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Letters to the Editor 12/30

January 01, 2000

Let's serve everyone

To the editor:

In regard to the "elitist" medical education program proposed for the North End students at North Hagerstown High School, how does board member Paul Bailey expect the other county students to acquire the same education?

In other words, how will Smithsburg, or Hancock students get to North Hagerstown High School? Will other county students be excluded from this elite program?

Harry Peasly

St. James

Trigger locks aren't the answer

To the editor:

The following are direct quotes from the official journal of the Texas State Rifle Association. The TSRA Sportsman, Sept./Oct. 1999.

"Trigger lock" laws do not necessarily equal safety.

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California has had a law of this type on their books, and still had a 12 percent increase in fatal firearm accidents. To cut it short and paraphrase, Texas had a 28 percent decrease in fatal firearms accidents during the same period.

A second quote is attributed to Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, Mafia turncoat during an interview with "Vanity Fair."

"Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm the bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with the lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."

So, Marylanders, send a clear message to Annapolis, Gov. Glendening and his ilk that they are way off base. No poll here, just facts.

Zack T. Fleming

Kearneysville, W.Va.

Moses makes a questionable mark

To the editor:

The Old Testament teaches us that the man Moses was very meek. Moses was supposed to have had the patience and humility above all the men who were upon the earth. One day the mild-mannered and humble writer of the Sixth Commandment saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave.

Moses looked around and didn't see anyone else except the Egyptian and the slave. Moses slew the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. Later on according to the "Good Book" Moses has a man stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Moses continues on with his kind and compassionate conduct by ordering the Israelite army to slaughter civilian prisoners including children. Moses wrote the Ten Commandments as we know them today and that is how he made his mark in history.

Arthur P. Keifer

Boonsboro

Freedom in prison

To the editor:

Thich Nhat Hanh is a name that will truly be remembered by those who were fortunate enough to have made his acquaintance. This was the first visit ever to an American prison by the once-nominated Nobel Peace Prize Buddhist monk and activist. With the help of Bo Lozoff and the Community Correctional Services Committee here in Hagerstown his mission was accomplished.

For four hours Thich Nhat Hanh spoke of mindful living to a captivated crowd who sat on the edge of their seats listening tentatively to each and every word spoken by this small, unassuming man of 73 years, who gave the impression that compassion was at the tip of our fingers and all we had to do was reach out and grasp hold of it.

I'm still reflecting on something he said: "During the time of sitting, walking, and eating we practice freedom. Freedom from affliction, freedom from anger, freedom from despise. Every step we take can help us regain our freedom. When we walk, walk as a free person, when you breath, breath as a free person, and this can be practiced anywhere."

Thich Nhat Hanh stated that when he walked into the prison compound he could not help but to notice that the quality of air was the same as on the outside, the sky was the same on the outside, so we can practice breathing, the walking and eating and touch the lives of others in passing. With these words you witnessed the transformation on the residents and outside guests faces as they all began sitting straighter in their chairs, smiling the smile of a free person.

Thich Nhat Hanh spoke of compassion and how compassion can be seen in the eyes, and it can be contagious. He stated that compassion just does not protect us but it protects everyone. "Many of us pretend not to have a heart; it is because we are afraid of abuse, we do not wish to become victims of abuse, so we pretend not to have a heart. If you do not know what suffering is then compassion cannot be born because compassion is born out of suffering.

"When we suffer, we tend to believe that we are the victim of the other person, but that is not true because the other person(s) suffer also. Because a person does not know how to handle his or her sufferings, they tend to make others around him or her suffer too, simply because he or she does not know how to handle his or her sufferings."

Thich Nhat Hanh exited the auditorium with the same aura that he came with, leaving those present renewed with knowledge that would allow them to walk as free people.

Rafiki Abdul Karim

#199426 MCI

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