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August 13, 2015

Boondoggle for Good Citizens

Harry M. Covert

The current summer of mental and physical relaxation seems to be slipping beyond reality. Events all over the place have overtaken fun and games. We can admit all exploding news in every platform is astonishing, exciting and a desire for more.

Attention is still on the national level at police shootings around the country. The modern rage is to ignore facts that victims, mostly minorities, were vandalizing, stealing and robbing people and stores.

In Frederick the men and women in brown and black uniforms have been going on about their duties and have found bond jumpers, grabbed public nuisances, even arrested others in and around downtown assaulting and mugging and using their sales acumen of illicit drugs.

How about the local Frederick County fellows making their own illegal assault weapons with legal parts and attempting to sell them? Let’s admit it, clever entrepreneurs.

No one can deny the present societal times are quite different of days or yore. Baltimore’s murders are well over 200 just for this year and the shooting of so9 many others have resulted in serious wounds, but not deaths. There are lots of problems and they are not new.

The Sage of Baltimore described the current society failings this way a century ago:

“Every time an officer of the constabulary, in the execution of his just and awful powers under American law, produces a compound fracture of the occiput of some citizen in his custody, with hemorrhage, shock, coma and death, there comes a feeble, falsetto protest from specialists in human liberty.” (Note: for public school graduates, occiput is the back of the head).

The Sage you ask? H. L. Mencken from “The Nature of Liberty,” his “Prejudices Third Series.” He writes: “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.”

Everyone has loved Sgt. Joe Friday from the radio and television cop show Dragnet. He would ask, “Just give us the facts Madam. Just give us the facts.”

I was reminded of this dialogue when Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner’s press officer had the unenviable task of saying she “trimmed nearly $45,000 annually” through her actions.

Columns from local publications claimed “new positions” in the Office of County Executive and the hiring of three division directors have added substantially to the Frederick County Government’s payroll.

Using some “covert” and “overt” tactics, there’s no doubt newspapers – the press – have struck again, causing much angst and red faces among the leaders at Winchester Hall. Obviously the charter form of government has become a boondoggle for the good citizens. Such government leaving the commissioners’ form continues to confound and concern everyone.

The increased salaries given by Her Worship are wonderful for the recipients and devastating to taxpayers. One “double dipper” has received $100,000 in her roles as chief administrator to the administrator.

It has been suggested that all of the recent hires and appointments are “political paybacks.” It would have been nice to be on that list. Information officers are well over the century mark pay scales, as are the fire chief, and the liaison to the school board. It’s sickening to mention others at this point.

Isn’t it entertaining and interesting when politicos don’t even wince when trying to convince constituents of nebulous facts and figures? They are indeed Pinocchios.

Oh, my. The national “stretcher-ers” seem to have been caught dead by citizens. There is a bombastic character and then a sweet and nice campaigner who won’t kick off intruders.

On the local level it won’t be surprising if ground bubbling starts soon. Unfortunately the alleged “political experts” don’t know how to read omens or tea leaves (not the tea-party types). It will come though and hopefully the populist movement won’t be too late.

Ever hear the old saw, “an honest politician is one when he’s bought, stays bought?”

Quite frankly, law enforcement isn’t the problem. Lawlessness is the problem.

And, the public is at the mercy of leaders who like to play mind games, to fool the innocent and trusting public and pulling our legs with such mumbo-jumbo of the meaning of “is.”

Maybe there is some room for “citizen arrests” since there is no recall possibility.


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