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Letters to the Editor 4/4

April 03, 2001

Letters to the Editor 4/4



Information might have saved kids



To the editor:

I am writing in reaction to the latest episodes of gun violence in our country's schools.

In California, a 15-year-old suspect brings a .22 caliber revolver into school and fires 30 rounds, killing two students and injuring 13 others. In Philadelphia, an 8-year-old suspect brings a 9 millimeter gun into class threatens a fellow third grader to "make it a blood bath and throw me (this fellow student) into the Dumpster." Miraculously, there was not one shot fired in the Philadelphia incident.

Two similar scenarios - yet both ended differently. What was the difference in these situations?

The fact that the threatened third grader in Philadelphia informed her teacher of the situation.

The teacher then called the police. The Philadelphia police took the 8-year-old suspect into custody and arranged charges against the suspect's uncle for reckless endangerment. Although the 9-millimeter weapon was not loaded, ammunition was found in the suspects backpack. Thanks to the quick thinking of the threatened third grader and her teacher, lives were spared.

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If those who knew about the 15-year-old suspect's threats to shoot people had come forward and reported them, two students would not be dead.

The suspect's father knew his .22 caliber revolver was missing. Some students thought the suspect was joking. Still more students didn't want to get the suspect into trouble by telling those in authority about the threats he had made. An adult family friend of the suspect said the suspect had talked about shooting people just this past weekend - just two days before the shootings became a grisly reality.

It's quite disturbing that with the rising surge of gun violence in our country's schools we just brush off gun threats without another thought. We think: It will never happen... they're just trying to get attention... we don't want to cause any unnecessary commotion. Well, you know what? This could have happened in our own back yard - the 15-year-old suspect lived in Southern Frederick County, Maryland until last June - had he and his family not moved out of the area, this heinous act could have happened in our own back yard.

In closing, we can stop gun violence in our schools. If those who know about such threats tell someone in authority, these tragedies can be avoided - just as it was avoided in Philadelphia. We need to take responsibility and inform authorities when such threats are made. We need to educate our children that it is indeed OK to tell a responsible adult if they hear deadly threats made.

I myself would rather be safe than sorry - and I am quite certain that those who knew about the California suspect's threats are sorry they chose not to come forward to appropriate authorities.

Jane F. Schmidt

Hagerstown

Pardons? Look at both parties



To the editor:

A Republican spokesperson, Mark Corrallo, who is a member of the House Government Reform Committee, said, "The trend is if you pay the right people enough money, you can get the pardon." He made this statement in response to President Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich, who fled to Switzerland in 1983 after being charged with tax evasion. If he's right, the House Government Reform Committee should investigate other presidents who pardoned "bad" people during their term of office.

After serving part of his sentence in prison for embezzling pension money, Teamster President James Hoffa was pardoned by Republican President Richard Nixon. When President Nixon left office to escape impeachment, his replacement, Republican President Gerald Ford, pardoned Nixon.

Incoming Republican President Ronald Reagan allowed American prisoners who were imprisoned in Iran to rot in jail several months until the day after he was inaugurated as president. He and the Republican Party wanted to take credit away from outgoing Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who negotiated their release before leaving office.

Finally, the House Government Reform Committee would investigate former President George Bush. He pardoned a bunch of Iran-Contra government criminals, including Lt. Colonel Ollie North, who is currently a media spokesperson for the Republican Party?

There are no lily-white US Presidents, but the Republicans, including President George W. Bush, have a set agenda. They must discredit the Democratic party, including former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to gain control of both houses of Congress in 2002. They want full support for President Bush's program.

Marc Rich did what most rich people do. He cheated on his taxes. Name one rich person who hasn't cheated the IRS, or for that matter, any Republican or Democrat who hasn't done likewise.

Theodore A. Schendel

Hedgesville, W.Va.

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