Frederick County, Maryland, USA. It’s a relatively normal place…normal being relative anywhere, I suppose. It’s home to about 235,000 souls, and is roughly 670 square miles in area. You can drive from one end of the county to another in under 30 minutes, whether it’s north-south or east-west.
I’ve call FredCo home for 13 years now. As with most who moved here in the 90’s, it was the only place in the Baltimore/Washington corridor where we could afford a larger house with a yard.
But FredCo has within its borders something that sets it apart from other mostly rural counties in Maryland. Just outside of Thurmont, a mere 15 minute drive from the city of Frederick, is a little place called Camp David. And, suddenly, this weekend Frederick County is on the map.
This morning a few G-8 protesters were gathering in Thurmont, painting signs and gathering on street corners to share their thoughts about world affairs.
Richard Ochs and Donna Plamondon, two members of Occupy Baltimore, expected to be joined by about a dozen others from their group. They prepared signs near the Weis grocery at the southern end of the city.
Outdoors, reporters and law enforcement outnumbered residents and protesters before 11 a.m. Protesters said they had no plans to be destructive, but wanted to let government officials know that they are dissatisfied with the status quo. Nine Occupy New Haven members arrived by car after camping nearby.
Barbara Barbe was out front of Brown’s Jewelry & Gift store watching the morning’s activity.
“Every other car’s a police car,” Barbe said.
She and police shared the opinion that all seemed to be calm and friendly under the sunny skies.
Notwithstanding the nonchalance of the local paper, the truth on the ground is that there is great deal of apprehension around FredCo. The local hospital is on high alert, with mandatory on-site staff presence and a makeshift triage – “just in case” – in the cafeteria. The local news-talk radio station is sending out special emails reminding listeners to tune to 930 AM for the latest information.
Anyone who has followed the news, even casually, over the past decade knows that a G-8 or G-20 summit usually means riots in the host city. I’m not sure where the protesters could riot in FredCo. Thurmont is a spec on the map, and Frederick city is not exactly Metropolis. Maybe they can meet at FSK Mall, or Baker Park. I dunno.
If anything of interest happens, I’ll make a follow-up post. Otherwise, you’ll know that it was just another ordinary, quiet weekend in the sticks.