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Dec. 1 Letters to the Editor

‘Strangulation’ correct

I am writing in response to the article “Police taser man choking his girlfriend” (BDN, Nov. 19).

As a friend and former investigator in Maine used to say when training law enforcement cadets, “You choke on a hamburger, you don’t choke on a pair of hands.” Excellent research was completed by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office some years ago, which has received national attention for highlighting how often strangulation occurs within intimate partner violence, and how the need for a higher level of accountability for this lethal act is overlooked when it is termed “choking” and considered a form of minor assault.

Strangulation is life-threatening behavior and those who use this tactic against their loved ones know the power it holds to silence and kill. One outcome of the research was to focus on full accountability for offenders in strangulation cases and to increase the focus on getting medical attention for individuals who had experienced it.

It is a learning curve for all of us to change language that we are familiar with using when someone puts their hands around someone else’s neck, but it is a change worth making because we are talking about heightened dangerousness and hopefully heightened accountability. The domestic violence projects, including Spruce Run in Penobscot County and New Hope For Women in Waldo County, are excellent resources for anyone experiencing any kind of abuse or interested in learning more about helping someone who is facing this kind of mistreatment. You can reach the domestic violence project nearest you by calling 1-866-83-4HELP.

Kate Faragher Houghton


• • •

On religious marriage

Thank you for the BDN’s editorial on the future of marriage. What it suggests makes sense to us — the word “marriage” may be less important than the host of legal and financial advantages that people called “married” are currently given, especially under federal laws. These include extra Social Security benefits, automatic inheritance rights, joint income tax filing, and much more. Though we believe that everyone, gay and straight, should be able to marry someone they love, we don’t need to argue about that word.

If all of the legal and financial protections now given to married people are provided to couples in domestic partnerships (or whatever they get called), we think a lot of people both gay and straight will opt for that. “Marriage” can be reserved for those who want a religious blessing on their relationship, and gay couples can find churches that will provide that. Many people seem unaware that one need not involve clergy when marrying, because the “marriage contract” is a civil matter, not a religious one. When a clergyperson pronounces that a couple is married, he or she does so “by the authority vested in me by the state of Maine.” However convinced some may be that they know God’s opinions, nobody’s religion can be allowed to dictate public laws.

Peter and Phyllis Rees


• • •

‘ Marriage equality’

Rev. Worth in his OpEd, “ A very conservative case for marriage equality” (BDN, Nov. 26), used words taken out of context from Catholic Bishop Malone to take personal offense.

He contends that his marriage and others’ who are childless have been denigrated, as though a childless marriage is not remarkable in any way. Interestingly, Rev. Worth uses the uniqueness of his own situation to make his point, which seems to be that marriage is not an institution based on procreation and care of family.

Using “newspeak” terminology, he invokes “marriage equality” as something our Lord would support. He uses the Gospel verse regarding judging others to imply this. In his relativistic world does sin goes undefined? It seems the American people are more than loving, decent, tolerant and forgiving. The fact that folks are slow to get with the notion of a change that strikes to the heart of the Sacraments is indicative of some faith and common sense on their part.

The church will take the hit again as it does when the line (in this case the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony) must be held.

The clergy pushing same-sex marriage spent the last decade telling us that civil rights, which formed the “Maine Won’t Discriminate” campaign, was the ultimate goal. They guffawed and denied that any marriage redefining was the ultimate goal. In a real sense their actions are a microcosm of the proverbial “slippery slope.”

Donald Mendell


• • •

BMW to Cobb Manor

A brief rejoinder on the recent BDN Emmet Meara column in which he laments the death of the Camden Herald. He remarked that he was one of the few people in Maine who likes Mike Brown. And a long time ago while editor of the Camden Herald I turned him down for a job because he was a “long-haired hippie driving a BMW with a McGovern sticker on it.”

Well now. As one of the few people in Maine who reads Emmet’s weekly ramble on Cobb Manor, Blue Eyes and the Red Sox, all of the above is true. But the main reason I didn’t hire Emmet, and which he forgot to mention, is that he was living in his bald-tired BMW and sleeping on a bale of hay.

I didn’t think the Herald could afford to stable Emmet on our meager news budget.

Mike Brown


• • •

Freedom lost

As I read the story “Maine bank may try for rescue funds” (BDN, Nov. 27), all I could think of is how our schools are doing with federal and state aid.

The government’s intervention is not just money, but design. It will in time direct the course of the banking business and do more than just regulate, but enter into ownership. This is where real control becomes possible.

The free market will become a thing of the past. It was the government that played a big part in the financial crunch that we are now in by directing loans to people who could not afford them and did not know how to manage their money.

We are now seeing a new age where it will not be a free market but a one-world market, directed from a world perspective, right or wrong, and not by individual freedom thinking people. Business will have to become politically correct and morals will play little part in the structure of the new business age.

This bailout will come with a high price that will not be just more taxes, but how we do business. How we live our lives and how we raise our children will be affected.

All government is corrupt; by nature it survives on power. The more we give to the government the less freedom we will have. That is the price of dependence.

R. Scott Jellison


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