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August 26, 2014

Night-sticks and Recalcitrant People

Harry M. Covert

A self-imposed muzzle prevents any dedicated name-calling, fact-based or otherwise until after next Monday. Then it may become open combat regarding county-wide races for the executive, council members and the other competitions.


Of course, working people will be the guests of honor throughout the land. Most will probably stay at home, enjoying some grilling work, watching so-called television experts blubbering and wishing for vacations on the public dole.


Here in Frederick County, dipping into a bag of clichés perhaps, axes are being honed, aces are getting up sleeves, loose cannons bobbing around and, against all odds, our political season moves into high gear.


Don’t forget, clichés can be the bane of those in the writing business, but everybody likes them whether they admit it or not.


A sarcastic email did arrive for attention here, and unsigned of course: “Why are you always backing up the cops? Don’t you have anything better to whine on about?”


Normally, I wouldn’t give a “hoot in hell” about such an inquiry. Such a question does often arrive from a reader who has had an unpleasant experience from a gun-toting, badge-wearing, ticket-writing person. I’ve written that previously.


In light of recent events where public safety is seriously threatened, it is important again to point out that a veteran and distinguished Frederick “officer of the law” had to shoot a motorist trying to run him down; that shootings and robberies continue throughout the Free State; and many other shootings by illegal gun users are endured throughout the Land in Middle America and California.


While “us good folks” are filling our plates and enjoying the “fruits of our labors,” perhaps a concentration on why there is a need for law and order here in the middle of the green farmlands, nice communities and men and women to patrol all of the streets. Actually, there is no need to spell it out here because almost 100 percent of every resident and visitor, including any “illegal” persons,” knows the difference between right and wrong. There’s no sin in pointing this out. Even preachers know about law-breaking. Their sermons may be about things other than sins, weaknesses and legal violations, but the ecclesiastical representatives should call attention to such conduct.


Miscreants at all levels keep courtrooms busy. Locally, there’s a two-man race for the Circuit Court judgeship. The competitors include a distinguished white-haired incumbent judge, the other a well-known politician. We can talk further about this after the Labor Day festivities.


In answer to the original question, the general public is protected by sworn officers of the law as set in stone by the Maryland General Assembly and the federal code.


A native born Marylander had this to say quite a few years ago:


“Policemen are not given night-sticks for ornament. They are given them for the purpose of cracking the skulls of the recalcitrant plain people, Democrats and Republicans alike. When they execute that high duty, they are palpably within their rights.”


Such comment did not come from William Donald Schaffer. Nor senators of past times: Beall, Tydings, Sarbanes and certainly not Mikulski, Peter Angelos, Francis Scott Key, Police Chief Thomas Ledwell or Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.


The words came from Henry Louis Mencken, sage of Baltimore, in “The Nature of Liberty.” HLM added, “Public opinion is very realistic.” Such comments were written circa 1922.


Have times changed?


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