Dangerous people walk among us
I am a retired psychiatrist. Like the vast majority of the American population, I am horrified by the slaughter of 26 innocent people in Texas, and I feel compassion for the pain of their families.
Professionals recognize there is very little in the way of treatment for the 3 percent of men and 1 percent of women who are somewhere on the spectrum of having an antisocial personality disorder. I am not reassured by the small numbers.
Many of them are not in prison. Like us, they walk in the street, they shop with us, they go to the movies, they look “normal,” they may even be charming and apparently “socially adjusted.” Like all of us, they sometimes feel bored, angry, or have resentful thoughts.
Like many of us, they feel the thrill of power when they hold a gun. They may even feel turned on by the “accomplishments” of Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas and Devin Kelly in Texas. They may think, “I could do better than they did.”
When they feel depressed (the most dangerous phase of their trouble), some feel and do not resist the temptation to kill as many people as possible, including themselves.
End of an era for women’s basketball
The end of an era passed quietly earlier this year as the Friends of Maine Women’s Basketball tenure was ended by changes implemented by the University of Maine Athletics Department. The Friends, as it was commonly called, came into full blossom under Coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie and continued until this past spring.
With Friends volunteers, the group raised thousands of dollars annually for the women’s basketball program. BBQs, lobster bakes, 50/50 raffles at home games, wine and cheese events, post-season events, bus trips to away games and tournaments, and many other activities raised money for the team. But the annual golf tournament was the most productive, typically raising thousands of dollars each year. The Friends also published a newsletter enjoyed by the players, parents and fans. Post-game receptions provided food and support for players, win or lose. Over the years, Friends enjoyed many opportunities to interact with these amazing young women on the team and many long-lasting friendships developed among Friends, players and their families.
As we begin the next UMaine women’s basketball season, the many former Friends members sense a great loss in their lives with the passing of the Friends group. We will continue to attend the women’s basketball games but without the Friends group it will not be the same for us; we will be simply spectators — fans in the stands.
Rich run the government
Global thinking nowadays is complicated by the disparity of environmental, economic and social problems. If they are considered nationally, at least in the United States, then consensus is impossible to reach because of the divisiveness and intractability of political parties.
The materialism that generates world commerce also fosters the greed that has resulted in de facto control of governments by the wealthy, who make sure that the politicians they control pass laws that enable their wealth to increase. The result is that the people are kept satisfied with a mediocre living standard and distracted by electronic toys so that there is little likelihood of an insurrection threatening the wealthy or the politicians they control.
We do not have a true democracy in the United States, for the wealthy control how and by whom most money for political campaigns may be raised and donated. Dishonesty, lies and unethical behavior skew the outcomes of elections. We have political and economic systems corrupted by wealth and a disregard for the rights of ordinary citizens.
It’s time to stop and take a look at the relationships of governments and the motives driving those who govern, what the future may hold for us, and what our personal involvement must be if the world is to achieve peace through the acceptance and advancement of human rights for everyone.
After we take the look, who is going to lead us out of our headlong rush into catastrophe? Certainly not Congress and the president. Who then?
Honor the fallen
As we reflect on the soldiers lost in the conflicts, I am always moved by those lost, and those who have placed their lives on the line each day. In my final year as president of the School Administrative District 1 board, I contacted the National Park Service and got permission to erect a plaque at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Gehrig Johnson had the graphic arts students make this plaque honoring the boys lost from Presque Isle High School, including our 1965 class president Keith Allen. My son and I erected this plaque Aug. 29, 1996. I dedicated it to the KIA from our school, Maine, the U.S., and all men and women who served in Vietnam.
I noted that of the five Gagnon boys killed in Vietnam, four of them came from Maine. The fifth Gagnon boy came from the Midwest. I think it was perhaps Wisconsin.
Support for tax plan
Maine is a small business state. While not perfect, the recently proposed federal tax reform plan benefits small businesses by allowing them to keep more of their earnings here to spur economic growth, hiring, higher wages. For these reasons, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should support federal Republicans tax bill: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”
As president and founder of Sterling Rope, a manufacturer in Biddeford, I have seen what too much taxation and regulation have done to small businesses. Maine small businesses are subject to a top federal marginal tax rate of 40 percent, sending much of the state’s hard-earned profits to Washington, D.C., and leaving little incentive or ability to grow businesses here.
The proposed small business tax cut to 25 percent would mean more money stays local, and invested in Maine businesses and employees, reinvigorating Main Streets. This is not a partisan issue. In Maine, a rising tide does indeed raise all boats.