Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Heartbreaking Juxtapositions

Posted by bsflag2007 on Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday Morning we watched the snow fall – and the names of the troops killed in Iraq scroll down the tube. I make a point of reading the names and ages, a masochistic personal exercise. This week there were several 18 and 19 year olds.

Around the same time these “babies” were losing their lives – some other 18 year olds and their buddies were busy beating each others brains out with baseball bats in the Mount Hebron High School parking lot.

Howard teen charged in fatal baseball-bat beating
18-year-old allegedly involved in fight at Mt. Hebron High School (11:34 AM)

Thinking about this heartbreaking juxtaposition reminded me of a little family lore. My mother was called to school to speak to the “vice” principal about something stupid involving senior week and toilet paper . She was finding both the vice principal and the conversation very tedious – particularly when he started ranting about how “when he was in high school he had to worry about going to war” and how spoiled American kids were “nowadays” .

As the story goes….. she quoted Thomas Paine:

“If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

When he didn’t understand her point she clarifed with her own little rant about “that’s why their fathers went to war … so they could worry about throwing toilet paper in the trees….” and then something about a bumbling idiot.

Thinking about this 30 year old exchange – I mentally drifted to some other “the more things change the more they stay the same” quotes and quips that seem as relevant today as they did when they were first uttered.

Hermann Goering:

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. quote verified at

or: Theodore Roosevelt:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. (1918)

Cindy Vaillancourt


4 Responses to “Heartbreaking Juxtapositions”

  1. jim adams said

    How do we as a country, continue to come up with the right people at the right time.

    Lucky u.s.

  2. bsflag2007 said

    As more information comes out about the “kids” involved in the brawl this weekend – there are a couple of “no kidding” notes, and a couple of “you’ve got to be kidding” items.
    Which is which?
    One kid was a recent high school dropout.
    One kid was a champion athlete.
    Put your pre-conceived notions out of your head …. the champion athlete is the killer (alleged) and the dropout was the victim.
    this whole thing is a real head-shaker.

    though my recurring complaint that “kids nowadays” are poor advance planners goes out the window as well — as this “rumble” was apparently planned in advance and executed on schedule.

    cindy v.

  3. Andy Dufresne said

    This is an abberation, considering all the wonderful kids growing up in Howard County. Compared to DC, PG and Baltimore, Howard is a paradise.

    That said, this county must take a very hard approach to these kids, all of those involved in this armed riot. The only way to avoid becoming a PG County is to come down extraordinarily hard on all involved.

  4. bsflag2007 said

    This event is really beyond my understanding — though many questions keep popping into my head – like….

    why would a kid drop out of high school in December of his senior year? What could have been sooo bad that he couldn’t be saved for four or five more months out of 13 years invested – particularly if it is true he had a “plan” to get a GED and join the navy?

    Cindy V.

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