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June 15 Letters to the Editor

Chain gang solution

As I was reading the recent BDN article on the clutter at the residence on 18th Street, I got to thinking about the expense that it is going to impose on Bangor.

It is too bad that our state and the city of Bangor don’t use the labor of our inmates to clean up messes like that. It would make sense in many ways to bring back chain gangs and have them contribute to society as long as they are locked up. I am sure that it would help with road work and other areas that the state is having a difficult time affording to have repaired.

Hannah Tapley



Pro-life persuasion

The killing of George Tiller, the abortion doctor in Kansas, is very regrettable. Killing is not a pro-life activity. The killing has been condemned by every major pro-life organization, as it should be.

The goal of pro-life organizations is to try to persuade the public (especially “pro-choice” people) through education to support the protection of all human life from conception to natural death. This effort at persuasion has been fairly successful. For the first time since their polling on the issue began, a recent Gallup Poll found that over 50 percent of Americans now consider themselves to be “pro-life.” Included in the many converts to the pro-life side are Dr. Bernard Nathanson (a founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, who also presided over more than 50,000 abortions in New York City) and Norma McCorvey (the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion).

Persuasion and conversion have not only provided outstanding pro-life leaders like Nathanson and McCorvey, it has also allowed those involved in the killing of innocent human life to repent and some day face the creator of all human life free of the burden of their past actions.

Gerald E. Thibodeau



Irving exploitation

I’m writing about the news of Irving halting logging in Maine. Irving is not interested in fairness to the people of Maine. Their definition of fairness is having all the cards stacked in their favor. This law was passed to protect the people of Maine from this corporate bully. Not many people dare speak up for fear of retribution. I’ve seen this firsthand. Now Irving cries foul.

Since it has a monopoly on ownership of land and mills in this area, people’s livelihood has been threatened. They’ve closed down what used to be the biggest sawmill in the northeast and others. Now, most logs are being hauled to Canadian mills. Could this have been their strategy in the first place? What better time than now to blame the economy and our state laws, to pit the people against our representatives and each other for their selfish gain.

These people are careless with the truth. They are using the good people of Maine. They want the people of Maine to believe they are a good corporate neighbor. All deception. Most who have worked under their heavy hand know this.

Not only do I think this law should stand, I also believe legislation should be enacted to limit how many logs are hauled to Canada. These are our jobs being hauled away. Let’s hope the folks in Augusta have the backbone to make the right decisions.

Emile Levesque



On alcohol’s risks

The May 28 issue of the BDN carried an editorial about teens and drugs. While the editorial concluded that teens need accurate and honest information, it chose to point out a difference in the addictive properties of alcohol compared to heroin and oxycodone.

Unfortunately, the risks of alcohol use by youth are not limited to addiction. It’s a fact that youth are 6.5 times more likely to die in alcohol-related incidents than from all other drugs combined. A 2008 Surgeon General’s Report included these consequences of youth drinking; increased risk of carrying out or being a victim of a physical or sexual assault; it can lead to other problems like bad grades in school, run-ins with the law, and other drug use; it affects how well a young person judges risk and makes sound decisions; plays a role in risky sexual activity and can harm the brain especially when teens drink a lot.

A 2008 report issued by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention found that “among youth who drank alcohol, 32 percent also used marijuana, 23 percent sold drugs and 15 percent did both.”

Parents should be giving their children accurate information. We communicate well about the dangers of heroin and oxycodone, but as a community, we are doing a terrible job of communicating the risks associated with alcohol use by minors. And as long as we continue to talk about such use as “experimentation,” a “rite of passage,” or “at least they aren’t using heroin,” we put youth at risk.

Patrick Walsh



Silence matters

Words matter. Or so we are informed by a recent editorial “Weighing words” (BDN, June 5), which labors to place some of the blame for Dr. George Tiller’s death at the feet of Fox News and talk radio.

Thankfully, “if anyone knows [words matter], it is journalists,” who manage to condemn hate speech from the comfort of an ivory tower. Unfortunately, the same journalists seem numb to the concept that the inverse is proportionately powerful. The relative silence displayed by the national media after the shooting of William Long by Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad provides a sobering juxtaposition.

Within hours of Dr. Tiller’s death, pro-life groups such as Operation Rescue, the National Right to Life and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the killing. President Obama and Attorney General Holder issued statements expressing “shock” and “outrage,” yet they have remained quiet with regard to an act of domestic terrorism against the military.

According to the Arkansas Police, U.S. Army Pvt. William Andrew “Andy” Long and Army personnel were targeted by Mr. Muhammad for “ideological reasons” and “religious differences.” Pvts. Long and Quinton Ezeagwula were standing outside an Army recruiting office when Mr. Muhammad drove up, shot the two men and sped away. It would seem as if these “differences” were one-way traffic.

Perhaps the president and media are attempting to avoid confrontation with radical Islam rather than condemning its results; in which case, it would be best to heed the advice that words do matter, rather than remaining idle and oblivious to the fact that their silence is deafening.

Richard J. Malaby


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