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Dec. 08 Letters to the Editor

Government guarantor

Every U.S. citizen has the right to quality health care. The U.S. has the means, if not the will, to finance an efficient health care service delivery system through which every citizen can receive essential health care. If receiving quality health care is a right, which entity is responsible for establishing, protecting and preserving that right? Government establishes and protects rights. And how can government afford to guarantee this right? By having each of us participate equitably in financing what it takes to support this right through taxes.

If we truly believe health care for all is a right, we have to contribute what it takes to be granted that right. Does this equate to a government takeover of health care? No. Would this necessarily spell the demise of health insurance companies? No. It means through tax revenues government can, through necessary regulation and oversight, ensure that all citizens can get essential health services when needed.

Some might suggest that guaranteed health care through taxation is an entitlement similar to Medicare and Medicaid programs. So what? What entity can grant, preserve and protect each? It is our government, subsidized through taxation.

Whether you think affordable health care for all is a right or an entitlement, tell your senators and representatives that you want affordable health care for all and you’re willing to pay your fair share for it. Otherwise, they will continue to squabble over how to finance their “plans,” oblivious that other countries already have dealt with that issue.

Louis Pelletier



Founders on guns

In his Dec. 4 OpEd, “Proliferation of guns threatens security,” Ken Horn states, “It is a safe bet that discussions revolving around the Second Amendment will continue unabated.” He’s right, and while I wish to thank him for his service, I respectfully suggest that it is he who is “parsing the wording of [the Second] Amendment from its intent.”

The first 10 amendments to our Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. They are individual rights. If, as Mr. Horn states, the Founders’ sole concern was the defense of the state, then they would not have fought the revolution. England was the state at the time and it was a state depriving its own citizens, the colonists, of their rights, liberties and freedoms.

The issue of private ownership of guns was well-known to the Founders.

Thomas Jefferson, in his Commonplace Book, quoted Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria in writing, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the sentiment, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.” Indeed, what would devastate the Founders more?

This debate has been going on for well over 200 years and yes, “will continue unabated.”

Ben Lamborn



The health care plan

Who can say what the potential of an aborted baby would have been if the child had been allowed to be born? Critics of Sarah Palin declared vehemently that her Down syndrome baby, Trig, should never have been born!

My precious young niece was confronted by three doctors, all stating that her little boy should be aborted, but she bravely stood up to all of them, stating she would not kill her baby. Austin Nicholas, that precious little one, is astounding everyone, as he is now beginning to talk and will soon be walking. He has brought great joy to our family. Would anyone say now that he should have been torn limb from limb in the womb?

The government has no business funding the slaughter of little lives. Those opposing that part of the pending health care bill must speak up now to our congressmen and senators.

I was born blind, but I graduated from college, have a husband and two wonderful stepsons, and have written a book. Dare anyone say that I never should have been born?

Rosalie Welch-Johnson



Apprentice hunters

The apprentice hunter license, authorized by the Legislature in response to a Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine bill, allows an experienced hunter to offer the hunting opportunity to any hunter who is 16 years old or older. The apprentice hunter may hunt, in the presence of the sponsoring hunter, without taking the hunter safety course.

I have hunted for 59 years and thought this was some kind of joke when I first read about the new law.

After reading about the 35-year-old apprentice hunter from Sydney, resting her gun barrel on top of her boot and shooting part of her foot off, it is no joke. How could SAM sponsor such a bill, the DIF&W support it, and the Legislature vote for it? This bill includes out-of-state applicants. It’s all about money with no consideration for safety.

This is not like a tryout for baseball or basketball where mistakes can be corrected.

This instance with the apprentice hunter with zero training is a clear indication of how lightly safety is taken while handling a firearm. This bill needs to be thrown out and go back to the hunter safety course. Bring back common sense.

Richard A. Pease



Hunger hurts society

The Nov. 28-29 edition of the BDN confronted us with a shameful reality about life in America. In the midst of our national celebration of plenty, the paper had us contemplate the fact that half the children in our country live on food stamps at some point by the time they reach the age of 20. Considering that 12 percent of all Americans now receive food stamps, and that 20,000 more join the program daily, this is not a surprising statistic. However, it is nonetheless alarming.

Consider the human misery that lies behind these numbers. A lack of sufficient food, while bad enough in itself, is too often indicative of a wider range of childhood deprivation that frequently dogs the children of poverty into adulthood due to low education, poor socialization, poor physical and mental health and a host of accompanying liabilities often associated with poverty. They suffer as individuals; we suffer as a society.

Of course poverty is not fate. We all know of people who have risen from poverty to lead lives of great accomplishment and personal fulfillment. But these heroic exceptions should provide cold comfort to a society already in decline because of its inability to come to grips with the basic requirements of life — one of which must be a safe and secure environment in which to raise children.

Mike McMillen


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