Ukrainian president is a true leader; mass shootings need attention | READER COMMENTARY

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Ukrainian president is a true leader

While the TV news aren’t helping particularly, we are not getting any good examples of American leadership. The national TV News — particularly Fox News — are growing fabulously wealthy at our expense. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Ron Desantis of Florida ganging up on defenseless Mickey Mouse is just the latest example. We have a former President the subject of more ongoing litigation and criminal investigations than the sum total of all of the elected officials in American history. You need a rather large Excel spread sheet just to keep track.

As luck would have it, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, a Jewish comic, is giving us a long overdue leadership seminar. It’s not just the olive drab tee shirt. It’s not the accent. It’s the ability to suck it up, do whatever it takes to fend off a much stronger opponent, and be prepared to die in the process. Sounds like he could be a Navy SEAL. Oh, and get 40 million people to follow your example. Sounds like this is dimly reminiscent of something that happened over 200 years ago, starting in Boston.


Elon Musk just spent $44 billion — a factor of 10 more than the annual Ukranian military budget — to buy Twitter, so he could loosen its standards and exploit it even more under the guise of “free speech.” I actually like Mr. Musk because I’m an aerospace engineer, and he has rejuvenated the space business. But still.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when Joe Biden was elected, as he had a lot of political IOUs and he had this belief he was the reincarnation of Franklin Rosevelt, whom I only know from reading history. That hasn’t gone all that well, but according to Fox News he and not the most criminally active former President ever is to blame for all of our problems.


The Ukrainian leadership lesson is showing what happens when a charismatic yet divisive, megalomaniac, and corrupt leader goes too far. As these types of ultrarare critters are usually wanting to do. Anybody who doesn’t get the parallel in this story obviously doesn’t want to.

I think Biden’s perilous, e.g., risk of initiating a nuclear war, but ultimately likely necessary steps to confront Vladimir Putin’s unbridled aggressive actions with an international cooperation is the best course of action. His predecessor had signaled that the United States would not interfere.

History has taught us that the cost of freedom is extremely high. Ukrainians are being forced to bury their slain countryfolk to possibly save their own lives. This is reminiscent of the concentration camps under Adolph Hitler. The United States, it seems, could suffer a possible economic recession to “punish” Mr. Putin.

Joe Biden is finding out that while leadership is nifty to historians, it comes at a harsh price.

Dave Pyatt, Mount Airy

Mass shootings need attention

We are now witnessing almost daily mass shootings in our nation. According to the Washington Post, to date there have been 19,000 homicides with guns in our nation. Of these 19,000, 1,376 were children. Every day 41 children lose a parent to gun violence. In 2020, 3,600 children lost a mother or father to gun violence. At the same time, we are witnessing legislation that would ban abortions because life is so sacred. The only conclusion I can come to is that life is only sacred while in the womb. This suggests that life is not sacred once it leaves the womb or else there would be equal concern for life once it leaves the womb. Might it be because many in Congress are dependent on funds from the NRA? Just wondering.

Patricia Roop Hollinger, Westminster

2022 session was tough

The Maryland General Assembly adjourned at midnight on April. Although for the previous seven years that I’ve served down there, I sat with my dedicated Carroll County colleagues (Dels. Krebs and Rose) near the back of the chamber; this year, after having been elected by my fellow Republicans as minority whip, I had a front-row seat to the entire train wreck which was the 2022 session.


As opposed to the police deform legislation which dominated the 2021 session, there was a silver lining to 2022′s mostly dark cloud. Specifically, this year — at long last — Democrat leadership deigned to allow some tax reform to trickle down to folks.

So, if you have a baby, you’ll no longer have to pay sales tax on diapers, baby bottles, and baby wipes. If you are diabetic, you will no longer have to pay sales tax on diabetic care products. And, if you are a small business person, the first $20,000 of personal property is now totally exempt, and you won’t have to pay SDAT’s ridiculous annual filing fee of $300 if your personal property is below that threshold.

For retirees, the 2022 session wasn’t a complete disaster either. Military retirees will realize an exemption from income tax on the first $20,000 of their pension, instead of just the first $15,000 currently in place. All retirees 65 and older will also, for the first time, be eligible for a $1,000 tax credit.

All told, the tax relief we helped to secure totals about $350 million. That sounds wonderful — particularly, in this state — until you consider that we went into the session with a record $7.5 billion surplus. So, in essence, the Democrats gave us some crumbs.

The other element of good news is that the Carroll County delegation was able to bring home about $86 million in capital money for worthwhile projects here, including $350,000 for much needed work at the American Legion Post in Sykesville.

After that though, there’s a steep drop off. In an effort to energize their liberal base, the Democrats radically expanded abortion to allow midwives, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to perform these invasive procedures, and the taxpayers of Maryland, irrespective of their beliefs on the subject, are going to subsidize the expansion to the tune of $3.5 million per year.


In addition, there was recreational marijuana legalization legislation which will require a lot of studies on the impact of marijuana on our health — but the studies won’t occur until after it’s legalized. And then there was the family leave bill, which will ultimately result in a $1.6 billion tax hike on virtually everybody, employer and employee alike. The government giveth, but it surely taketh away.

Again, while the session was brutal, there was a silver lining or two. And I have to say that it’s been my honor to represent Carroll County in the House of Delegates for the last eight years.

Haven N. Shoemaker, Hampstead

Shoemaker is a state delegate and candidate for Carroll County state’s attorney.

Actions speak louder than words

Hypocrisy is inherently part of our political system. Politicians promise one thing and do the opposite. Accusations of hypocrisy have become so common that the term hypocrite has become synonymous with politician.

I won’t go down the rabbit hole and call Mr. Haven Shoemaker, a candidate for state’s attorney, a hypocrite. However, I’d like to reference some facts that would cast doubt upon his character and ability to be our county’s top prosecutor.


While Mr. Shoemaker boasts being a career politician, he cannot seem to pay his fair share. A search of the Maryland cases reveals that not once but twice the state sued Mr. Shoemaker for not paying his taxes. Despite having ample opportunities to address the issue, his failure to do so resulted in a court date and judgment entered against him.

In 2016, the Comptroller of Maryland won a judgment in the amount of $4, 802.85 against Mr. Shoemaker (case # 06-M-16-047419). Two years later, Mr. Shoemaker was back in Circuit Court, not as an attorney but as a defendant where the State of Maryland recorded a tax lien in the amount of $2,798.64 (case # C-06-JG-18-0011401).

Being the “thorough” fellow he is, he didn’t want the District Court to feel lonely. In 2016, Saint Agnes Healthcare sued Mr. Shoemaker for not paying a bill in the amount of $797.80 (case # 10-02-0002612-2016).

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice — or three in this case — shame on me!

If Mr. Shoemaker cannot manage his own financial affairs, how can we expect him to run an office with a multimillion-dollar budget? At least, Mr. Shoemaker claims to be friends of law enforcement. In fact, he proudly displays pictures of him and the sheriff in his campaign material. However, the former Carroll County Sheriff Kenneth Tregoning might disagree as Mr. Shoemaker sued him in 2002 (case # 06-C-02-037204). I guess he’s friends of law enforcements unless he can benefit from suing them.

Mr. Shoemaker’s actions speak louder than his words. Let our actions speak louder than words when we vote on July 19.


Angela Belcher, Westminster

Landfill safety

As I complained heartily, to the checkers at the landfill about the new guardrails, I was told that everyone leaving is saying the same thing and that it was a requirement of OSHA.

Let me tell you that if OSHA thinks this is safer they have lost their minds. I am a 5′3″ female. I take the trash to the landfill in my family because my husband has had a major surgery. In order for me to now place my trash in those dumpsters, I need to straddle the guardrail and the dumpster with a 30 pound trash can in my hands. I can’t lift it up over those guardrails so I have to climb on the back of my pickup truck, pick up trash can, straddle the guardrails and dumpster and pray to God that I don’t fall in.

I suggest you hire a permanent helper or you will have multiple lawsuits on your hands.

Patricia Dahlberg, Westminster