue to federally funded researchers.
Would Mr. Bush allow federal funding for experiments using a cell line derived from the skin cells of Nazi death-camp victims simply because the victims already are dead and it would be a "waste" of good material? If Mr. Bush truly believes human life begins at conception, he cannot claim there is any difference.
Mr. Bush may not condone the killing, but he has proved himself willing to reward those who already have done the killing.

DAVID C. REARDON
Biomedical ethicist
Elliot Institute
Springfield, Ill.

Traffic camera editorial offends police chief

The Washington Times editorial likening the D.C. government and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to German Nazis and Italian fascists is a despicable and outrageous insult to everyone involved in our traffic-safety efforts, especially our fine police officers ("For-profit photo radar," Aug. 9). Your newspaper should be embarrassed by its hyperbolic rhetoric and should apologize publicly for this over-the-top transgression against human decency and logic.
Metropolitan Police officers are sworn to protect the lives, property and rights of all. We take that responsibility very seriously, and we constantly train in and reinforce the values of the constitutional democracy we are here to protect. Although The Times has never reported on this unique program, our officers both recruits and veterans tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a way to drive home the critical role of the police in a free and democratic society. To suggest that we would implement a traffic-safety program that violates these bedrock principles is not only false, but patently offensive.
Equally false and offensive is the suggestion that we are putting money over safety with our red-light camera and photo-radar programs. Photo-enforcement systems do generate revenue for local governments. Far more important, though, these systems reduce aggressive driving, prevent crashes and save lives through an enforcement system that is fair, constitutional and free of bias. The MPD hears from residents every day of the week asking for photo enforcement in their neighborhoods and not because they think these systems will put money in the District's coffers. Residents want photo enforcement because they know these systems make their families and their neighborhoods safer.
The safety and well-being of our residents are the top priorities of the Williams administration and the police department. Photo enforcement supports these priorities in a way that is fair, effective and proven. In the two years our red-light camera program has been operational, the number of violations at the 39 intersections equipped with cameras has plunged by more than 55 percent. That is the equivalent of 21,000 fewer red-light-running violations each and every month. The number of traffic fatalities caused by red-light running also has dropped, from eight to 10 a year to zero so far this year. We anticipate equally dramatic public-safety and health results with photo radar.
Hitler's Germany exterminated millions of people in its horrid campaign to eliminate Jews and other people. By invoking this darkest chapter in human history when commenting on our lifesaving traffic-safety efforts, The Washington Times truly has sunk to new and unconscionable depths. You owe the survivors of the Holocaust, not to mention the victims of aggressive driving, an immediate and complete apology.

CHARLES H. RAMSEY
Chief of police
Metropolitan Police Department
Washington


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