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Friday, Aug. 2, 2013: Interpreting the bible, people with guns kill people

Give me a break

I suppose after reading the July 29 BDN story “ Mountain View youth center inmate’s jaw broken as part of ‘initiation,’ grandparents say,” I should have sympathy for the teenager. I see that he was given several opportunities to avoid incarceration and failed to take advantage of them. He is where he belongs and needs to take responsibility for his actions.

I noticed that staff claim they are unable to stop this bullying due to understaffing. They have 172 employees to look after 133 teenage inmates. Give me a break.

Gerald Doiron


River names

Reading the recent articles in the BDN about the removal of the Veazie dam and restoration of the river up to Old Town reminds me that we are talking about one of the places from which the name “Penobscot” comes.

According to Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, who literally wrote the book on Indian place names of the Penobscot Valley, the name, meaning “place of the descending rocks,” was particularly apt for some 10 miles of river between Bangor and Old Town. Here the river drops 100 feet over a series of transverse ledges, creating a series of rapids, falls and carries for travelers in canoes. The river itself was a rocky trench, with someone in a canoe unable to see beyond the immediate banks, at least before the woods were cut down.

So, as we celebrate the removal of the dam, let’s not forget that it isn’t just a restoration of just any stretch of the river. It is the section that eventually gave its name to the entire watercourse, including the bay beyond its mouth.

William A. Haviland

Deer Isle

Selective fundamentalism

I am responding to Michael Heath’s July 24 commentary in the BDN. Since “perversion” is a favorite word of Heath, he should understand its primary definition from the Oxford Dictionary: “The alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.”

For many Maine Christians like me, Heath’s vitriol toward lesbian, gay and bisexual persons is a “perversion” of any reasonable interpretation of the Bible. His bullying of a transgender individual is a reprehensible “perversion” of the principle of love of God and neighbor.

Heath and others like him are “selective” fundamentalists. They have convinced themselves, and would have people believe, that they are unwavering in their adherence to Scripture, interpreted in the strictest literal sense. Ordained 31 years, I have never met a true fundamentalist.

Selective fundamentalists like Heath find a group to hate. Then they use a Bible passage to support their view. This is about hate and not responsible biblical scholarship. When one reads Heath’s hurtful and baseless rant in this paper about a trans person in a women’s shelter, it’s easy to get the picture.

The Rev. Dr. William M. Barter

Pastor, St. Ansgar Lutheran Church


‘OK Corral’ mentality

What exactly was George Zimmerman protecting himself from? The fact that he stalked, confronted, fought with and shot Trayvon Martin to death? Reading letters to the editor, the most curious and furious writers insist, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” The truth of the matter is, “People with guns kill people.” Not quite the rhetorical National Rifle Association-malarky-fed “facts” of lore.

The “OK Corral” mentality in the United States is out of whack. In the gun responsibility and safety debate for “the rest of us,” there is a failure to acknowledge human foibles, including alcohol, drugs, hormones, unbridled anger, itchy fingers and “stand your ground” rhetoric.

Guns. Guns. Guns. If no one had them, men could stop communicating with war, violence, rape and intolerance. I wish it for “humanity.” Humanity is in quotes because sometimes I wonder if there is such a concept.

The universe is watching. It watches as humans, the ultimate predator, kill all other predators of Earth. It watches hunters and trappers set sadistic leg-hold traps for bear, bobcats, beaver, the neighbor’s dog and cats, and coyotes.

In the words and memory of 9-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed at the Boston Marathon finish line, in a poster he made after Martin was killed: “No more hurting people. Peace.” That goes for Zimmerman, too.

Jackie Freitas



Fair and balanced

A quote from the July 27 BDN article “[Senate President Justin] Alfond attacks new Portland charter school for aligning with ‘extreme organization’” reads: “Alfond told the Bangor Daily News on Friday that he is troubled by Baxter Academy aligning itself with the conservative think tank, which formerly employed Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and other past and current members of Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.”

Why do I not see any outrage or attacks being levied toward our public schools being aligned with a most liberal entity, the Maine Education Association? How about “fair and balanced”? I don’t see it.

Fran Seamans


Celebration thanks

The seventh Maine Celtic Celebration was a huge success, with fantastic music and entertaining games, despite some adverse weather. On behalf of the board of directors, I’d like to sincerely thank all who contributed to that success.

I’ll start with the Bangor Daily News, a major media sponsor. Special thanks go to the BDN’s Kate Bielinski, who managed the publicity effort. The city of Belfast deserves our gratitude for such a perfect site and financial support for the fireworks. What could be more idyllic than listening to great music all day and watching fireworks after dark over beautiful Belfast Bay?

Next up for recognition are many local businesses and organizations who made sponsorship donations or provided goods and services. While there are too many to list individually, we appreciate each and every donation.

Volunteers are another group essential to the celebration. We thank the 100 or so folks who helped out before, during and after the celebration weekend. A huge amount of gratitude goes to all those who helped out during and after our mini-hurricane on Saturday. What appeared to be a major disaster instead became a moment of true community spirit.

Finally, our loudest thanks go to you who enjoyed the celebration and donated so generously. Thanks to you, we are already planning next year’s festivities.

Bob MacGregor

President, Maine Celtic Celebration board of directors


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