- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Glendening shoots himself in the foot

Gov. Parris Glendenings veto of a bill that would have required schools to teach gun safety demonstrates that he considers gun safety to be nothing more than a politically expedient means to pass gun control bills ("Gun safety curriculum vetoed by Glendening," May 18).
Mr. Glendening has a history of paying lip service to gun safety when in fact, his true agenda is a total ban on the private ownership of firearms. He certainly needs to take a gun safety course, because he just shot himself in the foot credibility-wise. It remains to be seen if the governors supporters will be astute enough to realize they have been misled, used and betrayed.
This is not the first time Mr. Glendening has refused to support gun safety bills. Last year, the governor rammed his gun control bill through the Maryland General Assembly, touting it as a "gun safety" bill that was "for the children." He also offered a tax credit for the purchase of a gun safe as an alternative, should the need arise. As he intended, that bill went to Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Hoffmans Budget and Taxation Committee rather than Sen. Walter Bakers Judicial Proceedings Committee. After the gun bill was recalled from Mr. Bakers committee in violation of the Senate rules, the governor immediately abandoned any support for his gun-safe tax credit and allowed Mrs. Hoffman to let the bill die in committee without a vote. The governor ignored a similar bill passed in the Maryland House this year. It also died in Mrs. Hoffmans committee without a vote.
Mr. Glendenings veto is no surprise. While the actual use of firearms in conjunction with the Maryland Hunter Safety program is optional, the governor is anti-hunting as well as anti-gun and will do whatever he can to discourage hunting in Maryland.
The governors agenda depends on ignorance and fear. Mr. Glendening knows that a person who is educated and familiar with firearms is less easily deceived and therefore far less likely to succumb to his propaganda. The last thing he wants is an educated, well-informed electorate. As an educator, the governor knows that ignorance puts people at a disadvantage, and as a politician, he knows how to exploit their ignorance to his advantage.

Legislative vice president
Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore Inc.
Towson, Md.

Spouses, children aren't only ones to honor fallen police officers

In your May 16 story "Bush honors fallen police officers," you reported that the president was joined by "hundreds of spouses and children of fallen officers" in honoring police officers who had died in the line of duty. Many more than just spouses and children were in attendance at the memorial, which honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the citizens of our nation.
I am the mother of Deputy Sheriff Barrett Travis Hill, who was a deputy for the Harris County Sheriffs Department in Texas. My son was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 4, 2000. My husband and Iwere in attendance at the memorial, along with hundreds of other grief-stricken parents, spouses, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers.
Im not sure when our society began thinking that a person only begins to exist when he or she gets married. I ache inside every time I read that my son is survived only by a spouse and children.


'Hindu bombs' just as lethal as 'Islamic bombs'

Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yews comments that Islamic extremism coupled with "a Muslim nuclear weapon that will travel" is a "tinderbox" ("Singapores Lee calls China unstoppable," Nation, May 18) must be put in the right perspective.
Interestingly, Mr. Lee finds only the "Islamic" bomb to be menacing, and not "Confucian" or "Hindu" bombs. Mr. Lee claims "China is rational, so is India." What is his criterion for rationality? India, for example, has perpetrated abuses against Christians, suppressed Kashmiris and Sikhs, defied the Nonproliferation Treaty and exhibited aspirations of projecting its muscle against its smaller neighbors Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and beyond the subcontinent into the Indian Ocean. Such behavior hardly can be qualified as "rational."
Likewise, nobody, including Mr. Lee, ever spoke of "fanaticism growing in Indonesia" before the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Then, Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, was politically stable and economically growing. Instead of looking at factors such as the lack of the rule of law and real democracy as the root cause of problems besetting Indonesia today, Mr. Lee and others are dogmatic in pointing to Islam for an easy explanation.

Lake Ridge, Va.

Rephrasing the nuclear power question

Scott Denman, Executive Director of the Safe Energy Commission Council, would have us halt even a discussion of nuclear power based on the fact that recent polling shows that "ixty percent opposes building more reactors" ("Is anyone enthusiastic about nuclear reactors?," Letters, May 12). A reasoned examination of our nations options might be more helpful.
The U.S. Navy has accumulated over 5400 reactor years of accident-free experience and now operates about 90 nuclear-powered ships. More importantly, every former Navy submariner that I know is very comfortable with the safety of nuclear reactors. Most of them are now working in the commercial power industry.
The disposal of radioactive waste, for political rather than technical reasons, is a more contentious issue. The United States decided long ago to prohibit reprocessing nuclear fuel in order to minimize production and the potential theft of weapons-grade material. Yet the French routinely remanufacture nuclear fuel rods, achieving huge reductions in the volume of radioactive waste (by one account, a 97 percent reduction with a breeder reactor, which uses plutonium fuel instead of conventional uranium). Perhaps our policy should be revisited.
Instead of polling the public on whether they would like to live near a nuclear reactor, perhaps Mr. Denman should ask: "Would you support building a nuclear power plant within ten miles of your home if it provided you personally with reliable electrical power for two-thirds the cost of a natural gas fired plant, reduced fuel imports and our trade deficit, was invulnerable to market manipulation by OPEC, and would do all of this without producing any air pollutants or greenhouse gases?" I, for one, would enthusiastically replace the conventional power plant nearest to me with a nuclear plant and as soon as possible.


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