Several incidents show danger of BB and pellet guns in town WEST COLUMBIA

NEIGHBORS

January 06, 1993|By LARRY STURGILL

With the New Year comes new hope and new beginnings Unfortunately, old problems didn't suddenly disappear at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. One of those old problems is the continuing incidents involving BB and pellet guns. Many West Columbia neighbors are concerned and there is genuine fear that eventually a serious injury will occur.

Past incidents include:

* A teen-age girl shot in the leg with a BB gun while walking from the The Mall to her home in Running Brook.

* Windows of several parked cars shot out by a pellet gun along West Running Brook Road.

* A dog wounded by a pellet gun while tied in the back yard of a house on Ten Mills Road.

* Several ducks at Wilde Lake found dead or wounded after being shot with BB or pellet guns.

Even more frightening is the incident which occurred recently. -- Three teen-agers, ages 13 and 14, were arrested in Harper's Choice while carrying two loaded M-1 Army carbines through an apartment complex. What were these children doing walking around with loaded rifles?

The use of BB and pellet guns in Columbia is illegal. They are dangerous weapons, and their use by children has to be strictly controlled by parents. Although I personally believe we, as a nation, have to do something to control the sale and distribution of firearms, I am not an anti-gun advocate.

In fact, I had a BB gun as a youth, and owned a .22-caliber rifle by the time I was 12 years old. But I lived in a sparsely populated rural area near Marriottsville where the chance of accidentally doing damage was practically nil. I was never allowed to take my BB gun along when I went to visit cousins living in Ellicott City and Catonsville because it was simply too dangerous.

More importantly, my father, who is an avid hunter, taught me to respect weapons and made sure I knew how to use them properly. When I got the .22 rifle, for example, part of the deal was that I take a Junior National Rifle Association course at the National Guard Armory in Ellicott City.

Common sense should tell us the use of any kind of weapon is too dangerous in an area as densely populated as Columbia. In the incidents mentioned above, however, there appears to be purposeful intent to cause injury or damage. This goes beyond a simple failure to use common sense and that has given some residents a reason to worry.

Eventually, someone will be seriously injured, either by design or by accident. Either way, the fault must ultimately fall upon the parents who buy these weapons for their children and then allow their indiscriminate, and illegal, use within our community.

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Congratulations to Wilde Lake resident Kay Armstrong Baker. She recently joined American Properties Inc. as a Realtor member of the company's General Brokerage Division.

Kay is also the current membership chair person for the Howard County Association of Realtors, and in 1991 she received that association's Distinguished Sales Award.

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Writer/philosopher George Santayana looked at paintings and said, "An artist is a dreamer who dreams of the real world." Joshua, my 6-year-old son, smeared finger paint across a piece of paper and said, "This is fun!"

Whether you desire to become a really good artist, or just paint pictures for the pure fun of it, Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village is again offering two of its most popular art courses.

Painting With Watercolors, with local artist and art instructor, Carolyn Hartman, offers watercolor classes designed for all levels of skill. Classes are scheduled to begin today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost for the four-week course is $45. Materials are not included.

Oil Painting classes for all levels, taught by local artist and instructor Gina Somerlock, will begin on Feb. 4, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost of the six-week course is $72. Materials are not included.

Call Carole Black at 730-3987 for registration or additional information on either course.

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Prudes of the world! Let your hair down (finally) and have some real fun! This is a reminder about the Hula and Belly Dancing classes for children, teens and adults which start on Jan. 13, at the Meeting Room in Dorsey's Search. Information: 730-4005.

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If you enjoy bouncing to the beat of a big band, or swirling around the dance floor to the melody of an orchestra, John Taylor's Ballroom Dancing class is just what the doctor ordered.

Columbia's favorite dance instructor is back by popular demand this winter at Slayton House, in Wilde Lake Village. The four-week class begins Jan. 13, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Singles and couples are welcome, and are encouraged to bring along their friends for an hour of ballroom dancing.

The cost of the class is $45 per person.

Information: 730-3987.

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