Library rape raised question: Is nowhere safe?On March 20...


April 21, 1996

Library rape raised question: Is nowhere safe?

On March 20, two young sisters were kidnapped from a bench outside a library in Howard County. The older girl was raped while the younger girl was forced to watch. A week later, the police arrested a suspect in the case, Timothy Chase, and charged him with first-degree rape, robbery, theft, assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment. He is currently being held at the Howard County Detention Center pending his trial.

This event signals a tragic realization of the crime in Howard County. The two girls were sitting outside a library when they were approached. After this story hit the media, parents all over town were checking on their children and warning them of the situation. People are usually scared when they go into the city. Now, it's places like the library they have to be worried about.

Is nowhere safe from crime these days?

The library was always considered a safe haven. Parents didn't have to worry about sending their kids there to catch up on studying. Now they have to send a bodyguard to make sure their child is safe. Pretty soon, kids won't be able to go to the park to enjoy a beautiful spring day, or even walk to a friend's house for fear they might get picked up along the way.

County Executive Charles Ecker has already responded to the situation by offering more police to patrol the streets, especially around closing hours. Everyone needs to take an active role in reducing crime on the street.

Suzanne Mazzone

Ellicott City

'Gag rule' proved council's insensitivity

The article, "Information policy under scrutiny," by Dan Morse in the April 7 edition of The Sun for Howard and the recent attempt by the members of the Columbia Council to expand that policy to include a "gag rule" for Columbia Council representatives are indicators of why new blood is needed on the council.

Individuals often become insensitive to the will of the people that they are elected to represent when they serve for years without challenge.

In Columbia, this is how the Columbia Council is elected. Seldom challenged, year after year the same individuals run with no competition. Without competition, there can be no dialogue and the concerns of the residents will not be discussed.

An example of this need for dialogue is the fact that every few years the subject of the incorporation of Columbia is raised. That this issue continues to arise indicates that there is a level of dissatisfaction among some of the residents with the direction of the Columbia Council. A stagnant council that is continuously not challenged at the ballot box will only add to this dissatisfaction.

Wanda Hurt


Reader reflects on Kevin Thomas

It made me very sad to read about the death of Kevin Thomas, the editorial writer for The Sun in Howard.

I liked Mr. Thomas the first time I met him. My first encounter was in April 1994 when I ran for Columbia Council. Mr. Thomas called me to find out what I thought about the different issues. We talked, he thanked me and told me he enjoyed talking to me.

I was really pleased to be endorsed in the Columbia Council race. The next time I saw him was at Howard Community College in the fall of 1994. He was one of the journalists who asked the different candidates questions. I introduced myself and thanked him for endorsing me.

The next time I met him was at a debate for the school board candidates. This time he was there unofficially, with his wife. He introduced us and we talked. The last time I saw him was a year ago.

I had gone to the Howard County office of The Sun to deliver a letter. There was a man, who looked familiar, sitting in the reception area. When I told the receptionist my name, the man said, "I thought that was you." Mr. Thomas and I talked about 30 minutes. I don't remember what we talked about, but I remember that I liked him and enjoyed talking with him. I expected to see him again.

Mr. Thomas' death made me very sad. I cannot feel the same loss that his family and close friends feel, but I know that I have lost someone I liked. I will also miss reading his editorials. I thought they were always well-written and thoughtful. He could always get to the heart of the matter. Most of the time I agreed with him, but even when I did not, he made me think about the issue and about the other side.

I am sorry I will not get to see Mr. Thomas again. However, I am glad that I introduced myself and we got to know each other. It would have been a bigger loss if we had not.

Laura Waters


How to help cut medical costs

We seniors are running out of time to keep Medicare coverage as it now exists. Each day, as Medicare recipients are being encouraged to turn to health maintenance organizations (HMOs), there are new reports about these profit-guided corporations whose "bottom line" allows patients to fall through the cracks, while their chief executive officers get millions in salary and bonus checks for reducing costs and increasing profits.

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