Letters to the Editor

August 04, 2009

Police did handle Gates incident 'stupidly'

To the editor:

Actually, President Obama is right. The Cambridge police did handle the Gates affair "stupidly."

First, the "nosy neighbor" who called 911 did everything correctly. If she had really been a nosy neighbor, she would already have known that the man renting that house was black. She observed what she thought were two men breaking into a house, and she called 911 to report it. I hope that my neighbors would do the same for me.

She did not identify the men as black. The question of race came from the police dispatcher, and only then did the caller confirm it. The question constitutes racial profiling, but can perhaps be justified on the basis that the responding officer needs to know whom he is looking for.

The responding officer did everything in a reasonable manner, until he asked Professor Gates to step outside the house. That pops up a red flag. Inside the house, Professor Gates is on his own rented property, and "A man's home is his castle." I believe the officer might have been making a conscious effort to strip that right from him, and shows a preliminary intent to arrest him. I'll wager that if the Harvard professor had been former professor Larry Summers, the officer would have handled the matter differently. The officer may be an instructor in racial profiling, but the handling of this incident in my opinion shows that neither he nor the Cambridge police department really understand the problem.


Burr Loomis
Chambersburg, Pa.

Give president's stimulus plan time to grow

To the editor:

In brief, I am getting darn tired at Republican and anti-Obama supporters for not allowing his stimulus package time to mature. Remember that it took six years for this economy to get into the current mess that it's in and it's going to take twice that time to get out, so stop criticizing the president and give his plan time to grow.

Lastly, no one spoke against the $1 trillion that America spent in Iraq, unnecessarily. Lastly, do not charge Obama for the dilemma that was created by the G.W. Bush administration and give his plan time to grow.

Dimitri Hamilton

Hagerstown should enforce noise ordinance

To the editor:

Hagerstown is a lovely place, and I'm enjoying my new home here, but I have never lived anywhere where noise is so happily tolerated, even admired. Not only the mighty rumbling of testosterone trucks, but mosquito-like two-wheeled things with lawn mower engines screaming in pain as they struggle to carry old (heavy-set) guys who are hanging over the edges of these pathetic motorcycle wannabes.

And the "hot stuff" adolescents with cars wearing cool headwear and hormones powered up on blasting noise, pulsating radio racket supplementing the lack of a muffler, thinking to impress ... well, who exactly, do they imagine is favorably impressed?

Could this be related to the local fascination with tractor pulls and monster trucks?

Local police seem reluctant to enforce Hagerstown's noise ordinance. They don't seem to want to bother with these thrill-seeking recreational riders.

Why do they buy into this obnoxious practice? "Boys will be boys?" "Noise will be noise?" Why is it allowed, even when these yahoos are driving their little vehicles like heat-seeking missiles, buzzing and whining like immense and aggressive insects?

The City of Hagerstown's noise ordinance is defined by decibels, but surely, even without a testing device, police must know that these hideous, dentist drilling, ear splitting, screaming, bone rattling, grating, jarring, piercing, wildly annoying rat-a-tat-tat machine-gun-fire noises violate local laws and disturb the peace.

Why don't they do something about it?

Dianne Wiebe

State needs to keep out of our pockets

To the editor:

Patrick Moran, director of AFSCME-MD, has made clear that AFSCME, as would any state employees union, opposes state efforts to balance the budget on the backs of already cash-strapped state employees. In a statement issued following the July 22 meeting of the Board of Public Works, Moran notes that "as the year goes on, we will surely see more attempts to cut pay and benefits, or even lay off state employees. We will continue to stand up for the work we do for the people of Maryland, and fight any cuts."

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