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Letters to the Editor

July 23, 1999

Gone, for no good reason

To the editor:

After reading in Sunday's paper, July 18, about the fiasco surrounding the Kammerer House, all I could think was "what was the hurry and what was the point?"

I always enjoyed seeing that old stone house on my way to work. It was a way to touch America's past, to touch a bit of the frontier when this area was frontier.

I took a tour of the house before it was torn down and it was a beauty and could have been renovated and put to good use once again. Now it is too late and once again I ask "What was the hurry?" "What was the point?"

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Joseph DiMaggio

Sabillasville, Md.

Commandments supported

To the editor:

I'm encouraged by the continued coverage on the issue of the Ten Commandments in the schools. Especially the positive ones from readers.

It raises questions like "Why did the government take prayer and religion out of the schools in the first place?" If I'm not mistaken the first educational systems of America began with the reading of the Bible. I can recall a certain woman named O'Hair who spearheaded the atheistic movement that removed the public acknowledgment of God from the conscience of our children. I find it ironic that it did not come about by the squabbling of diverse religious groups (as feared by preservers of the Constitution), but by people who don't even believe in God. Samuel Adams in 1790 said "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite in their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity ... and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country ... In short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system."

So while we are trying to redirect the minds of our youth to more virtuous thought, let's start saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag again. Maybe people will again appreciate what it stands for and not want to burn it. As for Bob Wise voting against the Ten Commandments in schools, it's not entirely his fault. I think Abraham Lincoln explained it clearly when he said "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Some would say that it is luck that has brought the Ten Commandments back. I prefer the term "providence."

Victor Orlando

Martinsburg, W.Va.

One Website doesn't make for a good news story

To the editor:

Myths and stories are a vital piece of life in Boonsboro, where I live. Our legends of Civil War ghosts and haunted houses keep history alive for us, and seem to add importance and mystery to who we are and where we came from. Stories are important to humanity, which could be one reason for the movie, "The Blair Witch Project," mentioned in your paper last week.

Engaging photos from the film created by Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick drew me to the article in your paper, describing the new horror flick, "The Blair Witch Project." I read the article over and over again, knowing that it was about the movie, but was confused by the timeline at the bottom of the page, titled "Major events in the history of Blair witch." These events were given exact dates, and in my experience, timelines such as this are based on what is believed to be fact.

Regardless of its misleading context, I was intrigued with the article and decided to research it further. At the end of the story, a Website (www.blairwitch.com) was given, which I located. The strange thing was that all information posted on the Website was in your paper, often word for word. I found nothing of the story in your paper that was not on the Website. Something which should have been researched was that this particular Website alludes that the "Blair Witch" is indeed real with photos of audio tapes and film "found under the foundation of a 100-year-old cabin."

A day after reading "The Blair Witch Project" in The Herald-Mail, my mother found an article in The Gazette (a Frederick paper) based on an interview with the creators of the movie. This newspaper covered many aspects of the entire subject, and was derived from various sources. The hoax was explained in full detail, and after reading the article, I felt as though I had actually learned something. True, readers should not take things out of context, but neither should the writers.

While writing anything in a paper from one source is biased, insulting the reader's intelligence by printing exactly what can be read with two clicks of a mouse is even worse. The Internet is a whole new world of information that is not always true, and one could say the same about journalism. Nevertheless, one line that should never be crossed is between what is the Internet, and what is journalism.

Julia Blair

Boonsboro

(Editor's note: The story clearly said the movie was fictitious.)

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