And Hancock is not alone. Many municipalities have abandoned official Halloween events in favor of less organized neighborhood observances as a protection.
On a night that is supposed to be fun, it is truly a shame that municipal officials are being scared not by masquerading children celebrating community, but about being sued.
However, according to The Associated Press story, even the lack of official sanctioning apparently does not protect the town. The past president of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association is quoted as saying: "It's ridiculous for a municipality to think their obligations will change by attempting to ignore reality. Halloween is there."
WMCALA believes that message, and the implied threat, is what's truly frightening. No entity should be required to anticipate every possible risk.
We agree Halloween is there, but short of blockading the town, officials in Hancock, or any other community for that matter, should not have to live in fear that they will be held responsible for every possible contingency stemming from the voluntary actions of others.
The threat of being sued affects the willingness of governments to provide recreational opportunities already, it drives up taxes and prices of goods and services.
Western Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WMCALA), is a grassroots, nonprofit, non-partisan legal watchdog organization dedicated to educating the public about frivolous lawsuits and excessive awards.
It's only a matter of time, it seems, before Halloween succumbs to the grim reaper of lawsuit abuse. The fact of the matter is we'd all be better off if frivolous lawsuits and their threat would R.I.P.
Can't they see wrestling is fake?
To the editor:
I often wonder what would be the assessment and total measure of the intelligence of those people who attend the so called wrestling matches on TV.
How fake does it have to be to stimulate their rationale? What is absent from the minds of those people that they are so inattentive to common sense? Can't those people exercise their ability to reason?
Don't they have the intellect to interpret from a rational standpoint? They get so vigorously enthusiastic over the dumbed down performances that they put themselves on the level of lunacy.
What is the logical basis for the attitude for those people?
Arthur R. Keifer
For the record
To the editor:
I would like to clarify a statement in the article entitled "Morgan gains pair of doctors" on Oct. 21, 1997. It stated that I was the only licensed pediatrician in Morgan County, but I do have another pediatric colleague in this county.
Dr. Donald Strauss is an experienced, licensed pediatrician who practices in Berkeley Springs and has consulting privileges at War Memorial Hospital.
Pam Quarantillo, M.D.
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Attention, World War II vets
To the editor:
I would like to bring to your attention Florida State University's Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. As the Institute's Director I have undertaken a project entitled "To Preserve a Legacy."
With the aging of World War II veterans I and others are deeply concerned about the loss of these men's and women's insights into that "Good War." In particular, as I am sure you already know, it is all too common to have these brave veterans' memorabilia either discarded or hidden away where no one can use it. Even in the few instances where letters, diaries, and the like are donated to a local institution, it is all too likely that they go from the veteran's attic to the institution's basement, never to see the light of day again.
Here at Florida State University we have set up the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to do research and teaching based on the average person's experiences in World War II.