Carroll County Times Opinion

Tomlinson: ‘It can be done’: Elected officials should pass bills that will actually help Baltimore | COMMENTARY

Recently, cancel culture set its sights on its most recent victim, Dr. Seuss. Six of Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s books will no longer be published, including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.”

Everyone’s attention, however, should be on the victims of shootings in Baltimore city of late — over the course of six days this month, five children under the age of 17 were shot. Among that group of children was a 10-year old girl who was shot in the chest as she was walking to the store, and a 15-year old boy who died as the result of gunfire. For a city that saw its sixth consecutive year of more than 300 homicides, crime and murder have simply become the norm for most of Baltimore. Maybe the cultural warriors should worry about shielding youth from bullets rather than “Scrambled Eggs Super!”


Last week I went to the city for work and afterward I traveled through areas that are typically left off of the tourists maps. I drove through the Westport and Cherry Hill neighborhoods in South Baltimore, Park Heights and Pimlico in Northwest Baltimore, and through Fulton Avenue. The poverty, apparent drug activity and boarded-up businesses and homes that I witnessed was unfathomable.

How in the world do the federal and state elected officials who represent these sections of Baltimore sleep at night knowing that their constituents live in these conditions? Let’s end the practice of canceling fictional literary characters and start to encourage Baltimore voters to cancel any politician who allows these neighborhoods to exist in their current states.


Rather than working to pass legislation and provide resources to help Baltimore City’s less fortunate citizens escape a world of poverty and crime, these public officials spend their time passing legislation and pursuing policies that please progressive activists and the far left.

Last year, Baltimore’s City Council made sure to pass the Comprehensive Bag Reduction Act which prohibits retailers from providing plastic bags to customers. Meanwhile, in the General Assembly, legislators representing the city have made sure that a package of police accountability legislation passed both houses, measures which will do nothing more than make it harder for police officers to do their jobs and make it almost impossible to recruit new officers. This is exactly the kind of legislation that Baltimore’s elected leaders worry about enacting every year. Instead of fixing the problem, these legislators continue to add to the problem, much like the cat in “The Cat in the Hat” who continued to stir up trouble for the narrator of the tale and his sister Sally.

On the other hand, Republicans in the General Assembly announced earlier this month a package of bills that would combat violent crime across all of Maryland, but especially Baltimore City. The Stopping Dangerous and Violent Criminals Act of 2021 would require criminals convicted of a violent crime, including murder, kidnapping, manslaughter, rape, carjacking and armed robbery, to serve 90% of their sentences instead of 50% before being eligible for parole.

The Violent Firearms Offenders Act of 2021 creates tough sentences for criminals who use assault weapons in a crime, who repeatedly are caught carrying guns, or who knowingly sell a gun to an individual who commits a crime. Senate Minority Whip Michael Hough, representing Carroll and Frederick counties, stated in a news release, “The bloodshed we are seeing on our streets is caused primarily by repeat offenders who illegally purchase guns on the streets.” The Act passed the Senate but died in the House last year. Republicans must continue to be resilient, similar to Sam I Am in “Green Eggs and Ham,” who never gave up in his pursuit.

House bill 1236 specifically focuses on fighting crime in Baltimore. HB1236 will establish a special prosecution unit within Baltimore City’s Office of the Attorney General, whose only task will be to target and prosecute violent criminals. With the Attorney General only prosecuting approximately one third of Baltimore’s homicide cases each year, this bill could really make a difference.

The Gun Theft is a Felony Act of 2021 makes it a felony to steal a firearm. “We’ve made lending a rifle or shotgun a felony, but stealing a gun is a misdemeanor,” said Senator Justin Ready, representing Carroll County, the primary sponsor of the act. “That makes zero sense. Crimes are not committed with legally owned firearms, they are committed with illegal guns, including stolen handguns.”

There are no easy solutions to solve the city’s problems. However, Baltimore’s politicians can do more to improve the lives of all city’s residents. Like the Cat exclaimed in the 1971 “The Cat in the Hat” television special, “It can be done, it can be done. They can do anything, anything, anything under the sun.”