Letters: Government has always been responsible for children; Delegate should applaud decision, not disparage it | READER COMMENTARY

Government has always been responsible for children

Regarding Del. Haven Shoemaker’s comment, ”Since when did government become responsible for ensuring the safety and welfare of children?” I would suggest the first time government accepted responsibility for “...the safety and welfare...” was July 4, 1776 in The Declaration of Independence, “...certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...”.

The second time would be in the Articles of Confederation, “...their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of...any other pretense whatever.”


And finally, the Constitution [pledged to] “...insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.”

With the COVID-19 crisis, we are attempting to deal with a disease that, quite frankly, no one really understands but most agree it is going to get worse before it gets better. In fact it is not going to get better until we have a vaccine. With this virus people get sick and many of them die!


Perhaps we can get a couple of kids to score several touchdowns before they take the “big timeout”? Is that what you want Del. Shoemaker?

It seems that the politicians know more about this disease than the doctors and scientists. Del. Shoemaker, the next time my A-Fib acts up, should I call your office?

If Shoemaker doesn’t believe the government is responsible for the safety and welfare of children perhaps he would be so kind as to define what the responsibilities of the government are.

Shoemaker dumped on Gov. Hogan several weeks ago; “Lockdown Larry” I believe he called the governor. The good delegate was ticked-off that Maryland wasn’t opening as were Florida and other southern states. That didn’t work out well for most of those states, especially Florida. At least the governor was doing something rather than sitting back and calling names.

I may be a bit sensitive about this virus ... the grandfather I didn’t know died in the so-called Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. And, it seems fairly simple to survive until a vaccine is developed: cover your face, keep your distance, and wash your hands often. If you don’t have to go someplace, don’t go. And for Shoemaker, if you don’t have something meaningful to say, don’t say it.

Leamon Martin


Delegate should applaud decision, not disparage it

“Since when did government become responsible for ensuring the safety and welfare of children?” Del. Haven Shoemaker in a letter to Carroll County Commissioners, Aug. 7 (quoted in the Times).

Shoemaker is now deep into his second decade of dispensing ill-informed nonsense to the citizens of Carroll County. Whether badmouthing state and federal government services from his humble platform as mayor of Hampstead, or his quixotic “English only” initiative as county commissioner, we can always count on Haven to land with one or both feet firmly planted in his own mouth. While his stance against limiting recreational sports is unsurprising, let’s drop a little knowledge on Mr. Shoemaker.

Government involvement in the safety and welfare of children in the United States begins as early as 1813, when the Connecticut legislature passed legislation requiring that children working in factories also be offered access to public education. By 1842, every New England state had laws in place addressing child labor. The Keating–Owen Child Labor Act of 1916 became the first federal legislation addressing child labor, and the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act added additional protections. In Maryland, the first child labor laws were enacted in the 1906. By 1962, child protective services were available in all 50 states, providing advocacy for children beyond the narrow confines of the workplace.

Now that that question is answered for Mr. Shoemaker, I agree that recreational sports are valuable. My daughter participated in them from K-12, when they were the centerpiece of our weeks and weekends. I also participated in rec sports in the last century, and regularly apply lessons learned on Jersey ballfields even now.

But let’s put nostalgia aside and face reality. Most team sports create frequent situations that are contrary to social distancing practices critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Regardless of what is happening at the professional and collegiate levels (with variable success so far), recreational sports are an effort created through volunteerism. There are no livelihoods at stake for anybody should they go on hiatus. There are, however, lives at stake for everybody involved (and for those around them who may be at greater risk) if they continue in the current public health situation. We should reduce unneeded risks, and a temporary halt to recreational sports is a prudent public health decision. Instead of disparaging this decision, Haven should be applauding. The times demand it.


Dean Horvath


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