Should I be concerned about new virus?

— When the head of the World Health Organization says a new virus is her “greatest concern right now,” people worldwide may wonder whether they should be concerned.

This new coronavirus, which experts recently named MERS-CoV or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, first surfaced in Saudi Arabia in March 2012.

It’s in the same family of viruses as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome – coronavirus) as well as the common cold — but the new virus is not SARS.

“There’s not the same level of concern as there was in Hong Kong or Toronto during the SARS epidemic,” says Dr. Mark Denison, a professor of pediatrics and longtime coronavirus researcher at Vanderbilt University.

Unlike SARS which sickened more than 8,000 people in 2003 and killed 773 worldwide, this new coronavirus does not spread easily between humans — at least not yet.

It’s too early to tell whether MERS-CoV is going to spread or just burn out, so it’s essential that health officials stay vigilant, Denison says. “What’s important is continued reporting of active cases which allows for better surveillance.”

Should I be concerned about MERS-CoV?

So far only 49 cases of MERS have been reported, including 27 deaths. Most of those were older men with other health problems. And most contracted the virus in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar.

Cases have been reported in three European countries (United Kingdom, Germany, France) and Tunisia. But those cases had either traveled from the Middle East or in a few instances were infected through close contact with someone who recently returned from one of the above countries.

As of now, if you haven’t been to the Arabian Peninsula, your chance of a MERS infection is probably considerably less than 1%, or even zero, as all the cases have been linked to that region, says WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.

What researchers don’t know is how many people may have had mild symptoms and never were reported. The more information scientists have, the more can be done to try to combat the disease.

I recently returned from the Middle East. What signs should I look for?

If you’ve traveled to the countries above and have cold-like symptoms which are getting worse, and you’re having increasing difficulty breathing and a fever, you may want to see a doctor. It’s important to tell your physician where you have been, so you can be tested for regular flu and other illnesses that can cause these symptoms as well as MERS-CoV.

The WHO describes the common symptoms as acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. According to Hartl, the real worry is that patients will develop pneumonia — most, although not all, of the cases have. Many have also had gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea.

What should I avoid?

The original source of the infection is still a mystery, so health officials cannot tell you what to avoid to prevent getting this coronavirus.

Researchers haven’t identified any animal that may be carrying the virus. Early on in the SARS outbreak, an animal called the civet cat was implicated — maybe unfairly, because bats were later implicated too.

It’s not known how the virus spreads between humans, be it droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing or touching contaminated surfaces, but WHO isn’t ruling out contact with surfaces as a possible mechanism of transmission.

It’s also not known how long the virus can live outside the body. The SARS virus was shown to live as long as four days. Other viruses, such as HIV, lose their ability to be infectious within hours.

How can I help my family?

While there’s no cure for MERS-CoV, there are things you can do to protect your loved ones — the same measures you would take to prevent spreading the flu or other viruses.

If you’ve recently returned from Middle East and aren’t feeling well, stay home and avoid contact with babies and people who may already be sick. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze (tissue, sleeve or elbow, not your hands) and wash your hands frequently.

There currently is no vaccine or treatment for MERS-CoV.

A lot has been learned about new coronaviruses over the past 10 years by studying the SARS virus because the National Institutes of Health have continued to support research on it, Denison says, adding that he’s hopeful that knowledge could be “potentially applied towards vaccines,” if MERS-CoV develops into a pandemic.


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

O’Malley, O’Reilly and Cobor, Oh My!

This story about the federal indictments handed down regarding corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) just keeps getting better and better or worse and worse, depending on your perspective!


Gregory Kane

Let’s recap: in late April some 25 people were indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and drug possession with intent to distribute.

Seven of those people were, at the time, BCDC inmates and members of the prison gang known as the Black Guerilla Family (BGF). Five were gang members, relatives or sympathizers not incarcerated and 13 were corrections officers, all of whom worked at the BCDC. All are female.

The indictments allege that the corrections officers helped the BGF smuggle drugs, cell phones and tobacco into the BCDC. Federal officials also say that four of the corrections officers had sexual relations with Tavon White, head of the BGF at the BCDC.

All four allegedly became pregnant with White’s children, one of them twice.

By any reasonable standard, what we have here is a mess. It might even be called a “putrid mess,” as one U.S. senator called America’s involvement in Vietnam back in the 1960s.

Enter Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley— a.k.a. the Notorious Martin O’Shameless— telling the press that the indictments are a “positive achievement.”

The proper words to describe what happened at the BCDC might be “low down, dirty, crying shame.” However, O’Shameless is a master at making his political failures look like victories.

Didn’t the man run for governor in 2006 on a record of failure? Didn’t he win?

Didn’t he commit the gaffe of the decade in 2010 when, running for re-election against former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, he called illegal immigrants “new Americans”? Didn’t his popularity surge after uttering such nonsense?

Any guy who can do that can certainly hoodwink Marylanders into thinking that what happened at the BCDC is a “positive achievement.”

But O’Shameless has presidential aspirations. He would be sorely mistaken in assuming that voters in the rest of the country are as sappy as the ones here in Maryland. And he would be just as mistaken if he believes that all of us are going to buy into his spiel that the protections that corrections officers get in a bill he signed into law three years ago didn’t help foster the culture of corruption.

It’s called the Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights, which I’ve abbreviated to COBOR for the sake of simplicity.

If we listen to Jeff Pittman, a local representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, COBOR is pretty harmless. It doesn’t protect dirty, corrupt corrections officers at all.

“It’s not about protecting dirty correctional officers. It’s about protecting due-process rights of officers of integrity who are facing charges.”

Look, Pittman, I was born at night. But not last night, OK?

The fact is COBOR will, indeed, at some point protect dirty corrections officers. FBI agents that investigated the corruption at the BCDC acknowledged that.

According to a story that appeared on the Web site, “one FBI agent is now claiming the ‘rights’ helped shield bad apples from discipline,” and that “an affidavit attached to the indictment and written by an FBI agent clearly states that disciplining guards under the bill of rights ‘has proven to be very difficult, so cases are dropped.”

The piece de resistance comes from The Washington Post, far from a conservative publication.

“The absurd situation took root at least partly because….this bill of rights grants extraordinary rights to guards, including shielding them from threats of prosecution, transfer, dismissal or even disciplinary action during questioning for suspected wrongdoing.”

The “absurd situation” WP editors refer to is, no doubt, what happened at the BCDC. It’s so absurd that Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly has commented on it at least twice, in an attempt to do what most Marylanders will refuse to do: Hold O’Shameless accountable.

O’Malley has called O’Reilly’s comments about the BCDC mess a “cheap shot.” Methinks the shameless one doth whine too much.

Anne Arundel Community Action Agency celebrates volunteers

— The Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency (AACCAA) held its second annual homecoming celebration for its dedicated volunteers at the La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie, Maryland on Friday, May 17, 2013.

For the second year in a row Community Action Agency inducted five honorees for outstanding service and commitment to the Community Action Agency Hall of Fame.

Local Anne Arundel County officials Councilman Peter Smith and Councilmen John Grasso and Carl Snowden were on hand to thank the honorees. Greetings were sent from new Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, Senator Barbara Mikulski, and Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen.

The five inductees honored for their tireless dedication were Helen Chambers, Dr. Eleanor Harris, Shirley A. Harrison, John Greene and Max Ochs. A community partnership award was given to St. Anne’s Parish for their support of the Head Start Obery Court Summer Camp.

Les Stanton, president of the Community Action Agency Board of Directors and keynote speaker for the evening said the agency plays an important role in the lives of Annapolis residents. He thanked the volunteers for their time and dedication. “This year’s five inductees have serviced, committed and dedicated themselves to the community in which they live,” he said.

The event included a silent auction of signed sports memorabilia, fine jewelry and other collectible items. The evening included dinner and dancing. A raffle was also a part of the event. The Harmonic Four performed jazz throughout the evening.

Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco, Gino Gradkowski, Ed Dickson sign pledge to ban the “R” word

— Over 400 attendees arrived on site for Al Packer’s White Marsh Ford Casino Night on Saturday, May 18, 2013. They were greeted by Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD) athlete ambassadors, who were proudly donning various competition medals around their necks. The SOMD athlete ambassadors spent the evening mingling with guests in both the dealership showroom and the two tents containing casino game tables.

SOMD ambassadors were joined by a few other athletes— Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco, Gino Gradkowski and Ed Dickson who spent the evening shaking hands and smiling for photos with Ravens fans.

The Casino Night program recognized all athletes in attendance— those with SOMD and those with the Ravens. After a SOMD athlete and his mother shared their experiences, SOMD’s President/CEO, Jim Schmutz, educated the crowd on the use of the “R” word (“retard”) and how it is hurtful to those with intellectual disabilities; the population served by SOMD.

During the program, Flacco, Gradkowski, Dickson and other guests were invited to sign a pledge to ban the “R” word, and support the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. The goal of this campaign is to educate on the hurtfulness of the “R” word, no matter the context, and to remove it from people’s everyday vernacular.

“A woman came up to me and said ‘thank you for doing that,’” said Jim Schmutz, President & CEO at SOMD. “She responded by sharing that she uses the word “retard/retarded” all the time and never though anything of it. She grew up in the 70s and had no intent to offend anyone…she never will say this word again.”

Post-pledge signing, all of the athletes gathered together in General Manager Jerry Clark’s office for a group photo.

“My favorite part of the night was the interactions with Joe, Gino, and Ed back in my office,” said Jerry Clark, General Manager at Al Packer’s White Marsh Ford. The Special Olympics athletes clearly felt like rock stars, and isn’t that what it’s all about. People identify with a great charity and Special Olympics is definitely one of the best our store could hope to be involved in.”

This was the second annual Al Packer’s White Marsh Ford Casino Night, and a continuation of their support of SOMD. They also supported by sponsoring the MSP Polar Bear Plunge in January and the 2012 MDTA Tunnel Run.

Eleven-year-old Krissa Hillman pitches ‘sweet business’ to Warren Buffett

— Not every 11-year-old knows how to make cupcakes, and it’s rare that a pre-teen comes up with such a sweet idea to raise money to help other children learn to read. Krissa Hillman is an exception. The 11-year-old Bollman Bridge Elementary School fifth-grader is working with the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship to market her cupcakes in front of the rich and affluent, who may be able to help launch Krissa’s recipe.

“I’m so excited, that I’m shaking,” said Krissa, who dished out her goodies to a group of entrepreneurs at the Maryland Center on Friday, May 17, 2013.

Now, another opportunity of a lifetime has arrived.

Out of 4,000 children who range in age from seven to 16 who entered Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club’s, “Learn and Earn, Grow Your Own Business Challenge,” Krissa was selected to tell her story to Buffet on Monday, May 20, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska. If selected by Buffett, Krissa will win $5,000 to help start her “Cupcakes for Literacy” business.

The Buffett challenge is a national competition seeking to help young entrepreneurs cultivate smart habits financially and it encourages young people to come up with unique new business concepts.

“Not everyone gets a chance to do this,” said Krissa, who will compete with four other students to win Buffett’s challenge. “I was like, it’s a one in a billion chance because there are so many great ideas and the fact that he picked mine really kind of touches my heart,” she said.

Krissa said she created her cupcake business in order to benefit reading programs, libraries and local schools. “Literacy is a big part of life. You have to read everything,” Krissa said. “So, what better way to help people understand that through something everyone likes?”

Entrepreneurs and leaders at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) in Columbia, Maryland gave vital feedback to Krissa as she prepared to deliver her pitch to Buffett, the famous business magnate, investor and philanthropist who is widely considered the most successful investor of his time.

“Our role is to steer entrepreneurs in the right direction, but also give them what they need to sustain a business,” said Julie Lenzer Kirk, executive director of the MCE. “With Krissa, we want to give her all the support she needs and let her know that we will be there for her every step of the way.

For Krissa, the idea began after her mother purchased a cupcake recipe book for her at a school book sale. “Six years ago, I made a website called Storytime with Krissa to upload videos of her reading aloud,” Krissa’s mother, Sabrina Wilson said. “When she got the cupcake book, we decided to put a new spin on it.”

During a bake sale for a parent-teacher conference, Krissa was able to raise $258 during a six-hour period. She gave the money to the school’s library.

“It all sounds like something only someone high up in the business world would get to do,” Krissa said. “I get to meet Warren Buffett.”

Happy Mommy Day!

Hello everyone; “HAPPY MOMMY DAY” to all the mothers and mothers to be, this is your weekend. What a special day this is. We are on this earth because of the mommies, (well the daddies had a little something to do with it), but the mother is the one that should be celebrated. If you are fortunate enough to still have your mother above ground, Honey Child, cherish it. My mother passed away in 2001 and I still miss her, I know many of you feel the same way. When my mother passed away, I remember saying, “Lord, who will pray for me now.” So folks, take time out of your schedule to spend time with the woman who brought you into this world or the person who has been like a mother to you. To anyone who has recently lost their mother, you are in my prayers. The memories will never go away. Just think of the good times you had with her.

I have a few suggestions where you can take your mother and family this weekend, depending on your taste. You can plan a festive dinner at home and have the children do all the cooking for a change. Or you can gather the family and go to a drive-in movie theatre. You might have known this, but I just discovered recently that there is still a drive-in movie theatre in Baltimore, called Bengies and it is out of sight! Just like the old days. This movie theatre is celebrating 58 years of continuous operation. That is amazing! I thought sure that all the drive-Ins were obsolete! Bengies Drive-In Movie Theatre is located 3417 Eastern Boulevard. Call 410-687-5627 for more information.

Or maybe a Bull & Pork Roast might suit your fancy. “Friends of Boy Scout Troupe 615” is hosting one on Saturday, May 11 at the Church of the Resurrection, 3175 Paulskirk Drive in Ellicott City, Maryland from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It is buffet style all you can eat. There will have live bands and DJ’s for your entertainment, adult gaming, wine, beer and sodas on sale, silent auction, door prizes and much more. For ticket information, call Teresa at 410-465-8637. I will see you there.

You can hang out with the Mason’s Brothers, John A. Holmes Lodge #89, PHA with their Annual Mother’s Day Bull and Oyster Roast on Saturday May 11, 2013 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. at the Forum Caters, 4210 Primrose Avenue. This event is open bar and buffet with renowned comedian as M.C., Rickey “The Real Deal” Shackleford and music provided by DJ Tanz. For ticket information, call David Beatty at 443-546-7362.

If you want to take your mom out early in the day, this is a suggestion. The Champagne Room, located 2701 W. Patapsco Avenue is hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 12 from 12 to 3 p.m. with a delicious hot & cold buffet; live entertainment provided by Baltimore’s own Rollex Band with a special tribute to their former leading vocalist, the late “Barretta,” who passed away this year. Sounds like fun! For ticket information, call 410-644-3434 or go to

You can hang out with the Mason’s Brothers, John A. Holmes Lodge #89, PHA with their Annual Mother’s Day Bull and Oyster Roast on Saturday May 11, 2013 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. at the Forum Caters, 4210 Primrose Avenue. This event is open bar and buffet with renowned comedian as M.C., Rickey “The Real Deal” Shackleford and music provided by DJ Tanz. For ticket information, call David Beatty at 443-546-7362.

If you want to take your mom out early in the day, this is a suggestion. The Champagne Room, located 2701 W. Patapsco Avenue is hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 12 from 12 to 3 p.m. with a delicious hot & cold buffet; live entertainment provided by Baltimore’s own Rollex Band with a special tribute to their former leading vocalist, the late “Barretta,” who passed away this year. Sounds like fun! For ticket information, call 410-644-3434 or go to

For the young at heart, a “Big Mother’s Day Tribute to Motown Legends” will be featured on Sunday May 12, 2013 at 5 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre located at 1215 U Street NW in Washington, D.C. featuring The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards; Delfonics, The Dynamic Superiors and JR Walker’s All-star Band. For tickets or more information, call: 202-328-6000 or Ticketmaster: 202-432-SEAT (7328).

There are a couple of things, I want to bring to your attention, the first is that the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund, Inc. is having a membership drive and we are looking for men and women who are interested in helping underprivileged children who are gifted in music, singing or playing an instrument. Also, if you know someone who has a child that is gifted in singing or playing an instrument between the ages of five and 17 years old anywhere in the state of Maryland, email Dr. Donna Hollie at or call: 410-323-4927 for an application or you can go to our website;

The second thing I want to tell you is that I have finished my second book and my publisher has it as I speak. It goes to print this week. I should have my book called, “African American Community, History & Entertainment in Maryland: Remembering the Yesterdays, 1940-1980” in my hands and it will be available at major bookstores, as well as online by the end of this month. I will keep you informed. I am so excited about this project.

Well folks, it is about tat that time, I am out of space. If you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Jennifer Hudson might return to ‘Idol’ as a judge

— It sounds like “American Idol” is far more interested in sticking with old friends than making new ones.

After rumors that the show wants Jennifer Lopez to return to the judges’ table – which is now missing Randy Jackson and potentially might lose more – come new reports that the production team also has its eye on Jennifer Hudson.

The former “Idol” contestant didn’t win during her season but she has gone on to become a pretty big deal, so she’s certainly qualified – and The Wrap reports that she’s in negotiations to join the series.

In addition to Hudson, reports suggest that the Fox show is hoping to bring back more than one former “Idol” star, with names like Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken being mentioned.

Fox isn’t giving specifics about what’s to come, and thus it also isn’t clear what’s going to happen to Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj or Keith Urban, who just joined the show last year. After all, the network’s entertainment chairman, Kevin Reilly, told press on a recent conference call that “everything’s on the table.”

Jackson, the last original “Idol” judge attached to the program, announced his departure in early May.


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Doctor raises money for obstetric fistula surgeries

— It’s a condition practically unheard of in the United States and most Western countries. But in a culture where a woman’s status and dignity is decided by her ability to provide a husband with multiple children, it can be a fate worse than death.

“Obstetric fistula” is a mouthful. But to these women, it’s much more than just a physical injury. They see themselves as the walking dead, says Dr. Justin Paluku Lussy, head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

An obstetric fistula occurs when a woman withstands days of obstructed labor, when a baby’s head is constantly pushing against her pelvic bone during contractions — preventing blood flow and causing tissue to die.

This creates a hole, or a “fistula,” between a woman’s vagina and her bladder or rectum. Her baby is unlikely to survive. If the mother lives, she is unable to hold her urine and, in some cases, bowel content, Paluku Lussy says.

A woman with a fistula, who is perpetually leaking urine and sometimes feces, is often rejected by her husband and shunned by her village because of her foul smell and inability to bear more children.

“These women have so much shame and so much fear. They spend so much money on perfume trying to cover up the smell,” says Alison Heller, a doctorate student at Washington University in St. Louis who is leading a research study of 50 women in Niger awaiting fistula surgery. The women range in age from 15 to 70.

An estimated 20% of Paluku Lussy’s fistula patients report feeling ostracized by their communities, and divorce is common, says the doctor, who started his residency in 2001 at HEAL Africa, a 155-bed tertiary hospital with a fistula repair unit.

“People think fistula patients are witches and just have bad luck,” he says.

Although an estimated 2 million women in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa live with untreated obstetric fistula, according to the Fistula Foundation, it’s unlikely for these women to meet or hear of anyone else suffering from the same injuries, because of the lack of modern forms of communication and also the women’s reluctance to discuss the condition, Heller says.

In most cases, a woman with a fistula doesn’t know what a fistula is or that it’s treatable with surgery. And if she does, she is far from any hospital and doesn’t have money for — or access to — transportation, let alone the average $450 cost for repair surgery plus postoperative care.

One of the youngest in Heller’s study, a 15-year-old girl who was married off to her uncle at age 8, spent eight months selling bags of candied peanuts in order to raise enough money to pay for a taxi so she could get to a fistula center.

Such concerns are foreign concepts to most Westerners, says Dr. Lewis Wall, a professor of obstetrics and anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. That’s because obstetric fistulas were largely eradicated from the United States by the 20th century, with strides in prenatal care and the use of cesarean section.

But pregnancy complications and childbirth are among the leading causes of death and disability for African women, Wall says.

Typical West African hospitals do not have the trained staff or resources to identify and treat fistulas, Heller says.

“Habsu,” one 32-year-old woman in Heller’s study, contracted a fistula in her ninth pregnancy and has had three previous surgeries, all of which have failed. During the latest pregnancy, she was in labor for several days at home in a rural village before receiving medical care. Like many African women, she was malnourished and her pelvic bones were too small for a natural birth.

After hours of unsuccessful labor and not knowing how to perform a cesarean, the doctors used a scalpel to sever the baby inside the woman’s birth passage. Over the next few days, the mother delivered her baby, piece by piece, Heller says.

Another West African woman in Heller’s study, “Amina,” also has a severe fistula but only leaks when she sits down. After the seated interview with Heller, Amina apologized, saying she would leak urine once she stood up.

“It was as if a gallon of water was thrown to the ground,” Heller says. “She was so ashamed.”

Many Africans — both educated and uneducated — believe there is no cure for fistulas, Paluku Lussy says. When he was in medical school at the University of Goma, he says, “they used to tell us not to even try to fix them.”

But, he says, that’s not the case. Fistulas can be repaired with delicate surgery, which has a fairly good success rate. However, surgeons must be well-trained in the principles of the operation, and good follow-up care is essential so the surgery won’t fail. Patients with more severe fistulas may need multiple surgeries.

Although he is a full-time professor, Wall last year opened the Danja Fistula Center in Niger, a 42-bed hospital specializing in fistula repair surgeries with an operating room, outpatient clinic and hostel facilities for about 100 women.

Since opening the fistula center, Wall estimates the facility has taken on 50 fistula cases per month.

But it’s very difficult to get trained staff to run a fistula hospital, because of the lack of available education in Africa, he says. Fistula centers rely on donations and cannot afford to hire American gynecologic surgeons.

But even they aren’t ideal candidates for the job — since they never see fistula in their own country, they have no experience with it, he says. It’s best to have the institution run by locals trained specifically in fistula repair surgery and care.

Those who want to help should focus on spreading the word — awareness is key, he says. Thursday is the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula; the United Nations Population Fund will host a variety of events to raise awareness.

That’s true for Washington resident Olivia Bowen. She had never heard of obstetric fistula until she read a book featuring a detailed story of an African woman with the condition. Bowen was shocked at how affordable fistula repair surgery is, by Western standards.

Bowen started a fundraiser called “One Week to End Fistulas,” which raises money for repair surgeries for underprivileged women who otherwise lack access. She asks that participants practice yoga daily for a week and raise enough money for one woman to have fistula repair surgery.

“I’m not a runner. I do yoga. So it’s something that just came naturally to me,” Bowen says.

So far, participants have raised about $2,250, or enough to fund five surgeries.

Bowen, who is in the process of making the fundraiser a nonprofit organization, says she hopes to help women who have already developed fistula, while the bigger organizations tackle other issues such as poverty, maternal health and human rights. Ultimately, she says, fistula is not just a women’s issue; it’s a human issue.


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Should baby killers be executed?


Gregory Kane

There are baby killers among us. At least one, possibly three, of them killed little Carter Scott.

Carter was only 16-months-old. He was sitting in a red Chevy with his father, Rashaw Scott, at Cherry Hill’s Cherrydale Apartments around 7 p.m. the evening of May 25, 2013.

According to police and news reports, at least two gunmen, possibly three, riddled the car with at least 16 bullets. Both Carter and his father were hit.

The little boy died of his wounds. If those who committed this heinous act were indeed guilty, what would be the problem with executing them, these baby killers?

Well, our governor and most of our state legislators apparently have a big problem with it. The Legislature passed a bill to abolish capital punishment earlier this year, and Gov. Martin O’Malley was only too eager to sign the bill into law.

Oh, they felt quite noble about themselves. When the bill was passed, legislators cheered and clapped and patted themselves on the back.

NAACP head honcho Benjamin Todd Jealous could be seen in the throng, helping to lead the cheering. Abolishing the death penalty in Maryland was high on the NAACP’s agenda this year.

A question for Jealous: what are you going to do for little Carter Scott and his surviving relatives?

There’s no need for him to answer, because you know, I know and HE knows he’s going to do exactly jack diddly. So are those legislators. So is O’Malley.

Have you noticed the lack of outrage, the eerie silence coming from the abolish-the-death-penalty crowd about the death of little Carter?

Back when they were whooping and hollering to deep six the death penalty— in other words, back when they were all celebrating “Be Kind to the Homicidal Month”— we couldn’t get these people to shut the hell up.

Now a 16-month-old baby has been gunned down on Baltimore’s streets and all we get from these folks is their best Harpo Marx routine.

Perhaps that’s because they’re at their most eloquent when they’re advocating FOR criminals, instead of condemning them.

While our legislators have spent the last couple of years figuring out how to prevent murderers from getting their just desserts, two suspects in little Carter’s murder were running up quite the arrest record.

The two suspects that have been arrested and charged so far are 26-year-old Cornell Harvey and 20-year-old Eddie Tarver.

A visit to the website: reveals the arrest record for each.

It appears Harvey was the busier of the two, racking up arrests on charges of drug possession, robbery, armed robbery, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm with a felony conviction, illegal carrying of a handgun.

In May of 2011, Harvey was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder but found not guilty.

Tarver’s record includes arrests for second-degree assault, drug possession and a handgun violation.

Both Harvey and Tarver are entitled to a presumption of innocence in the death of little Carter. But, if they’re convicted, given their criminal history and the nature of the crime— baby killing— what would be the reason why they SHOULDN’T be executed?

The death penalty isn’t a deterrent— opponents of it love to argue. But the argument has several flaws.

First, the death penalty is meant to be a PUNISHMENT, not a deterrent. That’s why it’s called the “death PENALTY,” not the “death DETERRENT.”

Second, the death penalty most certainly deters murderers from murdering again. Some of those on death row aren’t there for their first murders, but for, at the very least, their second.

The death penalty for career criminals who’ve committed more than one murder is justice, not, as opponents of capital punishment love to proclaim, “revenge.”

If Harvey and Tarver did indeed kill little Carter, then justice will elude them, courtesy of our governor and our Legislature.

The food and the fun that define a glorious summer

— When the weather warms, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities to enjoy, which means there’s also a bounty of summer fare to eat. From the traditional to the intriguing, you never know what interesting food choices you may find while out and about. What better way to kick off summer than with a few fun activities that pair good times with the foods that define the season?

Try these ideas for fun and fantastic food to maximize your summer months:

  • The food truck scene

The fun: Summer is prime season for food trucks— this trendy, quick-dining option allows you to explore different flavors while on the move. Do a little online research to find out where your city’s best food trucks like to set up shop – they tend to frequent parks, gardens and even busy city blocks. Whether you grab the kids for some playground action or just want to spend your lunch hour relaxing outdoors, food trucks can be a big hit.

The food: If you think you’ll be limited to fries and burgers, you are mistaken. The sky is the limit when it comes to food truck cuisine. From spicy tacos, to authentic Italian dishes, to delicate crepes— favorite food trucks develop quite a following. Fear the spills of eating on the go? Pack a few “Tide to Go” stain erasers. These powerful, disposable pads are small enough to fit in your wallet or purse, and can quickly eliminate any unintended drips so you always look your best.

  • The beach and the boardwalk

The fun: If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean or a lake or if you’re visiting one on vacation, the ultimate in summer fun is easily within reach. The sand, the sun and the water are some of the best parts of the summer months, so slather on some sunscreen, grab your towel and a few tunes, and head to the beach.

The food: Classic boardwalk food

Hot summer days at the beach call for cool, sweet treats. Hit up the boardwalk and you’re sure to find a variety of frosty concoctions. Sip on a colorful slushy or fruit smoothie. Lick your way through a creamy cone or refreshing frozen treat. You might even find frozen fruit kabobs, an icy treat packed with vitamins.

  • Festivals, fairs and fields

The fun: Big outdoor gatherings are great ways to spend a summer day. Whether you’re heading to see your favorite bands at an outdoor music festival, visiting the state fair to see the animal exhibits, or cheering on your favorite baseball team, you’ll find plenty of activities and memory-making potential.

The food: Festivals, fairs and ball fields are all known for good food – people not only need to stay fueled for these all-day events, they also want to indulge in a few special treats. So grab those salty fries, crispy corn dog, or sugar-dusted mini donuts – you only live once, right?

  • Picnics and barbecues

The fun: Whether impromptu or formally planned, picnics and barbecues with friends are a welcome part of summer. People of all ages enjoy socializing casually outdoors, playing classic yard games and of course, indulging in grilled delights. Planning a gathering? Have everyone bring an outdoor game or food to share to cut down on hosting hassles.

The food: The grill is the focal point of any picnic or outdoor party. Whether it’s ribs, chicken or brisket, saucy barbecue is the star of the show. Add some fresh grilled veggies and you have a meal that will be quickly devoured.

Summer fun paired with fantastic food is the perfect combination to create long-lasting memories. So get out and enjoy some of your city’s events, or call a few friends over for a patio party. Then Tweet to share the foods and fun activities you’re enjoying during the long, beautiful summer days.