Source:  Baltimore Sun Sunspot

                   Letters to the editor

                    Patten's resignation hurts fight against domestic
                    The forced resignation of Col. Margaret Patten from the Baltimore
                    Police Department comes as a stunning blow not only to the
                    department, but also to the hundreds of women -- and men -- who
                    are or have ever been victims of domestic violence in our community
                    ("Another commander will leave city police," Feb. 25).

                    Colonel Patten's ever-vigilant campaign to revamp the department's
                    policies regarding domestic violence offered hope and protection to
                    many, while strengthening our city's capacity to make a dent in this
                    national epidemic.

                    Many years ago, I, too, was a battered spouse, with three small

                    Back then, women such as myself had very few enlightened
                    protectors, either walking the beat or sitting on the bench. Most of us
                    suffered in silence, and very few were able to find shelter from the

                    I count myself among the lucky ones, as my cries for help were finally
                    answered by an informed police officer.

                    Because of his efforts and encouragement, I was able to build a new
                    life for me and my children, away from a dangerous and persistent
                    abuser, who might have eventually killed me.

                    Today, 12 years later, I am a successful writer, with a wonderful
                    husband and four beautiful children.

                    I tell my story to underline this point: The Maggie Patten's of this
                    world are to be cherished and decorated, not forced to turn in their
                    badges. Their contributions remain immeasurable and inspirational.

                    Kathleen A. Harvatt

                    Col. Margaret Patten's resignation from the Baltimore police is a loss
                    for the city as well as the department.

                    Colonel Patten's interest in women's issues and domestic violence is
                    well known. What is not as well known is her work in publicizing the
                    link between animal abuse and domestic violence. Cruelty to animals
                    is often a predictor of future violence.

                    Col. Patten was instrumental in establishing a cross-reporting system
                    between the Bureau of Animal Control and the Baltimore Police

                    In addition, she has promoted the formation of numerous coalitions
                    to fight domestic violence.

                    Each year the Snyder Foundation recognizes outstanding
                    professional achievement with the Foundations "Recognition of
                    Excellence Award."

                    In the past this award has always been presented to a professional in
                    the animal protection field. This year it will be presented to Colonel

                    The award carries a $1,500 monetary attachment. Colonel Patten
                    has asked that the money be used to establish a fund to assist pets of
                    domestic violence victims who need to seek shelter.

                    Lora Junkin
                    The writer is executive director of the William Snyder
                    Foundation for Animals.

                    Paid suspension: a reward for alleged domestic
                    Congratulations to the Baltimore City Police Department for the
                    prompt disciplinary action taken against Sgt. Gary F. White in the
                    alleged assault on his wife: A paid vacation while his case drags
                    through our overcrowded court system. They call it a suspension
                    with pay. ("Domestic violence unit officer charged in assault on his
                    wife is suspended," March 2).

                    I asked my boss, "If I beat up my fiancee, but promise not to do so
                    too badly, can I have a paid leave of absence while I wait out the
                    court system?"

                    What do you think he said?

                    Michael Connell

                    Crime can't be controlled until the justice system
                    Kudos to The Sun for supporting Mayor Martin O'Malley's efforts to
                    reform the criminal court system ("Real breakthrough or just false
                    hopes," editorial, March 2).

                    Crime is the worst of many problems this city faces. All efforts to
                    combat crime end with the courts. The court system is broken and
                    needs to be fixed.

                    As a member of the Bolton Hill court watch program, I have
                    watched suspects manipulate the system to get dismissals or
                    postponements. I've seen suspects laugh and snicker as they leave

                    If the courts do not hold people accountable, there is no point in
                    arresting them. Efforts to reduce the murder rate and clean up the
                    open air drug markets will fail unless the courts do their part.

                    All of the judges, and Chief District Judge Martha F. Rasin in
                    particular, need to accept their responsibility for the abysmal shape
                    of the courts. This is no time for hurt feelings or business as usual.

                    If asking the judges to work nights and weekends at Central Booking
                    will reduce the overwhelming crush of cases, they need to work.

                    Baltimore desperately needs Mr. O'Malley to be successful. All this
                    city's other problems will be more manageable when the crime rate is

                    Paul Hinkle

                    International court needed to stop abuses
                    Russia's acting President Vladimir Putin has recently stated that
                    human rights issues in Chechnya are part of Moscow's internal affairs
                    ("Can Russia be trusted?" editorial, March 5).

                    In the age of globalization, Mr. Putin is relying on
                    once-insurmountable concepts of non-intervention and state
                    sovereignty to protect his nation from international law.
                    Unfortunately, it seems to be working.

                    Recent reports by human rights organizations have cited clear war
                    crimes and crimes against humanity in Chechnya. Yet no international
                    action has been taken to bring perpetrators to justice.

                    This is clearly another case in which the ratification of the Rome
                    statute for an International Criminal Court (ICC) could prove an
                    effective tool.

                    The ICC, if ratified, would have jurisdiction over the crime of
                    genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of

                    This court could prosecute individuals charged with such crimes and
                    thus help establish universal justice.

                    Mr. Putin's cries for non-intervention would then be fruitless, because
                    the international institutionalization of universal human rights would be

                    Eric K. Leonard
                    Bel Air

                   Those not wanting tax cut must not be paying their
                    Tell me of 1,000 Marylanders who, despite the state's $1 billion
                    budget surplus, do not want their money back in the form of a tax cut
                    ("State is cool on tax cuts," March 2).

                    And I'll tell you of 1,000 Marylanders who are not paying their fair
                    share in taxes.

                    Chris Riviello

                   Anthology of lesbian life didn't merit Sun's praise
                    I was appalled to read David Zurawik's eloquently written article
                    about HBO's anthology about lesbian relationships, "If These Walls
                    Could Talk 2," and his strong recommendation to find any way
                    possible to watch it ("HBO's 'Walls 2' has much to tell," March. 4).

                    I'm sorry, but Mr. Zurawik's affections for the lesbian lifestyle are not
                    something a major publication like The Sun should be headlining.

                    I am not a bigot, a homophobe or "far right wing conservative." I do
                    not think The Sun should be headlining Bible schools or the teachings
                    of Billy Graham.

                    I am a father who, along with my wife, is trying to raise my teen-age
                    son and daughter the best way I know how.

                    Tell Mr. Zurawik that we will not be watching.

                    Danny L. Imwold
                    Bel Air

                   Originally published on Mar 11 2000