Peace, POWs, dumb crooks

Dan Rodricks

March 04, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

To those who needed the lopsided victory in the Persian Gulf to make themselves feel good about their nation, and to those who spoke out against the war and were made to feel disloyal, I pass along a thought from Thomas Merton: "Perhaps peace is not, after all, something you work for, or fight for. . . . Peace is something you have or do not have. If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world. I am not speaking of quietism, because quietism is not peace, nor is it the way to peace."

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Estimates on Iraqi soldiers taken prisoner during the war range from 80,000 to 100,000. . . . Nearly 50 years ago, many German soldiers and airmen taken prisoner by the allies in Europe spent the duration of World War II in the United States. In fact, there were nearly 48,000 German POWs held in prison camps in Maryland. Hard-pressed to find laborers during the war, Maryland farmers pleaded for the Germans and, before 1945, hundreds of them were put to work -- some on farms, others at canneries, timber camps and orchards. After the war, several Germans wrote back to their American hosts. One, who had picked apples in Western Maryland, wrote in 1946 that he was "longing for beautiful Maryland."

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Guilty But Mostly Stupid . . . This addition to the True Crime Comedy Files comes from Lincoln, Neb. A bank teller named Tim Holt lost his driver's license a while back. A young man named Freedom Hunter got his hands on it and decided to put it to use. He wrote a check, payable to Tim Holt, for $275. He drove to a bank. He pulled up to the drive-in window. He passed the check to the teller. He used Tim Holt's driver's license as an ID. Guess who the teller was? Tim Holt. Freedom Hunter, guilty but mostly stupid (or not very lucky), got six months in jail for the forgery. Right about now I hear the voice of Curly Howard: "I'm a victim of coicumstance!"

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Dominic "Crowbar" Carozza, charged with murder and on trial in Baltimore Circuit Court, threw many darts at Elizabeth Ritter, assistant state's attorney, during cross-examination last Thursday afternoon. As reported earlier, Carozza was testy, defiant and sarcastic. The best of Carozza's retorts and declarations were chronicled in this space the next day. Looking back through the reporter's notebook, one finds countless other choice comments. At one point, for instance, the defendant was asked how it was that he frequently lent money to people. "I'm easy," Carozza said. Ritter asked if Carozza had a lot of money. Oh, he could loan a grand here, a grand there. "I could loan you five thousand right now," Carozza told Ritter. "But you have to sign a note. I don't trust you."

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Worthy of mention: The chicken souvlaki at Samos restaurant, Oldham St.; the fennel sausage at Apicella's grocery in Little Italy; the photographs of Mary Skeen and sculptures of Nicole Fall in the University Union Gallery at Towson State; "Soldier Stories, Omaha Beach to V-E Day," a video produced by Steve Fine of Baltimore and a solid oral history of the D-Day invasion and the liberation of France by the men who survived, veterans of the 29th Division from Maryland and Virginia. (By the way, the 30-minute documentary airs tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. on Maryland Public Television.)

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Maryland's first couple had a rough couple of days last week -- Hilda Mae Snoops complaining that her efforts to redecorate the Governor's Mansion are unappreciated (maybe even despised), and William Donald Schaefer having his staff budget axed by $200,000. Ooh, did that get the governor's blood boiling. He stomped into the offending subcommittee's chamber, where the chairman, Del. Tim Maloney, immediately spotted him. Maloney followed Schaefer into a hallway, where Schaefer said something crass. The two then proceeded into Maloney's office. The door slammed. What was said has not been reported in family newspapers. However, State House sources say that, to press his point on Maloney, Schaefer pointed toward the gubernatorial derrier. Get the picture? Not pretty, is it? . . . As for Hilda Mae Snoops, if she wants to be better appreciated, if she wants to do something meaningful, maybe she should Do A Barbara (as in Bush) and pick a low-profile cause (say, foster care for abandoned children with AIDS) and throw her support behind it. It was silly to bring up the mansion redecoration again. That controversy has been dead for nearly two years. Leave it alone, Hilda! We love the drapes!

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