Letters to the Editor for April 30

Posted April 29, 2009, at 5:24 p.m.

End child abuse

Life in a recession is difficult for everyone. In some cases, people lose their jobs, their homes, their savings and per-haps their self-worth. As a po-lice chief, I have seen good, law-abiding people pushed to the breaking point. Sometimes, the increased stress and pressure have led to shorter tempers and reduced patience, resulting in the inadvertent abuse of an innocent child.

Child abuse doesn’t just affect the child being abused; it affects entire families and communities. But we have learned how to prevent many incidents of abuse. Voluntary home visiting services send professionals to help parents learn about the health and development needs of their children, as well as help parents learn techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.

With home visiting, we can help kids and parents avoid life-altering trauma, and help the children grow up to be well-adjusted, productive citizens. Violence breeds violence. If children are physically or men-tally abused or are neglected, they are more likely to become abusers later in life.

That’s why the more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, including more than 120 law enforcement lead-ers in Maine, urge our congressional delegation to support the budget proposal to increase federal funding for home-visiting programs. I also per-sonally encourage everyone else to support home-visiting programs so that the voices of abused children can be heard, and the tragic results of child abuse can be eliminated.

Ronald K. Gastia

Chief of Police

Bangor

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Bo needs a walk

I fear world peace is “on hold” permanently, yet pets and people will, understandably, have to seek relief on a daily basis regardless. I’m referring, of course, to Colbert King’s delightful piece titled “World peace can wait if Bo needs a walk” (BDN, April 21). His ad-monition to President Obama to make sure Bo, the newly acquired pet dog in the White House, gets a daily “relief” walk is, for us pet lovers, perfectly understandable, but I’m glad it was shared with BDN readers.

My favorite section? “Commander in chief, world leader, master of all you survey — that you may be. But when Bo needs a trip to the South Lawn, put world peace on hold, sir, and take that dog for a walk.” While the rest of the world may not be able to do so, at least Bo will find the relief he searches for.

Ralph P. Pettie

Blue Hill

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Lobster trap stimulus

In reference to the April 15 front page article about ghost lobster traps, I would like to address the proposal to use part of Maine’s stimulus money to remove these traps from the coastal waters. In the best of circumstances, this is a good idea. However, under our present position, I feel this money could stimulate our economy more efficiently.

In the first place, Maine laws require all lobster traps to be fitted with biodegradable escape vents. Therefore, in about 10 months all traps become nonfunctional. But, more to my point, couldn’t this money be used to better advantage by creating a job growth industry that will give permanent jobs to our people? For example, in-stead of shipping our lobsters to Canada, invest in a lobster and shrimp processing plant to employ workers over a long period of time, thus keeping the proceeds of our resources here in Maine.

Edna Grindle

Brooksville

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Supports gay marriage

I am a very lucky 65-year-old man who has been married to the same woman for 43 years. Over the years, I have gotten to know several gay-lesbian people who had to hide that identity for sensitive employment.

My attitude has changed to-ward the gay population from just tolerance to a full acceptance of them, as just folks, like any neighbor. But gay marriage was still a hurdle for me. I wanted civil unions for them; I just felt the marriage label be-longed to straight people.

But, now I see that until gay-lesbians have the right to marry, they will not have full equality, and society will continue to discriminate against them. Civil unions as a com-promise is a half-hearted measure.

I attended a straight wedding years ago where the couple asked the gay person I knew well to perform the wedding ceremony. I remember thinking what a shame that this gay per-son, who had the legal right to perform the marriage, did not have an equal right to marry his gay partner.

I have been involved with a church softball league for 37 years. The league has many denominations, and although there are many differences in ministry style and beliefs, I have always cherished the reverence and tolerance all groups showed toward one another.

I wish the church community would become more tolerant of the gay population, who are just folks deserving full equality.

Gary E. Larkin

Bangor

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