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April 14, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Don’t blame Cain’s club

Renee Ordway’s April 4 column asserts that background checks should be made mandatory at gun shows before a person is allowed to purchase a firearm privately. She insinuates that if this so-called loophole had been closed, then the Columbine shooting would not have happened. She also quotes a young woman who assisted the two young men in purchasing their firearms who insisted that if there had been such a law she would have never helped the young men.

Having more laws on the books would not have stopped the two young men responsible for the shootings; enforcing the laws that we have now would have, as it was illegal for the two to buy firearms in their state due to both being under age.

The Bible’s first story of violence is that of Cain murdering his brother Abel. We are not told that the weapon he used is the villain, or that the person who gave him the club is responsible. Cain made a choice.

Most healthy citizens have the ability to choose between acts of kindness or acts of violence, and they are responsible for these acts. To quickly give up our personal and private liberties in the name of preventing someone else from committing a violent act with another restrictive law is a crime in itself.

Peter Bell


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Gay marriage no threat

On the same day (April 8) the BDN printed an article about educators stressing the need for a respectful debate on gay marriage to protect gay teens from increased harassment, the letters to the editor page included a provocative letter from Aaron Eastman. He claims that while only 3 percent of the population is gay, 30 percent of child molesters are gay. In truth the overwhelming evidence is that the great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals and that estimates of gays in the population range from 3 percent to 10 percent.

Mr. Eastman says he is worried about gay marriage because he fears that children will be denied the presence of an opposite sex parent. Many children already face that situation thanks to high divorce rates. It is hard to see how gay marriage poses a threat to heterosexual marriage or to the children, whether of one or two parents, straight or gay, who want to provide them a secure home.

There are many children living in foster care or in unsafe circumstances. Gays have proved themselves as capable of being loving partners and parents as heterosexuals are.

The debate over gay marriage is about the kind of society we want to live in. Gays and lesbians are people just like us — they grow up in our families, work with us, are our neighbors and deserve all the benefits and can live up to all the responsibilities that marriage provides the rest of us. Can we fairly deny them the right to civil marriage?

Katie Syrett

Owl’s Head

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Nation of millionaires

My letter in February talked about too many bailouts too soon. Since the people considered the smartest in the room apparently weren’t, I’ve heard calmer and wiser heads make a couple of suggestions to jump-start the economy that make sense to me and cost about the same or less than the ones voted in so far. Simple solutions are often an elegant answer to complex issues. A collateral benefit of this is the spreading of joy to angst-laden taxpayers after their April 15 ordeal. Also, the recipients would know better what to do with the money than their esteemed superiors in D.C.

Ready? For a while your wallet would be safe. Either or both — suspend income taxes for a year or give every taxpayer a million bucks to spend as they see fit. Any takers? You betcha, and Katy bar the door! If you like this, let your member of Congress know about it. Good luck and happy spending. A nation of millionaires, hallelujah.

Orin Lowe


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On underage drinking

As a concerned resident and a member of the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse, I am writing this letter in support of LD 1074, “An Act To Promote Responsible Sales of Alcoholic Beverages.”

I believe that when retailers and servers have had extensive training on how and when to accept an ID from someone, then there is less of a risk of underage use of alcohol and the resulting ramifications from this use. When youth and those who serve alcohol understand that reducing youth alcohol use is good for Maine and good for cognitive, physical, and mental health, then I think these residents are taking a proactive leadership role.

Additionally, when there is an enforcement component of restricting access to alcohol by youth, all of our communities are demonstrating that we are responsible to our youth.

Finally, LD 1074 will help to change the social norms about high risk drinking. Underage use of alcohol is not OK or acceptable. This spring, as we move into graduations, proms, and other parties to celebrate the warmer weather, we can all have a great time without alcohol.

Jane Freeman


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Jobs for Americans

The official unemployment rate is 8.1 percent to 8.5 percent and we lost 663,000 jobs in March; 13.2 million Americans are looking for jobs and can’t even find part-time work. And during the same month, the federal government issued about 138,000 permanent work permits to foreign workers in the form of green cards and new temporary work permits — which comes to around 400,000 for the year.

I don’t blame immigrants for this situation. But our representatives were elected to serve the interests of our citizens, and those jobs belong to Americans. We are not creating millions of new jobs, and until we do, it’s time for a moratorium on importing more foreign workers. This is common sense.

Mainline media should be reporting this information and raising the obvious questions. It’s a huge mistake to leave debate on immigration to right-wing radio commentators. If we’re concerned about building good feelings between immigrants and the native born, then remaining silent on this subject while unemployment grows and continuing to import a million new foreign workers is precisely the very worst thing the federal government could do.

Doris Watkins


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Railroad tracks unsafe

About once a year, it seems, the Bangor Daily News publishes a picture of someone walking along or standing on railroad tracks. And so it was again in the April 8 edition as the photo depicted a family walking the tracks in Caribou in an effort to escape flooding.

With all due respect to the family’s hardship, trespassing on railroad tracks is dangerous and against the law. More importantly, it’s a lapse in judgment on the part of the BDN staff. Escaping from a life-threatening flood makes for good photojournalism, but choosing that shot gives the impression that railroad tracks make for a good, safe alternative route which is far from the truth.

Fred Hirsch

state coordinator

Maine Operation Lifesaver

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