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August 8, 2016

Quiet Thurmont in the News

Harry M. Covert

The news cycle enjoyed these days is wonderful. Other than being worn out in this startling Information Age, copycats come to the fore with dangerous acts.


It is rather difficult to imagine a pipe bomb explosion in beautiful and quaint Thurmont, Maryland. It's so.


As bulletins from all agencies blinked one after the other, thoughts of terrorism struck. A reasonable reaction in light of the nearness of Camp David up Route 15 and not far from Emmitsburg. All law enforcement agencies were instantly on alert, thankfully for residents.


Reports of the incident spread like wildfire, even on the networks. A juicy story. Officials in Thurmont deserve credit for curbing any possible panic, which can be understood.


When the ATF team joined the problem everybody could relax a bit. Why? The federal Alcoholic Tobacco and Firearms agency is the best in the world. The investigators are professionals; they know how to work with local police agencies and enhance the search. Remember, the explosion occurred early morning last Wednesday. Neither of the agencies lollygagged or wasted time. By Saturday they had their man, a 22-year-old.


The story goes the alleged perpetrator had a traffic problem with a police officer sometime back. Probably wanted to get even somehow.


No doubt Thurmont's detectives had their procedures instantly underway and – along with ATF – traced the facts. Voila! Success. Maybe the $5,000 reward had an impact, but a solid guess, it was plain old superb police work.


With great relief, no one, especially the targeted officer, was hurt in any way. There was some incidental damage to the police cruiser and residence.


Certainly in these days of international and national travail with fatal attacks by machetes, bombs, knives and guns for hateful and ignorant reasons, it's no secret the public gets edgy when unexpected fireworks, gun shots, and armed robberies are reported. This is serious business, not political, and not to be taken lightly.


When copycats or mimickers see others hurt, killed or maimed, everybody must keep their eyes and ears open. This doesn't mean make personal safety an all-day scare. It's not good to know what the protective services are doing all the time. They know what's happening; they have good intelligence and are always watching. The community at large can be secure knowing it is safe. There are no mystics, palm readers, psychics, second sighters, or seers who can tell when the next bit of terrorism will happen.


Usually and as is well known by police and sheriffs, criminals – rookies and veterans – generally can be found back to friendly confines 99 percent of the time, unless they want to confront authorities. Not recommended.


Whatever the reason for the Thurmont pipe bombing, some lives will be changed forever and not for the better. In all probability some emotional issues played a major role in the young man charged. If convicted he faces a long prison term. Don't confuse this with local detention/jail time. Prison offers mental health treatment. Prisoners can improve, but becoming institutionalized is the life changer.


Imagine the suffering victims’ face if they survive. No, let's not at this moment. Instead think about the incredible good work of those whose job it is to do the policing job day in and day out.


When it's simple and you are stopped for speeding or running a red light, don't act like you are put upon. Place your hands on the steering wheel, and thank the officer with "You are right." That shocking retort will totally dumbfound and confound him or her so much they will have hand tremors while writing a ticket.


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