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When hot weather opens Harford's skull [Editorial]

Truman CapoteLiteratureCooking

Truman Capote, who pioneered the literary genre of the nonfiction novel with his landmark work "In Cold Blood," observed the weather's potential for provoking from civilized settlements the most simian of instincts. In his posthumously published "Summer Crossing," Mr. Capote observed: "Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a light bulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing."

Mr. Capote was neither the first, nor the last, to observe that summer weather and certain kinds of anti-social behavior can go hand in hand. Certainly, criminal activity is spawned by an unholy soup of human experience, but, as with soup, adding heat completes the reaction.

Given this, it's not wholly unexpected that a spate of violence in Edgewood coincided with some of the warmest days so far this summer

Also, it isn't unexpected that the violence would have occurred in one of Edgewood's more notorious communities, the collection of houses, townhouses and apartment complexes that surround the ironically named Lake Serene and generally go by the name Edgewater Village.

Police report investigating three incidents of gunplay resulting in injury. Only the luck of the draw prevented the bloody weekend from being deadly.

The hottest days of the year will come in the weeks ahead, and there's reason to be on guard. The violence in Edgewater Village could well be an indication of the potential for more of the same or worse, not only in the long-suffering community, but also elsewhere in Harford County.

In recent years, the largely law-abiding citizenry of Edgewood neighborhoods have become increasingly vocal in demanding that police pay attention to the problems of their communities. These aren't, however, the only communities in Harford County where summer weather, for whatever reason, serves as a catalyst for trouble. When it comes down to it, no neighborhood is immune from the potential for hot headedness to be exacerbated by hot weather.

It's likely police already are gearing up for the potentially hazardous season ahead. Everyone else would do well to keep in mind that, especially when it's hot outside, the best course of action when disputes awry is to let cooler heads prevail.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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