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Letters: Does restaurant’s severe penalty serve justice?; Titles are earned, most use them appropriately | READER COMMENTARY

Does restaurant’s severe penalty serve justice?

Look, I don’t often drink beer and I drink even less wine and whiskey and I just never got accustomed to mixed drinks. I understand the law that says no one who is observed to be intoxicated should, under penalty of law, be served any more drinks and perhaps should be offered Uber to keep her or him from driving. I also cannot imagine the pain from the death of anyone, let alone a family member, from a drunk driver’s irresponsible driving in causing a driving accident let alone a fatality.

But as a dining and Sunday brunch patron of Westminster’s Rafael’s with my wife, my family and friends since it opened years ago, it is hard for me to understand that justice is served by suspending Rafael’s liquor license for nine months because one bartender allegedly acted irresponsibly and against the law.

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I understand the pain of death and I understand making an example out of one bartender’s alleged irresponsible serving alcohol to an intoxicated person, but to disregard Rafael’s otherwise great record of what I have experienced as responsible service is to throw out the reputation of Rafael and his fine servers we have come to know over the years.

When I read the story in Sunday’s Times, I just had to drive from Union Bridge to Westminster and order carryout to let them know that their years of service as we have come to know it and neighborhood ambiance are built on the pride of a local businessman to be a responsible member of our community. Walking in the door I realized I was not alone. Seated at the bar stools and tables were were gatherings of friends having a great Sunday afternoon cheering for the Ravens.

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Perhaps, there is a more just way to make an example of driving while drunk, one that does not destroy the very fabric of what makes Rafael’s and Carroll County a great place to live, work and, yes, relax responsibly with a few beers on Sunday afternoon while rooting for our favorite football team.

Not being a lawyer nor a judge, I have no idea what would best serve justice. I just hope there is a way that all parties can come together to achieve an outcome that balances all the issues in a way that, in the face of tragedy, recognizes the sense of humanity we all must surely yearn for.

John D. Witiak

Union Bridge

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Titles are earned, most use them appropriately

I am writing in response to the Jan. 5 column by Rick Blatchford regarding future First Lady Jill Biden using the title “Doctor”. Mr. Blatchford, I would ask you to think back to your days in school. I know, in my elementary school, we referred to our school principal as “Dr. So-and-so”. Junior high and high school principals were similarly addressed as “Doctor”. Nearly all of my college professors were referred to as “Dr. This” or “Dr. That”. All of them had earned their advanced degrees in education or other fields, and had earned the title as a sign of respect. We were expected to treat them accordingly.

Even medical doctors seldom use the title “Doctor” in a non-medical setting. I work in health care, and deal with plenty of medical doctors. Some of them, I’m also personal friends with. At work, I refer to them as “Doctor”. But in a social setting, I refer to them by their name. I have a friend, who is a nationally known physician, medical expert, and educator, whom I know mostly through an antique car club. Without calling him out, let’s say his name is Dr. Sam Smith. I attended a medical conference where he was lecturing. Before his presentation, I was talking with my good friend, Sam, about family and cars. But as the time approached, my friend Sam said he needed to get ready, and I said I’d take my seat in the lecture hall. Sam said, “You don’t have to stay because we’re friends.” I reminded him, “No, I want to stay to learn from Dr. Smith, top in his field.” His title was not appropriate in my garage, but certainly so in a medical lecture.

I don’t know Jill Biden, but I suspect she does not use the title “Dr.” in a non-educational setting. The Wall Street Journal essayist whom Mr. Blatchford cites likely created a huff over a situation of his own making, by criticizing her use of the title which she earned but one which I doubt she abuses. I suspect the essayist and Mr. Blatchford are attempting to reduce her level of status to advance their own.

Steve Lichtman

Mount Airy

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