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Police response to man who said 'Heil Hiltler, Heil Trump,' at Baltimore theater inadequate

First, thanks to Christina Tkacik, Sarah Meehan, and Lillian Reed for their coverage of the incident at the Hippodrome Theatre. I just read the updated version of the story this morning (“Drunk man shouts 'Heil Hitler, Heil Trump,'” Nov. 15). I was horrified yesterday that police had not arrested the man, and am also horrified today that he received only a minimal kind of reprimand (“Man who shouted 'Heil Hitler' at Fiddler on the Roof performance should have been arrested,” Nov. 16). It is also chilling to learn that, although company representatives have provided statements, the Hippodrome's president has declined to comment. Learning that the man was drunk, and that he later said he intended to convey a very different message, does not give comfort. I believe that the man is a danger to others, and that there should be follow-up in the form of monitoring (“Hippodrome incident was not free speech,” Nov. 16).

I hope many people will write to and/or call the Baltimore police department. I have visited — and love — Baltimore. Far away in Texas, several years ago, my aunt and I were in the audience for a screening of the film Schindler's List. The credits were rolling, accompanied by the beautiful, soulful music. A man stood up and began ranting about Jews and guns and the Nazis and the government. Then he stormed out, shouting all the way to the exit door. One cannot separate the memory of such an act from the experience of seeing a moving performance that is, itself, a cautionary tale from the time of pogroms or the Holocaust.

Failure to even comment on the part of the person at the top sends an ominous signal — one that could be interpreted as tolerance for a disruptive and terrifying act, or — at best — as an indicator of a dismissive attitude. What happened was not the fault of the theater staff or the company. How about a simple expression of humane sorrow over what one man forced on all in his earshot — not even considering the context of these terrible times?

Juliet George, Fort Worth, Texas

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