LETTERS

Wednesday, March 26, 2014: Orrington gun club, competitive health care, Common Core

Posted March 25, 2014, at 10:10 a.m.

Bang, bang

We want to respond to questions regarding recent stray bullets threatening folks in Orrington. Following an investigation, the Perkins family can report the following: There is no admission from the gun club of issues with bullets escaping the range.

The Perkins family asks Orrington residents to imagine what they would think if bullets threatened them or others on their property and no one was found responsible.

Here are the facts regardless of how the Jan. 30 incident was represented to the public:

Fact 1: Five high-powered bullets flew past the head of a man working on Perkins property around noon.

Fact 2: Landowner Jerry Perkins was called by the logger, and Orrington law enforcement was notified.

Facts 3, 4, 5: The logger informed the officer of flying bullets, saying he feared for his life and ducked behind his machine. He had not realized a gun range was nearby. GPS and Google verify the range is in direct line of flight with the log yard and Perkins property 900 yards away. The range abuts Perkins property.

Fact 6: Two individuals were target shooting at the club at the exact time of the reported incident. One individual was firing a high-powered rifle.

Fact 7: No one else was shooting a rifle in the vicinity that morning. Where could these bullets come from?

Jerry Perkins

Orrington

Really simple

It is a widespread misconception that capitalism, or the forces of our marketplace, can solve our health care problems. Capitalism, by definition, is the act of voluntary exchange. The word voluntary makes it ethical and is considered virtuous because it creates value. Most businesses in the U.S. were built on this framework and, when done correctly and consciously, work pretty well.

For this reason, it would be logical to assume this model could be applied to the health care system with success. This assumption is faulty, however, due to one key difference. The consumption of most health services isn’t voluntary. It’s necessary for our well-being.

These services should, therefore, be considered a basic human right, as essential to our welfare as food and water. A competitive, for-profit insurance framework will never be financially successful and is grossly unethical.

Nicole Chasse

Fort Kent

American workers

It’s hard to take a job loss when we all know we are productive and turn ourselves inside out to do what each owner or management team wants from us. It’s not our failure that led to this.

Some of us have shut down Dexter, Hathaway, San Antonio Shoe and Lemforder Corp., just to name a few.

We are the 99 percent. Our lives are shaped by Wall Street and the 1 percent’s desire not for a good, profitable company that employs Americans and makes quality products, but for piling money higher. There is no pride among the 1 percent that they can make a profit and keep Americans off welfare.

In the cafeteria we have to watch Fox News every day because we can’t change the channel. The servants of the 1 percent sit on their butts yammering that the poor are just lazy, that unemployment checks are welfare, and we shouldn’t tax corporations that send jobs offshore to take care of the people they put out of work. They tell us to vote Republican.

Meanwhile the 1 percent are in their board rooms strategizing how to put more “lazy Americans” out of work. They get tax deductions for the expenses incurred for the move, which include the offers we have been given. Think about the size of that tax deduction.

Ask yourself whether you should vote more often and who you should vote for. Who will you vote for in this fall’s election? The former millworker, or the former CEO of Mardens who would like to get rid of the minimum wage and put 12-year-olds to work in factories, so we can accelerate our transformation into a third-world nation? A man whose only action to help us was to put up a sign on Somerset Avenue calling Pittsfield a “business friendly” community?

Donna Twombly

Pittsfield

Curriculum and standards

I commend Haley Taranko for her concern about education in her March 18 letter to the editor, “Mental Math.” Unfortunately, she has fallen prey to a common misunderstanding: confusing curriculum and standards. Common Core State Standards are just that — standards. They describe what students are supposed to learn. They set goals. They do not describe a school’s curriculum. Standards do not define how things are taught or what materials are used.

For instance, the standards call for fifth grade students to learn about graphing using real world data. The material used to teach graphing — textbooks, teacher-created material or data generated by the students themselves — and how that material is presented to the students is selected by the local school and classroom teacher. In Maine, curriculum is a local decision.

Clear standards are important because they help ensure that all students, no matter where they live, are prepared for success in college and the workforce. Our military leaders have identified common standards as an important part of improving the readiness of our young people to serve in the military. Standards are especially critical for children who move. Without standards, children who change schools, a frequent occurrence, are at a distinct disadvantage and develop gaps in their education.

Clear, consistent expectations are an advantage to students, families, teachers and taxpayers.

Virginia Mott

President, Maine Parent Teacher Association

Lakeville

Two cents worth

I’d like to comment on Ed Rice’s March 18 diatribe on these pages. Why would a sports team want to identify itself with an embarrassment or negative image?

By Rice’s reasoning, Skowhegan, Nokomis and Wells high schools are dumb enough to intentionally self-identify with such infamy. Then, I ask, why aren’t the San Francisco 49′ers named the Fruitcakes, or the Pittsburgh Steelers named the Pollocks, or the New York Giants named the Junkies or the Chicago Bears named the Teddy Bears? Because they respectively settled on the names of the 49′ers, Steelers, Giants and Bears because they wanted to project pride in their icons and instill respect in, if not fear from, their adversaries.

With the possible exception of the Mighty Ducks and the Dolphins, for whatever convoluted reasoning that drove them to choose those images, teams do not invite ridicule or disgust from the opposition. They want to project pride in their chosen mascot.

Why is it so hard for Rice to understand that? Choosing the name Indians is a point of honor and pride in associating with an entity that they admire.

Jerry Bono

Norridgewock

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