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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013: Misleading letters, BPA and keeping guns away from kids

Letters Misinformation

BDN readers have the right to express their opinions by sending letters to the editor. But, the BDN also has a responsibility to not publish letters that contain flat-out lies and misinformation.

I refer to two letters published on Jan. 16. The first, “Obama’s gun control,” starts out saying “If President Barack Obama outlaws guns …” and goes on to charge the Obama administration with “boldface lies and deception.”

The author is either ignorant of the statements made by the president regarding guns or he is deliberately trying to mislead readers with this statement.

The president does not want to ban guns. He wants to protect innocent people from being slaughtered by wackos using weapons that can kill lots of people in a matter of seconds.

The “Paycheck blues” letter rails at people on “welfare” because the author has to pay a little more tax this year.

The extra $8 he complains about paying is likely due to the end of the temporary 2 percent reduction in the FICA tax rate that working Americans enjoyed during the past two years. This money is returned to the same taxpayers when they retire.

I am disappointed in the BDN for printing both of these letters because the letters are primarily

inflammatory in nature and factually inaccurate.

Complaining is one thing. Making false and misleading statements that seem to serve no purpose other than to rile people up is something else.

I encourage the BDN to apply higher standards when choosing which letters to print.

Steve Colburn


Artists’ contribution

The opinion expressed by “Guest” in the .COMments section on Jan. 17 implies that buying art with federal funds is a waste because unemployed people need the money. Artists are people, too.

They make a huge and valuable contribution to society. They are no more or less deserving of federal money than anybody else.

Not paying them for their work would mean that they are unemployed. Would they then be one of the more deserving?

Cheri Walton


Enjoying dynamic duo

I commend the editors of the BDN for featuring the wry commentary of Ethan Strimling and Phil Harriman in the weekend edition. Today’s political dialogue needs all possible levity as an antidote to despair.

Perhaps the BDN could persuade former independent Senator Jill Goldthwait of Ellsworth to join the Strimling/Harriman dynamic duo in order to provide a measure of gender parity and partisan breadth.

It would be even better if the “People’s House of Representatives” were included, lest the Maine

version of the “House of Lords” — read Maine Senate — be the only voice heard.

I have a rare disagreement with Strimling on the subject of popular election of constitutional officers. He would further burden the public with electing the state auditor, treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state.

Would that accomplish a more careful scrutiny of those seeking these offices or merely subject voters to a further barrage of money-driven personal attacks and endless media ads?

I feel the current process, even if less than perfect, does provide for a more measured selection of these offices by those familiar with the candidates.

I see it as a proper expression of the electorate’s choice of legislators to convey the majority’s right to select those officers.

It may be true that only three states retain this selection process, to which I submit that the state motto of “Dirigo” urges us to lead, not to follow. I therefore urge us not to fix that which is not broken.

James B. Wagner


Community, restaurant aesthetics

The Jan. 9 article, “ Local business owner plans Dunkin’ Donuts for Blue Hill,” overlooks how the impact of such operations can be mitigated.

It needs site plan review standards that require use of compatible building materials and regulate the extent of windows and signage.

Chain restaurants in Freeport blend in with adjoining buildings and show how they can locate with no threat to community character.

Rather than trying to exclude chain operations, towns can set standards to make them attractive.

Thomas E. Martin

AICP, Executive Director

Hancock County Planning Commission


Concerns of BPA

As a grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters, including one who is 18 months old, I am concerned with the toxin bisphenol A in children’s food containers.

BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that can cause learning disabilities, obesity and cancer. It does not belong in the linings of food containers intended for our children.

Maine banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. Now we need to get it out of children’s food containers.

There are safer alternatives, and I am heartened that the Maine Board of Environmental Protection will support the ban of BPA in infant formula and baby food containers.

Sandra Cort


Responsible gun ownership

During my career as a forensic psychiatrist, I encountered several cases where youths committed homicides with weapons owned by their parents.

One parent left his rifle under a bed rather than return it to the locked gun cabinet. His foster son used it to kill his foster mother with whom he’d argued.

A teen was angry that his sister would not get out of bed to go to school. He killed her with a gun from his mother’s unlocked gun cabinet. A mentally troubled 15-year-old knew where a neighbor kept the key to his locked gun cabinet. He stole a stash of weapons, one of which he used to kill three students at his school and seriously wound five.

An elementary school student brought a pistol from home to school thinking it would protect him from bullies on the bus. Fortunately, he never fired it.

The youths who killed are serving long prison sentences, and the lives of their families and the relatives of their victims have been destroyed.

If only these weapons had not been so accessible. A gun in the home is much more likely to be

used against a family member or in a suicide than it is to be used against an intruder.

Gun owners must consider the risks of having a gun in the home and make sure they are kept unloaded and secured.

Another way to promote responsible ownership would be to require gun owners to have liability insurance and proof of safety training.

We do as much with the purchase of automobiles that can also be lethal weapons.

Diane H. Schetky, M.D.


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