Voices From The Readers – January 22, 2021

Voices From The Readers – January 22, 2021

Remembering Mr. Smack


It was with considerable sadness that I read of the passing of John Dale Smack, Jr.

I was Town Attorney for Berlin during the time in which Mr. Smack served on the Berlin Council, from 1980 to 1988. As has been noted, Mr. Smack was the first African-American to serve on Berlin’s Council. During his two terms in office, Mr. Smack served with dignity and dedication to service for all of Berlin’s citizens. If memory serves me correctly, in those pre-District days where all council members were elected at-large by all town voters, Mr. Smack at least once garnered more votes than any other member.

His service to the town and his outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of its citizens should be memorialized, and I try to shed some lights on his service in this modest tribute.

He is a community leader who will be sorely missed.

Joseph E. Moore



Clinic Well Managed


A lot of people in the phase 1B over 75 age group were not aware that they would be able to receive the first COVID vaccine shots in the entire state of Maryland when Atlantic General Hospital offered that opportunity on Saturday, Jan. 16. No doubt the news was confusing to many when first released to the press on Monday afternoon but by Tuesday morning the slots were filled.

Most of the proactive information I saw was disseminated on OceanPinesForum.com operated by Joe Reynolds which enabled many to sign up on Monday evening. My wife and I were concerned, especially after seeing long lines in other areas of the country, how AGH would handle the hundreds of people signed up for their Saturday clinic at the Barrett building in Berlin. Would we be driving into an unorganized mess? That fear proved to be unfounded as we drove into Healthway Drive and were met by AGH volunteers.

The operation would have made the military proud.  As we drove in from the street, your vaccination time was checked. If early, you were directed to the parking lot across the street at the new cancer center. About 10 minutes prior to your shot time you were released and drove across street to Barrett parking lot and directed to come into the building five minutes prior to your shot time. Volunteers roamed the lot to coordinate arrivals and answer any questions. Inside you were quickly processed after showing ID and moved into the room where shots were given at multiple stations.

After the shot was given, you were moved down the line to wait for 15 minutes to check for any adverse reaction then released out the side door. Nurses and staff were pleasant, impressive and amazingly efficient. I understand more than 700 shots may have been given that day. Kudos to AGH for being proactive in getting these shots out ahead of everyone else and for their staff who made sure it was a success. They should be a model for every other operation in the state.

Jack Barnes



Historical Ignorance Appalling


The other day as I helped a Walmart employee load groceries into my car Dr. King was on my mind. I’m white, the employee was black, and so I said to her she should be getting hazard pay during the pandemic since she’s an “essential worker.” This was on Dr King’s Birthday, and I said to her “You know why they shot Dr King?” She said she didn’t.

I said, “Because his next work was going to be in organizing the poor: he’d gotten the Voter’s Rights and Civil Rights Bills passed through Congress, but his next march on Washington was for the poor.”

“Do you know where he was when he got shot?” She said “No.”

So I told her he was in Memphis because garbagemen were on strike. Garbagemen, another essential worker. I told her he was there because two garbagemen had been killed; it was raining one day, and the white garbagemen refused to let them inside. The two men climbed into the back of a garbage truck, and when the rain shorted the motor, the compactor came down and crushed them. So Dr. King went to Memphis to support the garbagemen.

I was disappointed that this young, black girl was unaware of these very important historical facts.

But I’m more disappointed in her teachers. I’m a teacher. I’m disappointed in our American education system. I see where we fail to get into depth when teaching history, when the most some kids know about Native Americans is the first Thanksgiving or the only speech they know of Dr. King’s is “I Have a Dream.”

Yeah, we’re getting rid of one bad hombre in the White House.  But it sure didn’t start with him. And they don’t end it.

If we don’t pressure them, the same kind of stupid history just repeats itself. We the people.  Happy Dr. King Day

Robert Carr



A Call To All ‘Patriots’


On Jan. 6, 2021, I was watching the Electoral College vote count live on television when the tragic events at The Capitol took place. I watched in horror and sadness as rioting hooligans overpowered members of law enforcement and occupied the heart of American government. I immediately wanted to share my views with friends and family, but I purposely waited so that I could better comprehend the totality of the incident.

It is now a week later, and we know that five people are dead. One officer committed suicide, and another has died from injuries suffered as a result of having his head bashed in by a fire extinguisher. The fact that our Capitol was overrun by insurrectionists, should offend each and every American. It amazes me that so many people can justify the behavior of those who were participating in the riots. I hear claims of “Patriotism” and comparisons to BLM activities as justification for the siege of the Capitol. I could not disagree more.

We have all come to learn about Richard Barnett. He is the Arkansan who proudly occupied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and stole her mail. His famously, shirtless and vulgar interviews on local news stations defending his actions are epic. He is on video stating, “I sat down here in my desk. I’m a taxpayer. I’m a patriot. That ain’t her desk – we loaned her that desk. And she ain’t appreciating the desk, so I thought I would sit down and appreciate the desk.”

I personally think that Mr. Barnett is a crazy and scary individual and one who has a warped view of life. However, I appreciate him for stepping up to the plate and stating what is really on his mind. We have learned about Mr. Barnett and the QAnon Shaman who thinks it is Patriotic to wear animal pelts and horns and face paint and create havoc on our Democracy. These types of people are relatively easy to identify as crack pots. While mentally unhinged, at least they stand by their views.

Why is it that so many “Patriots” that occupied The Capitol on that horrific day remain silent and in hiding? When identified and taken into custody by Law Enforcement some of these criminals had offered a wide array of excuses for their bad behavior. I heard “we did not know we could not enter The Capitol, we just walked through an open door.” “I just found the zip strips on the floor and I was holding them to give to a Police Officer”. What nonsense.

These “Patriots” have shown their true character. They are nothing but cowards. I call on each and every person who entered The Capitol to step forward and identify themselves to Law Enforcement as the insurrectionists they are. If they truly believe their cause and actions are just they should have no problem in publicly standing up for their beliefs. Those choosing to hide behind a mask are not only cowards, but their hiding is quite akin to those who used to don a white hood and engage in similar acts of racist hatred a century ago.

Scott Chismar

Crofton and Ocean City


Abandon Tax Talk


The Ocean City Council is once again talking about raising taxes. At the same time, for the fourth year in a row, they’ve funded Bruce Bereano. Mr. Bereano has a felony conviction due to his mishandling of money. As an Ocean City taxpayer, I’d very much like to see unnecessary expenses like the funding of Mr. Bereano ended before talk of raising room taxes.

Doug Miller,

Ocean City and Jessup


AGH Applauded


Thank you to Atlantic General Hospital employees for all their dedication and compassion that they showed our grandfather, Harold Artrip, who tragically passed away on Jan. 3, 2021. We specifically want to thank all the nurses and doctors on the 2-North floor for their immediate diagnosis and kindness. You will always be remembered for all that you did for our pops with love.

The Artrip Family