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Published: Wednesday, 12/18/2002

`You Drink & Drive, You Lose'

The Lucas County Traffic Safety Program and local law enforcement agencies have joined with enforcement agencies throughout Ohio in an effort to stop the increase of impaired driving and the deadly crashes that accompany this behavior. From Dec. 20 through Jan. 5, local and state officials will be out in full force looking for impaired drivers. There will be no warnings. The message is simple - “You Drink & Drive, You Lose.”

Impaired driving is one of the most often committed crimes, killing someone in the United States every 30 minutes. That means you, your family, or friends are equally likely to be innocent victims. Last year in Ohio, 375 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes (up from 350 in 2000), representing approximately 27 percent of the 1,391 total-traffic fatalities in 2001.

This year we have an extended holiday period when people who may not normally drink and drive will find themselves in a situation where they will choose to do so. Everyone can do their part to stop impaired driving. Designate a sober driver. Stop impaired family members and friends from getting behind the wheel. Report impaired drivers by calling 1-800-GRAB-DUI or star-DUI on a cell phone.

There is never a good time or reason to lose a loved one, but to lose someone to a drunken driver is senseless. It just doesn't have to happen, ever.

GWEN NEUNDORFER

Coordinator, Lucas County

Traffic Safety Program

Congratulations to the Toledo Rockets on their gallant efforts in the recent Mid-American Conference Championship game in Huntington, W.V. This was another classic MAC showdown with two nationally underrated teams in an underrated conference giving it all for their respective schools. A great game with a great finish is expected between Marshall and Toledo when they get together on the football field.

What was most refreshing were the comments from both teams at the end of the game, particularly the Toledo Rockets coach and players. Although a late penalty in the fourth quarter was instrumental in Marshall's eventual win, the head coach of Toledo (who we hear professes to be a Herd fan when not playing them), showed great class and sportsmanship in his comments, complimenting both teams. He made no mention of the official's call and had no “sour grapes” to dish out, preferring instead to focus on the great game just completed.

Perhaps Miami (of Ohio) could use a lesson from Coach Tom Amstutz. Good Luck Rockets in Detroit. Make it 2-0 for the MAC.

SID STEPHENSON

Barboursville, W.V.

Typically, Thomas Sowell's Dec. 5 column failed to define the complex phenomenon he roundly condemns. Socialism, like capitalism, is a variegated phenomenon that contains numerous individual forms. At the broadest level, socialism denotes any attempt to invest public moneys on behalf of the public interest.

Public transportation, public highways, public libraries, public schools, public police, sanitation, and fire departments are all examples of “socialistic” interventions by the state, designed to shore up the inadequacies of the market. So are worker's compensation, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - all popular programs that American politicians on the right and left cut (or even criticize) only at their peril.

Stalin's Czarist tyranny or Mao's peasant commune are extreme forms of socialism that, in reality, have little or nothing to do with its more beneficent forms (as a quick comparison of Maoist China and socialist Sweden will confirm). To blame “socialism” as a whole for the excesses of Mao or Stalin, as Mr. Sowell does, is tantamount to blaming capitalism for Ted Bundy - a registered Republican, I might add.

MICHAEL BRYANT

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice University of Toledo

Thomas Sowell's recent column detailing the many failures of socialist governments makes a valid point: Although socialism sounds good on paper, in practice, it has often had disastrous consequences.

However, Mr. Sowell's argument is ultimately weakened by his failure to cite examples of successful socialist governments.

For example, the socialist governments of Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden regularly match or exceed the United States in terms of important quality of life factors such as life expectancy, child mortality, and literacy.

Mr. Sowell is correct when he asserts that socialist governments do not always live up to their utopian ideals; he is quite wrong, however, when he implies that socialism can never succeed. Socialism comes in many forms, a point evidently lost on Mr. Sowell.

The failures of socialism that he cites are examples of socialist communist governments; socialist democracies, like those in Scandinavia, on the other hand, have been largely successful.

Perhaps someone should point out to him that even the United States has long had many socialist features, such as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, antitrust laws, environmental regulations, and public education. Would Mr. Sowell like to argue that the U.S. government has been a failure?

STEPHEN CHRISTMAN

Cloister Court

The four school board members who voted to go forward with the Sylvania Schools bus facilities project voted before listening to the committees that spent hours meeting to determine if these plans were safe and if it was the best place to put this facility.

They put together these committees for what? To waste our time and to pretend they really cared what the community thought? What a slap in the face to all the people who put forth their time and energy. Why bother hearing their report after they have already voted? Why could they not have waited two more weeks to make their decision after they have all the information? They could have asked the contractors to wait two more weeks with their bids to give them time to make an intelligent decision. If they are that concerned about two more weeks they could pull their bid or change the bid by the determined date. It happens in corporate America every day.

The board members have lost a lot of respect from the people who spent hours on these committees. They really told us what our input means to them. Thank you to the one board member who at least listened and had enough respect and consideration to want to hear what we had to say before voting.

DIANA MOELLER

Sylvania

How would you like to be able to continue to abbreviate the word “Christmas” but without taking the “Christ” out of Christmas?

For decades now, a lot of people have been using “x-mas” on their greeting cards and letters around Christmas time. And in more recent years in their e-mail. But by simply replacing the X with a cross, you put Jesus back into Christmas. After all, Christmas and all its wonder and all its joy would not exist if it weren't for Christ. So, if you are one of those grateful people who want to at least acknowledge the significance of this wonderful Christmas season, then why not abbreviate Christmas when you need to with t-mas?

Hope you have a joyful and glorious Christmas.

DONALD DeLISLE

Dundee, Mich.

I am a student at Central Catholic High School. I recently saw your editorial cartoon on students who don't know where Iraq is located. I know where it's located. And I support military troops like my own brother who may need to defend our country there.

Thank you for providing us with a newspaper each day. It helps me know what's going on in the world today.

TIM BENEDICT

Southover Road



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