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Saturday/Sunday, June 18-19, 2011: Reporting, divorce and education

Stop the enabling

The reporting of the Dexter murders of two young children and their mother has me frustrated that our society goes straight to enabler mode when men abuse their family. We scramble to find a reason why he did it, and in doing so, we fail to see the self-centered hater who we have enabled and encouraged by making excuses for a father who murders his own children and their mother.

These are excuses from a local TV news station that young girls and boys are hearing, excuses that are ingredients in the formation of their ideas about what it means to be a man, and woman in relationship:

“The custody battle wore on the troubled relationship, making the murderer suicidal.”

“Monday, he finally snapped.”

“Upset that he couldn’t see his kids, and most recently his son’s 8th grade graduation.”

“You can only push a man so far.”

“Take away his kids, and he is a different man.”

“He was a broken man, he had a broken heart.”

“He couldn’t wait the four years it was going to take for them to become adults and he just lost his mind, went insane.”

He didn’t snap, he chose to seek vengeance on three helpless victims for a perceived injustice. He decided that his choice to hold his family hostage at gunpoint a year ago did not warrant the state’s protection from him.

I hope people will stop and consider if they are making excuses for someone they know. If so, can they see it justifies and encourages this kind of violence?

Jon Heath
Family Violence Project

Include kids in divorce law

I am a ninth grader at Mount Desert Island High School researching Maine’s divorce statute for a service learning project. This law states that children under 14 with divorced parents who share custody must have visitation schedules unless either parent is a convicted felon (or is proven to have been doing something illegal to the child). I am a child of divorce living in a combined family. I’m lucky that I’m 14 and can make some decisions regarding visits with my father, but others aren’t so fortunate.

I respect the right of a parent to have an ongoing relationship with their child, but Maine’s statute means that the children miss friends and special events. The biggest problem, though, is that the child is being forced into visitation and their feelings are being disregarded. One section of the law says that the court shall consider: “All other factors having a reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child.” Shouldn’t this mean that that child should have a voice in visitation schedules?

Kids are stakeholders in divorce, too, and our opinions should be respected. We need a divorce statute with guidelines that protect children’s choices regarding visitation.

Please contact state legislators to express opinions on this important issue.

Emma Soucek
Bar Harbor

We’re blushing

I want to let you know how very much we enjoy our Bangor Daily News each day. We look forward to our morning newspaper delivery as much as we do our first cup of coffee.

Living as we do in such a remote area, it never ceases to amaze us that we still have home delivery. Despite some really awful weather, the paper arrives come rain, come shine or Nor’easter — just like a faithful friend.

Newspapers bring stories from near and far — some make us cry, some make us laugh and some make us bristle, but they all make us better-informed citizens. When I taught TV production, some of our most interesting projects were inspired by stories we read in the Bangor Daily News.

We also have the Internet, but there is nothing quite like the joy and excitement of seeing a story, of holding it in our hands and of being able to show it and share it with a loved one.

And in that spirit, I am going to suggest that for anyone still struggling to think of a Father’s Day gift or a birthday present for Mom, there’s no better gift than a daily newspaper — a present that may be enjoyed every day of the year.

Thanks so much to the wonderful writers, photographers, columnists and cartoonists who enrich our lives, who are there witnessing events for us, and who sometimes risk their lives to bring us the news. From the editor to the newspaper deliverer, we owe you a debt for your diligence and dedication. Thank you!

Brenda Nasberg Jepson
Madawaska Lake

Weiner got no help

The criticism from both sides of the aisle pressuring Anthony Weiner to resign were thoughtless and uncaring. As a result, a good elected official is no longer in office.

This man seems to have a sexual addiction and is being treated like he is a pariah. If he were an alcoholic or addict, his friends would suggest he get some therapy and go to rehab. Instead, his peers distanced themselves from him because of the fear of being tainted by the same brush.

There are many members of Congress who have problems similar to Rep. Weiner’s, and each member of Congress should help and support one another to get the help needed.

Marianne Sacknoff
Stockton Springs

Best and brightest

In response to the criticism of Stearns High School, I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Mattimore’s comments. Obviously he knows not of what he speaks. I have two sons who graduated from Stearns and went on to graduate from good colleges and they both have good jobs and are productive members of society, as did many of their classmates. They can add, subtract and carry on intelligent conversations with anyone, and look you in the eye while doing it. They don’t have pink hairdos or earrings in their noses, and they don’t need drugs.

There is more to a well-rounded education than being able to score well on some government standardized test that seeks to bring everyone to the lowest level, which Mr. Mattimore seems to put a lot of stock in. In the tie-dyed world of San Francisco where he taught for 10 years, maybe they need the government’s blessing because they aren’t able to think on their own, but had he gone to Stearns, he might know how things are in the real world.

I feel the graduates at Stearns are some of the brightest and best anywhere and I hope they are able to continue providing a great education for their students.

Randall Comber

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