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Are They on Drugs?

Statewide ban on synthetic cannabinoids could be windfall for drug dealers

According to the Oct. 27 Councilmania, regarding City Council bill “10-0616 Prohibited Distribution of K2 or ‘Spice,’” the council is a) concerned about the “increasing monetary incentive for drug dealers” created by Baltimore County’s ban of synthetic cannabinoids, and b) troubled that Baltimore is “a city already inundated with drugs and drug-related crime.” In response to these very valid concerns, a majority of councilmembers (led by Sharon Green Middleton) seek to c) create a new market for city drug dealers by banning these substances in Baltimore City, and d) drive up the price and therefore profits associated with illegal drug dealing by encouraging a statewide ban in Maryland. Am I missing something?

Allan Massie

Disgusted, Not Surprised

As disgusted, purely disgusted, as I am by this article (“Freeing Willie,” Feature, Oct. 13), I cannot say that I am surprised.

On June 22, 2007, my fiance Jose “Joe” Perez II, 24, myself, 21, and friends drove to Pine Grove Middle School’s parking lot located at 9200 Old Harford Road. There, we were mugged by three boys with baseball bats, and they attacked Joe. One struck him in the knee, and he fell, slamming his head on the concrete. He sat up dazed, looking around. Then Zachary Weisenborn, a 17- to 19-year-old white boy, swung his baseball bat at Joe’s head with all of his might, as if he were hitting a ball off of a tee-ball stand. It was probably the hardest but not the first or last hit Joe would take.

By the time I ran to him, the boys had taken off. Holding Joe on my lap, his skull was split, and he threw up so much blood it looked like motor oil covering us. EMTs came, one of them with tears in her eyes as I asked if he would be OK, never answering. Joe was MedEvac-ed to Shock Trauma where, after dying more than once his first night, he was put into a drug-induced coma for weeks. During that time he had part of his skull removed and remained in critical condition.

July 10, 2007, I left Shock Trauma to attend my brother’s 17th birthday dinner. For the first time I left Joe’s side, and he died that night as a direct result of his injuries.

The events that would follow were long, complicated, and disgusting. I gave testimony as a state’s witness, and all of his family gave victim impact statements. I have since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Entertainment scenes with baseball bats set me off, helicopters set me off, and stories like “Freeing Willie” set me off.

The system blatantly fails and leaves everyone making excuses. Weisenborn, who murdered my fiance with intent and in cold blood, received 18 months in BCDC-Towson, a jail with ice machines, toilets behind closed locking doors, laundry machines, private showers, hot/cold running water, pillows built into mattresses, private basketball courts on the tiers, and new release movies every weekend. Maybe he will never kill again, but how do we know he isn’t the next Willie Featherstone? There is no way for us to know until it is too late. Will he look back and wish he had served more time when he destroys another family? What will it take?

Eighteen months for murder followed by 18 months house arrest. And did he even do his full time? Doubtful. And why did he face more time while Joe was still alive? If Joe were alive today, chances are Zach would still be locked up. Instead Joe is dead, leaving a beautiful now 4-year-old boy without a father, and Zach is free.

Justice? Please. There is no such thing as justice.

Melissa Martin

Avoiding Obsolescence

If Bill Gates had owned a major newspaper at the beginning of the digital age, newspapers wouldn’t be on the edge of obsolescence as they are today. HE WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN AWAY HIS NEWSPAPER AND PROBABLY WOULD HAVE WARNED OTHERS NOT TO DO SO ALSO.

Well, if you’re not charging for your publication, an immune system is already in place. I have no way of really knowing, but I would bet the wife but not the farm that you have not felt the death knell that paper newspapers have.

Having recently completed my 69th trip around the sun, I was here and well remember you first arriving on the scene and thought at the time, what a novel idea to run a newspaper. As a long-time admirer, I can only hope you are doing as well or even better then ever.

As you surely know, this is the age of science. Particles and waves are replacing horses and buggies. Quantum mechanics are the new rule.

Now, whether or not this was by insight or natural lady luck is not important. What is important is the mighty giants have fallen while a neighborhood bar rag has survived and maybe even prospered.

Maybe it all comes down to the cosmic jagged little pill: Isn’t it ironic?

Kudos from a ground floor observer.

Tom Rinehart

Editor’s note: The deadline for our annual Fiction and Poetry Contest is this Friday, Nov. 5. See for details.

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