Category Archive 'Maryland'

10 Nov 2018

Crotchety Old White Lives Matter

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This Baltimore Sun story shows how liberal “protective order” laws can give the relative you argue politics with during Thanksgiving Dinner the power to remove your constitutional rights and get you killed by the police.

Two Anne Arundel County police officers serving one of Maryland’s new “red flag” protective orders to remove guns from a house killed a Ferndale man after he refused to give up his gun and a struggle ensued early Monday morning, police said.

The subject of the protective order, Gary J. Willis, 60, answered his door in the 100 block of Linwood Ave. at 5:17 a.m. with a gun in his hand, Anne Arundel County police said. He initially put the gun down next to the door, but “became irate” when officers began to serve him with the order, opened the door and picked up the gun again, police said.

“A fight ensued over the gun,” said Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a police spokeswoman.

One of the officers struggled to take the gun from Willis, and during the struggle the gun fired but did not strike anyone, police said. At that point, the other officer fatally shot Willis, police said.

Neither officer was injured, police said, and neither of their names was released.

Davis said she did not know whether anyone else was in the home at the time, and she did not know who had sought the protective order against Willis.

The “red flag” protective orders are officially known as emergency risk protection orders, and may be sought by family members, police or others to temporarily prohibit people’s access to firearms when they show signs that they are a danger to themselves or others. The law took effect Oct. 1.

A spokeswoman for the Maryland Judiciary denied a request to see any and all requests for protection orders made at the residence on Linwood Avenue, citing the law, which states that anything related to an order is confidential unless the court rules otherwise.

Police had come to the house Sunday night to speak with Willis, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, said Michele Willis, who was on the scene Monday morning and identified herself as his niece. She attributed that visit by police to “family being family” but declined to elaborate.

She said one of her aunts requested the protective order to temporarily remove Willis’ guns.

Michele Willis said she had grown up in the house and had been there Sunday night to move out her son, who had been helping to care for her grandmother.

Her uncle, Gary Willis, lived in an apartment above the garage; she said other family members, including her grandmother, another uncle, two aunts and Gary Willis’ girlfriend were also at the home Sunday night.

She said her uncle “likes to speak his mind,” but she described him as harmless.

“I’m just dumbfounded right now,” she said. “My uncle wouldn’t hurt anybody.”


15 Oct 2018

Hagerstown, Maryland 1937

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Visit an older America here.

02 Dec 2016

Beaver Dissatisfied Shopper at Maryland Dollar Store

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Beaver walks into Md. store, finds only artificial Christmas trees, and proceeds to trash it.

In St. Mary’s County, Md., at least one badly behaved beaver is ready for holiday shopping.

The beaver was apprehended at a dollar store in Charlotte Hall, Md., the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, apparently after browsing the selection of artificial Christmas trees and trashing the place.

29 Mar 2015

The Ballad of Holland Island House

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Holland Island was originally settled in the 1600s, taking its name from early colonist Daniel Holland, the original purchaser of the property from the Dorchester County Sheriff. By 1850, the first community of fishing and farming families developed on the island. By 1910, the island had about 360 residents, making it one of the largest inhabited islands in the Chesapeake Bay. The island community had 70 homes, stores and other buildings. It had its own post office, two-room school with two teachers, a church, baseball team, community center, and a doctor. The islanders supported themselves mainly by dredging for oysters, fishing for shad and crabbing. Their fleet of workboats included 41 skipjacks, 10 schooners and 36 bugeyes, some of which were built on the island.

The wind and tide began to seriously erode the west side of the island, where most of the houses were located, in 1914. This forced the inhabitants to move to the mainland. Many disassembled their houses and other structures and took them to the mainland, predominantly Crisfield. Attempts to protect the island by building stone walls were unsuccessful. The last family left the island in 1918, when a tropical storm damaged the island’s church. A few of the former residents continued living on the island during the fishing season until 1922, when the church was moved to Fairmount, Maryland. …

In October 2010, the last remaining house on Holland Island, built in 1888, collapsed.

The land of the island has been subsiding as a result of post-glacial rebound, the return to normal of bulges created by the weight of glaciers elsewhere during the last ice age. This process has caused a major loss of land on the island. Like other Chesapeake Bay islands, Holland Island is primarily made up of clay and silt, not rock. The western ridge of the island is very exposed to waves in the bay, making it prone to erosion as well. The island’s size has been reduced by half, from 160 acres (0.65 km2) in 1915 to 80 acres (0.32 km2) in 2005.

Most of the remaining land on the island is now marsh,[3] and at high tide the island is underwater.

07 Jun 2013

11-Year-Old Suspended For Talking About Guns

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There have been a rash of stories recently about kids getting suspended from school for bringing in toy guns, and even merely for making a drawing of a gun, but this story from WMAL sets some kind of a new record.

The father of a middle schooler in Calvert County, Md. says his 11-year-old son was suspended for 10 days for merely talking about guns on the bus ride home.

Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown says his son, a sixth grader at Northern Middle School in Owings, was talking with friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre when the bus driver hauled him back to school to be questioned by the principal, Darrel Prioleau.

“The principal told me that with what happened at Sandy Hook if you say the word ‘gun’ in my school you are going to get suspended for 10 days,” Henkelman said in an interview with

So what did the boy say? According to his father, he neither threatened nor bullied anyone.

“He said, I wish I had a gun to protect everyone. He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That’s the context of what he said,” Henkelman said. “He wanted to be the hero.”

The boy was questioned by the principal and a sheriff’s deputy, who also wanted to search the family home without a warrant, Henkelman said. “He started asking me questions about if I have firearms, and [the deputy said] he’s going to have to search my house. Search my house? I just wanted to know what happened.”

No search was performed, and the deputy left Henkelman’s home after the father answered questions in a four-page questionnaire issued by the Sheriff’s Office.

More details from GOPUSA.

23 Jun 2012

Billboard on Maryland Eastern Shore

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Bruce Kessler found it just over the border into Worcester County, Maryland from Virginia.

21 Jun 2012

17th Century Forensic Anthropology of Jamestown & St. Mary’s City, Maryland

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The video is associated with a Smithsonian exhibition:

Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Cheasapeake, running currently until January 6, 2013.

02 Apr 2012

Maryland Heat Pulls Batman Over

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

07 Mar 2012

Close Call

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An amazing photo slideshow from photographer Ken Graham of Maryland’s Potomac Hunt.

Getting a photo of the hunted fox is every hunt photographer’s supreme goal. Shots in which hounds are so close to the hunted fox that both appear in the same photo are rare and unusual and represent the ultimate trophy photo. This fox (who ultimately got away) happened to pick a line that took him almost on a collision course with part of the pack, producing sensational once-in-a-lifetime pictures.

08 Aug 2008

Police Outrage in Prince George County, Maryland

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Prince George County, Maryland police violated a warrant they were serving for the questionable arrest of the wife of the mayor of Berwyn Heights by staging a SWAT team raid and carrying out an utterly unnecessary forced entry. Two friendly Labrador retrievers were shot dead, and two respectable people were manhandled and manacled for hours.

Baltimore Sun story.

The training and culture of law enforcement has gone outrageously astray in this country.

Remember the federal officers who came to collect Elian Gonzalez equipped with machine guns, wearing tanker helmets and loaded down with paramilitary gear?

Preposterously excessive force, a systematic kind of cringing cowardice expressed by the mentality that sends paramilitary SWAT teams armed with automatic weapons to kick in doors and make arrests of people who’d come down to the police department if contacted by telephone, the overly-prudential point of view that insists on strip searches and manacles for non-violent middle-class members of the public has become typical of today’s police.

It’s been going on for decades. I can remember marveling in Brookfield, Connecticut, years ago, stopping one evening at a fast food joint and seeing a local cop on his dinner break toting around one of those 9mm Beretta semiautomatics and five, count them, five! extra 15-round magazines on his belt. Has anyone ever actually fired upon a police officer in the 200+ year history of Brookfield? I wondered at the time. And was there currently reason to expect a Zulu impi to come over the hill and attack? Why would a local cop possibly need to be carrying 90 rounds of ammunition? That many cartridges are heavy.

I decided back in the early 1990s to get a Connecticut pistol permit. The process required me to stop by the local Newtown police station to pick up a form. Imagine my surprise, when I found the police barricaded away, inaccessible to the dangerous public of upper middle-class suburban Fairfield County, behind locked doors. One communicated with a secretary in a booth protected by bulletproof glass, passing papers back and forth in one of those sliding bank trays. Obviously, Newtown’s police officers led a life of constant fear.

I grew up in a family with many members who were working or had worked in law enforcement. The kind of men who became policemen in the old days were not afraid of criminals. They knew that they were tough and they knew just how uncommon men like themselves were. They knew most criminals are cowardly scum, and incompetent screw-ups to boot. The human being who will initiate violence is rare, and the human being who will initiate violence against a man in authority recognizably skilled at violence is even rarer.

The kind of men who used to become police officers were adequately armed with a .38 revolver or even just a nightstick. My father, working as a Marine Corps MP, and armed only with a nightstick, placed a dozen men under arrest and marched them off to the brig. He told them he knew perfectly well there were enough to them to overcome him, but he promised that he’d kill the first one or two who tried. They submitted to arrest.

The Texas Rangers used to boast of a necessary ratio of “one riot, one Ranger.” And the Pennsylvania State Police long had the same policy of sending a single State Trooper to suppress a civil disturbance or quell a mob.

Today, they send jack-booted Storm Troopers armed with machine guns to bring in 8 year olds.

Contemporary law enforcement culture is a disgrace and a genuine public hazard and it needs to change. They should dissolve every single SWAT team, get rid of every single item of paramilitary equipage, and –of course– end drug prohibition and the accompanying crime epidemic providing most of the excuse for the militarization of US law enforcement.

09 Jun 2008

Montgomery County Considers Putting Homeless Family into $2.5 Million House

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Johns Hopkins Professor Phyllis Piotrow wanted to sell her brick five-bedroom house next to Hillmead Park in Bethesda, Maryland and retire to New Hampshire.

She had been hoping to sell her house with 1.3 acre lot to a developer, but Montgomery County fought development plans until the real estate market softened, then cajoled Piotrow into selling the property for a below-market price of $2.5 million to be incorporated into the neighboring park.

Then, somebody had an idea, as Marc Fisher reports in the Washington Post, 6/8:

The parks commission had planned to demolish Piotrow’s 1930s house, at a cost of about $65,000. Instead, staffers at Montgomery’s housing agency wondered, why not spend about twice the cost of demolition to renovate Piotrow’s five-bedroom place and use it to house a large (mother with 13 children -DZ) homeless family? After all, finding housing for large families is notoriously difficult, the county already shells out about $100,000 a year to keep a homeless family in a motel and at least six other houses in county parks are being used in similar fashion.

You will not be shocked to learn that the good people of Montgomery County thought this a very poor idea.


The same Marc Fisher recycles the same story into a blog editorial with a title which wonders indignantly: Is This House Too Nice for the Homeless?

(I mean, really, what kind of person could possibly think that?)


Residents of the Hillmead neighborhhood evidently could, and did, think un-PC, uncharitable thoughts.

Washington Post 3/23:

As the Montgomery County Council put the finishing touches on a $2.5 million plan to buy more land for a Bethesda park, council member Nancy Floreen lobbed what has turned out to be the equivalent of a neighborhood cluster bomb:

Why not house a needy family in the 1930s-era home on the property in the Hillmead neighborhood and expand the park at the same time? …

Residents of Hillmead, a leafy community about three miles from downtown Bethesda with small Cape Cods and large McMansions selling for more than $1 million, say they only recently learned of the county’s plans and think officials did a poor job of keeping them informed. …

The Hillmead residents insist that their opposition does not stem from antipathy to poor people. Those leading the fight say it’s a debate about how the county chooses to spend its $4 billion budget in tough economic times, and about due process for communities. …

“This really isn’t about having a homeless family living in a house that is bigger than probably 90 percent of the houses in the neighborhood,” said Brett Tularco, a developer who lives in the neighborhood and has offered to tear down the house to save the county the expense. “Our kids are going to school in trailers and then this homeless family would be living in a $3 million estate. That money could have been spent on housing tons of people instead of one family.”

He said he is also worried about public safety if the homeless family moves on and the county then uses the house to shelter mentally ill residents or drug abusers.

“That really isn’t who we want our kids playing next to,” he said.


Councilmember Nancy Floreen’s website

10 Apr 2007

Tilting at the Ring

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73-year-old Leon Enfield in action

No one knows for sure if the sport of tilting at the ring, a form of jousting emphasizing accurate placement of the lancepoint, survived in Maryland and Virginia from the times of the first settlements as a relic of the Middle Ages, or whether the sport was revived in the 19th century through the influence of the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott.

The sport was significantly revived after WWII. In 1950, a Maryland State Association was organized, and in 1962 the Maryland General Assembly designated jousting as Maryland’s state sport.

Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine published an admiring article.

Maryland Jousting Tournament Association

Pennsylvania Jousting Club

National Jousting Association

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