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April 3, 2014

Fiddlin’ Around in Annapolis

Harry M. Covert

How in the world can a man retire these days with all of the shenanigans popping up in all quarters of Frederick, Annapolis, the federal city and Ashburn, Va.? The news libido keeps pumping. There is no rest for scribes of yore.


Paul Harvey, the radio master, left listeners in the lurch to the dismay of society in general and particular. He didn’t intend to, of course, but complete maturation took over.


He won’t mind now. He did teach his vast audience to know about potpourri, not pronounced pot as in hot, puree. It’s a good word and appropriate. So, here is a poh-poo-ree or Poh-poo-ree as culled for this day.


Most all teachers have taught their “young-uns” that around 58 AD, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus took to his instrument, supposedly a violin, and played it while Rome burned. I guess history is true on this. This is also a reminder that the Maryland legislators continue to fiddle around with the innocuous.


The big debate this week has been whether an elected sheriff should have a pay raise from $100,000 to $125,000. In the Frederick jurisdiction the office of sheriff not only operates the jail for the county and city and provides courtroom security, but also polices the entire area from speeders, drug dealers, school threats, assaults both domestic, murders and otherwise, and all other criminal activities.


Considering the duties of a sheriff, it is not a minor league position. It ranks up there in importance with municipal police departments everywhere, State Police, Maryland’s marine resources agents, and, believe it or not, federal agencies.


A Prince George’s County senator has the nerve to vote against increasing the sheriff’s pay. The political reason, of course, is the local peoples’ choice enforces the laws, not only in the county he serves, but of the state and the nation. By the way, once elected, the sheriff is sworn to do so. It is good to point out the crime rate in Prince George’s County is rather high. In fact, crime is rampant in that jurisdiction where personal assaults, home invasions, murders, frequent bank robberies and all sorts of gang violence are popular activities.


It’s not particularly standard to discuss, but federal police agencies must spend lots of their time in Prince George’s trying to assist the locals and to keep the criminals from spilling over to the District, other Maryland communities and in Virginia. It ain’t easy.


Serious crimes emanate every day and night from Prince George’s and in Baltimore City and county. The bad guys aren’t the least bit bashful. Their activities are fodder for all news agencies. The constant crime is further evidence that good people, the law abiders, the average people, should be able to legally carry concealed weapons, even in vehicles.


It is nice to think that everybody is sweet and nice. Even though some knot head walks into a local bank or convenience store, points a gun, real or not, demanding cash in a robbery is either misunderstood or a mental midget. And, that the teller or clerk must simply rollover and just hope and pray not to be shot, paralyzed or killed. Most victims will be haunted forever.


Remember, it is the victims, not the perpetrators, who are important on these occasions. Society has been conditioned to give way to criminals.


The “Poh-poo-ree” continues for news consumers, sports fans and gangbusters, those men and women who must try and control the gangs, whether they are Salvadorans, Bloods or good-ole-boys or whomever. It should be noted these mobs don’t worry about concealed carry laws. They are well armed with knives of all sorts and revolvers, automatics, sawed-off shotguns and other dangerous emoluments.


One of the most difficult units of law enforcement is those probing gangs and gang violence. The story breaks that a Philadelphia football team releases a star running back, alleging gang ties. A Baltimore pro football star indicted for assault on his girlfriend (now wife), dragging her by the hair out of an Atlantic City gambling mecca.


Of course, the Washington football team is a misnomer. It headquarters in Ashburn, VA, and plays in Maryland.


But, the owner has more money than anybody. Despite the advance warning, including from federal officials, Mr. Moneybags doesn’t care about any gang talk, has amnesia about a $100,000 throwaway a few years ago on a Haynesworth, and takes on more trouble.


The day will probably arrive when the 5- and 6 o’clock news will have a report that Fairfax County magistrates have issued a criminal warrant. Hope it doesn’t happen, but talk of role models is out of the question. Fans won’t care as long as the Virginia-Maryland team wins.


At Baltimore’s football stadium, fans don’t care a bit about player conduct outside of game statistics.


Think about the gang fighters. They are busy, their nets will be full. While the “good” people in Annapolis quibble, Frederick County’s chief law enforcement officer, chosen by the public, will go on about the business.


Nero seems still to be fiddling.


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