May 21, 2018
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Monday, June 20: Stand against violence, consider Taiwan


Stand against violence

This week we had two horrible wake-up calls to society. First, we were horrified when a mother and her two children were murdered in their home in Dexter. Second, we witnessed the mayhem in Vancouver as disgruntled fans overturned vehicles and burned them.

We as a society can no longer stand by and tolerate violence. There were no excuses for German citizens who stood by while the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews and there are no excuses for us.

Take a stand against violence in any form! Yes, that takes courage; and often doing the right thing is the hard thing to do. But doing the right thing defines your character.

Michael Drake


Consider Taiwan

I read with interest Matthew Stremlau’s piece, “Go to China, young scientist” in the June 6 Bangor Daily News. While Mr. Stremlau pointed out many great opportunities for young scientists, one opportunity he left out was to come to Taiwan, where people enjoy the same democracy and freedom they do in the United States.

Taiwan is extremely committed to the development of scientific research. The government has allotted $732 million to invest in biotechnology in the coming years and plans to attract non-government investments of more than $1 billion.

Taiwan has worked to make its universities places where young minds can truly develop and where exciting research can take place. Among other things, a consortium of universities in Taiwan has inked memorandums of understanding with such schools as Harvard University, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Chicago and Imperial University in London.

These MOUs help send Taiwanese students to outstanding foreign universities while bringing bright young foreign minds to Taiwan’s schools, creating a melting pot of educations from across the globe.

Recently the Shanghai-based China Senior College Exhibition Organization Committee said Taiwanese universities are superior to those in mainland China’s in science, technology and biotechnology.

As young U.S. scientists search for the next step in their professional lives I encourage them to consider Taiwan as a place where they can grow their knowledge and develop their skills in a friendly environment. As Taiwan continues to grow scientific research and development within the country, more bright scientists can only be an asset for one another.

Steven Lai
Director, Information Division
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office


The system failed

The recent tragedy in Dexter brings to light so many problems with our system that is supposed to protect all from domestic violence.

There are those in the public eye making statements that only one is at fault and that is the man who pulled the trigger. Well to the District Attorney, the judges and attorneys involved, I respectfully disagree.

This man’s way was paved for the ultimate horrific act and to not take a look at how that happened and how to prevent it from happening again is a disservice to the residents of our state.

The system failed greatly and many have been affected. How do you know which threat will really result in violence? It is easy; you assume they all will.

When protection from abuse orders are violated, even once, it is a clear sign that someone is in danger. How many more lives will need to be lost before people stand up and demand stronger laws to prevent acts of violence? This was a senseless act that did not need to happen. Amy did everything she could to keep herself and her children safe. The system failed her. For shame!

Kim Woods


Justice delayed, denied

Perhaps if the trial for Steven Lake had not been put off for a year, the entire situation might have ended differently. In cases of alleged domestic abuse/violence, the ongoing emotional and financial stress only makes matters worse for everyone.

Not to cast aspersions on anyone, but no one benefits from such a delay except the attorneys and the court system. It doesn’t cost the prosecution or the courts anything to delay and delay. However, defense attorneys charge by the hour and every delay creates more billable hours – charged to the defendant. From all reports in the BDN, the man lost his business and contact with his children before he was able to present his side in a courtroom.

At the same time, the woman and children have no real protection with restraint orders and everything may appear a threat. In the heat of a situation things get ratcheted up.

A court delay only exacerbates the problem. The phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” applies in more than one way in this terrible situation. It is not difficult to believe this tragedy might have been averted if “liberty and justice for all” hadn’t been delayed for a year.

Rusty Gagnon


The victim’s perspective

I just hung up the phone after talking with yet another woman who is a survivor of domestic violence who is terrified anew both because of the facts of the Lake family murders and the ensuing news coverage. Her exact words were: “Do they care that they may be signing a death warrant for me and my children?”

As the executive director of The Next Step Domestic Violence Project, I share the grief and pain of all who will miss Amy, Coty and Monica Lake and Steven, too. However, I am sick at heart when I read that anyone — for whatever reason — can find a way to justify any murders, much less such brutal, callous, calculated murders of three innocent people.

Abusers take comfort from these justifications, and may even be convinced to act on their own twisted thoughts. Victims cringe, because they know or suspect what their abusers are thinking. They are terrified because the system did not save Amy and her children.

We can no longer help the Lakes, but we all have a part to play in preventing future tragedies. First and foremost, we must all refuse to believe or even publicize excuses for domestic abuse, and particularly for murder. We must stop blaming the victims.

Please call the state domestic violence hotline number:1-866-834-4357 to talk to your local project to find out what you can do to help.

Laurie Fogelman

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