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Saturday, March 10, 2018: NRA blood money, no corporate welfare, arming teachers unreasonable

Lost respect for nature

It seems that when the land in northern Maine changed hands so did the respect for the wildlife and environment. The diverse native forests and wildlife habitat are being replaced with farms of softwood trees (not a forest).

We have proclaimed the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the North Woods as a pristine wilderness and sportsman’s paradise, teeming with native trout and wildlife of all kinds. Is that really true, or is it how it used to be?

The timber companies have cut all winter deer habitat and replaced summer range of all wildlife with planted spruce trees, which no animal will consume. They have sprayed tens of thousands of acres with herbicides, killing all green leaf and woody vegetation, which all wildlife depend on as a food source. This practice is widespread, including within a stones throw of tributaries of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

Where are the studies of any adverse effect on wildlife and humans that came in direct or indirect contact with these chemicals other than the obvious loss of habitat? To understand the destruction, a veteran said about a place near Jones Pond and Beau Lake that it looks like Vietnam in 1969. A place where another “safe chemical,” Agent Orange, was used.

The question is where are the environmentalists, the animal rights people, and the state and federal departments that protect the wildlife and the environment? The sportsmen will not come to see spruce plantations when that is all there is left.

Hilton Hafford


NRA blood money

Here are some names that might be familiar: John McCain, Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio and Bill Cassidy. They are among the top 10 senators who have been bought by the NRA. Over their time in office, these senators’ campaigns, along with five others, have been paid by the NRA to the tune of $42.8 million for their votes.

Here are some names of congressman that are familiar like French Hill, Ken Buck, Todd Young, Bruce Poliquin and Pete Sessions, who, along with five other congressmen, had some $14.1 million to their election coffers from the NRA.

When the voter pressures our legislators to do something about gun violence, the reply is always “now is not the time.” How many more of our young people must fall victim to weapons designed with no other purpose but to kill as many as possible in a short period? These senators and congressmen can add the 17 who recently died in Florida after a deranged person took their lives to their collective conscience.

I have been a gun owner for more than 50 years, and have hunted most of my adult life. Yet, I see no place for an AR-15 in someone’s possession. Republicans receive by far the bulk of NRA blood money. While I’m an independent, I would cast my ballot for anyone who has no ties to the NRA. Maybe if we elect legislators with backbones to Congress, we can resolve this blight on our society.

Richard Barclay


No corporate welfare

It boggles the mind that the Maine Legislature is considering giving $60 million in tax breaks to General Dynamics, a corporation so awash in money it is in the top 100 of the Forbes 500. Whoever votes for this corporate welfare needs to be voted out of office next time around. That’s people power.

Olenka Folda


Politics of business

I agree with Megan McArdle when she writes in a March 4 BDN column about businesses slighting NRA members that “the danger lies in the totalizing impulse it signifies, in which every activity, no matter how small, takes on some greater political implication.” There is no question that various businesses are aligning themselves with different sides of the political aisle. There are many drawbacks for companies in making the decision to do so. A key reason being that they are alienating a section of the population from which they could be drawing revenue.

We as a society need to recognize that while politics play a major role in guiding the country there should be a line in terms of their influence. If we do not pay close attention to this, we risk losing focus in terms of how our political system can benefit us. Recently, with the post from Delta Airlines on Twitter about getting rid of the discount for NRA members it seems as though we are getting closer to drawing political lines. While this could be influenced by other events unfolding throughout the country, businesses need to consider the implications of such actions and how they may be doing more harm than good for their brand.

Whether it is to make a political statement or to address other issues in society, companies need to consider the implications of their actions. This means closely examining how they could work with members from both political parties to more effectively accomplish their goals and to truly help the country grow and develop.

Benjamin Bucklin


Arming teachers unreasonable

Have you noticed that so many of the arguments against robust gun control are arguments from impotence?

“There are so many guns out there already, it’s pointless to try to restrict sales now.” “The real problem is mental health; of course, we don’t actually know what to do about that.” “If only more good people would arm themselves.” “Chicago.”

Clearly, we are helpless. There’s nothing to be done.

This tactic plays well with a base audience that has been trained for decades to consider themselves victims — of violent left-wing insurrectionists, of bicoastal liberal elites, of NPR listeners, of science, of a war on Christmas, of a sexual revolution, of activist judges, of gun confiscation, and on and on through the whole litany of talk-radio and Fox News complaints. Not even the ownership of a vast armory tempers the whining.

The president, duly parroting the NRA, opines that arming teachers and coaches in schools would provide sufficient security. Someone might remind him of how often highly trained policemen manage to shoot innocent bystanders and each other in the heat of the moment. Turning a school into a potential circular firing squad does not recommend itself to the reasonable mind.

Robert McHenry



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