A Schaeferean Drama: Act IV

August 03, 1998|By Laura Lippman

This week in Schaefer history, Aug. 2-Aug. 8, 1992:

Today, instead of our usual recap of hilarious hijinks in the comptroller's race, we bring you a very personal story from the annals of "This Week in Schaefer History," in the form of a three-act play, which we call, in the interest of full disclosure: "The Governor, a Gun and My Husband's Pants."

Act I: Six years ago today, then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer travels to Princeton, N.J., to do what most people do when they go to that bucolic exurb -- watch a New Jersey state trooper use three semiautomatic weapons to blow away targets filled with red-dyed water. Schaefer vows to reintroduce legislation to ban certain automatic weapons in Maryland, where the death rate among targets filled with red-dyed water is alarmingly high.

Act II: It is now March 1993. The ban has not been passed, and the governor is frustrated. He broods and broods, until his brain dries up! (Oops, scratch that, it's a line from "Man of LaMancha.") He calls a news conference. John Roll, an Associated Press reporter, smiles during the governor's presentation. One could even say smirks. So the governor picks up one of the semiautomatic weapons, specifically a S.W.D. Cobray Mac 11, aims it at him and says:

"Some of you have never had [a gun] in your face. I bet you wouldn't be laughing. I bet you wouldn't be smiling. I don't know what would happen to your pants, but I can imagine."

A photo of the gun-toting guv appears nationwide, along with his quote, although the New York Times drops the pants.

Act III: August 1995. The governor is no longer the governor, and John Roll is no longer a reporter. Roll is robbed at gunpoint at a Royal Farms store in North Baltimore. The national media inexplicably ignore this event. Roll's pants come through with flying colors. It is never established whether Schaefer has an alibi.

Pub Date: 8/03/98

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