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Letters to the Editor

December 27, 2008

Biotech series revealing, but what of ethics?



To the editor:

Your recent series on biotechnology was very informative. I was disturbed by one factor, however.There was no mention of the inclusion of any exposure of the students to the subject of ethics.

Since this technology includes such things as cloning, embryonic stem cell utilization, genetic alteration of plants and humans, in vitro fertilization, animal-human or plant-human hybrids, use of parts of aborted children for making vaccines or cosmetics, and manufacture of "designer" babies, there is obviously a wide spectrum of ethical issues at stake.

It seems not only logical but imperative that the students be given presentations, from a variety of view points, of the ethical considerations involved.

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To think this is not a problem simply means we are choosing to ignore the lessons of the past. Following World War II war crimes trials, where doctors were charged with violations of the Hippocratic oath, there came the Declaration of Geneva which included this statement, "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception. Even under threat I will not use my knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity."

How easily we forget the 1920s eugenics programs of Margaret Sanger and her famous backers that became laws for the forced sterilization of the "unfit."

They were repealed only after the bad press of the war trials. It is particularly significant to us since we and our sister states of Virginia and West Virginia had been the hub of the legal games used to gain the right for the rest of the country to enact such laws.

Fast forward to 1970 and the publication California Medicine which carried an editorial, "A New Ethic for Medicine and Society," outlining a strategy for changing the language in the battle for abortion on demand.

It showed how to choose words that would separate abortion from killing in the hearts of the public and in the minds of the medical personnel.

The least we can do is to set up some seminars which would allow presentation of the viewpoints involved. It is a dereliction of responsibility to leave students in ignorance of the seriousness of the issues.

Richard Giovanoni
Hagerstown




Athletics makes for students who are well-rounded



To the editor:

Some would say there is too much emphasis placed on high school athletics. I do not agree. As a high school athlete 40 years ago and a person who has known many athletes well over the last 10 years, I have firsthand knowledge of how athletics in the proper perspective can develop character in an individual.

Goals are set and then the striving to attain these goals occurs in sports. The development of character and the attainment of goals, in most cases, carries over to other areas of a person's school career and adult life.

Individuals participating on a team are required to carry a minimum GPA to participate.

Quality things happen to individuals who participate in sports. College recruiters look for well-rounded students when interviewing prospective students for their colleges. I am not saying sports is the only way to be well-rounded. The importance of high school sports should never be overlooked.

 

Meredith Fouche
Sharpsburg




City Park worth a stroll in winter



To the editor:

If you haven't strolled through Hagerstown's City Park recently, you need to take a look and see the changes. Not only the holiday displays but the garden club has done beautiful work sprucing up the area around the museum.

On the other hand, someone has gone wild cutting down many huge fine old trees along the walking paths. Some trimming is always necessary but the recent cutting appears to be excessive.

Hugh Allen
Hagerstown

Paint store service was very competent



To the editor:

I recently purchased paint at the new Benjamin Moore Paint store located on Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown. The staff was knowledgeable, patient and extremely helpful.

I would recommend this store to anyone contemplating a home improvement project. The excellent service and expert advice were greatly appreciated.

Bernadette Wagner
Hagerstown




Neighbor's new compressor hurts my dogs' ears



To the editor:

Bow wow, my ears hurt!

That is what my dogs and guests have been saying for months. Why? Well our neighbor (a farmer) got a new compressor - and boy, is it loud! It is so loud that it makes the dogs bark, has given me headaches and disrupted sleep.

Now, you may be wondering why I haven't spoken to this neighbor. Well, I have, to no avail. Sadly, his landlord hasn't been much help either.

I have called the police and all they could do is give him a verbal slap on the hand.

The Humane Society - well, nothing happened there either.

If my dogs bark - watch out. The police are called, the Humane Society comes out and I get a citation.

This piece of equipment drones on in a high pitch. As a result, the dogs are nervous wrecks and even their heat cycles are off.

I contacted the Humane Society since it is affecting the quality of life of my golden retrievers.

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