A child’s death
A 10-year-old child in our midst died recently, allegedly a victim of her parents’ brutality. The record shows that she suffered abuse for a period of months to years, and that the police and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services were aware at various points.
So how did a child who suffered a history of abuse end up dying a horrific death at the hand of these same parents? This child deserved so much better from the agency charged with protecting children; she deserved professional adults to advocate for her safety and ultimately her right to live.
It is time to demand a thorough and transparent investigation of DHHS’ policies, the scope of its follow through, and to determine exactly who they are protecting. The loss of one child’s life is too many.
LePage outsources Medicaid work
The recent Bangor Daily News article “LePage will outsource Medicaid staff, even though it will cost the state more” raises many concerns.
Although the intent was originally to save money, the article states that having Massachusetts contractors do the work will cost $300,000 more per year than having the DHHS Medical Review Team continue to do the work. Why spend the extra money and send Maine dollars out of state?
This contract was awarded without a competitive bidding process. The rationale that the University of Massachusetts Medical School folks were the “sole source” for this work is not true. The work has been done by Medical Review Team for years. They know the rules, they know the Maine doctors and other providers, and they have been doing just fine. This is simply another ideological attack on government, and more specifically on Maine state employees. These people are Mainers, taxpayers and hard workers. They deserve better.
I urge the Legislature to reverse this misguided decision and keep decisions about Maine Medicaid in Maine.
Listen to the kids
I was so moved by the picture on the front page of the Feb. 22 Bangor Daily News of the local young people standing up for stricter gun control laws. They are speaking directly to us, the adults who have the power to make that happen.
Perhaps we can take some from wisdom from Australia. Before 1996, they had, on average one mass gun shooting a year. In 1996, a mass shooting occurred in Port Arthur, Tasmania, in which 35 people died and another 23 were wounded. The conservative government at the time decided they’d had enough. They developed a bipartisan deal to enact sensible gun control measures: Universal background checks; registration of all firearms; a ban on civilian possession of all semi-automatic firearms; and a buyback of firearms (as a result, 1 million firearms were removed from the country).
These measures were passed later that year. There has not been a mass shooting in Australia since.
It is not the job of elementary, middle and high school students to keep their schools safe; it’s their job to go to school and learn in an environment that is free of harm. It is our job as adults to ensure that that happens. Are we listening to the kids?
Keep kids safe
I am writing in regards to the planned school walkouts. After talking to a couple people, some schools are just planning to let the students walk out alone and peacefully protest gun violence. And I agree that drastic changes are needed and peaceful protests can be a good thing.
My problem is that the date and time of these walkouts have been broadcast to the world, (including every demented psychopath). So my hope is that all these schools have security and protection plans in place for these events to keep our kids safe. Lest, heaven forbid, our children become sitting targets instead of world changers.
Call your kids’ schools and ask what their plans are to deal with any threats that may arise.
NRA’s deep pockets
As a long-time reader of the Bangor Daily News, I appreciate the diversity of opinion expressed, even Matthew Gagnon’s column, but not when he so clearly manipulates facts in order to make his case as I believe he did in his Feb. 22 column.
To say that Rep. Bruce Poliquin has only received $16,800 from the NRA in his career, compared with the $1.7 billion spent by all labor unions in the 2016 election cycle, is a false equivalency and adds yet another “alternative fact” in the support of partisan agendas to our national debate.
In fact, the NRA spent at least $55 million to influence the 2016 election and spent $175,400 to re-elect Poliquin. Whether he is bought and paid for is another story but one wonders how much the NRA gives to Gagnon’s organization, the Maine Heritage Policy Center, either directly or indirectly. These issues are important because right now, in America, facts matter and truth matters.
In connection with the awful public shootings of innocent people, I would offer a word of caution to simply blaming the “gun” problem. It is terrible, I would not deny it. But behavioral problems are not always simple in their solution. Also there are other, equally damaging weapons available if easy access to guns is curtailed.
A complicated example is the worldwide collapse of bee colonies that are important to fruitful yields for many crops. General blame was placed on the use of pesticides but a deeper study showed that there were also infestations of parasitical mites. Subsequent elimination of infestations yielded healthier colonies.
School questions that bother me are: Why is there so much hatred for schools? What is at the root of this violent hatred to strike back? Whatever it is, it needs to be understood. While our president wants to get rid of immigrants, here in Maine at least half of my doctors are immigrants. Why aren’t our schools educating enough people to supply all of our medical needs?
Why aren’t our schools educating enough people who want to be design engineers to supply our needs for what happened to the integrity, ability and knowledge that we used to have? These are unanswered questions in our current state of being.
Fred H. Irons