Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

America must change

A change is coming. A change so epic in scale that people will never be the same again. People resist change, because change is uncomfortable and disturbing. Change requires adjustment and letting go of what once was, in order to make room for something unexpected. Change does not listen to our protestations or our old ways of doing things; we must accommodate, we must improvise, we must adapt and we will survive.

Change threatens our existence, because it challenges the status quo. A powerful elephant grows accustomed to its chain; it will walk in circles without it! That magnificently strong pachyderm must be retaught freedom.

I remember Gandhi praying for the emerging India, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

America must change; we must change how we see others and we must change how we see ourselves. Scriptures call that self-examination process “rebirth.” America must be born again.

James Weathersby

Augusta

A public health crisis

September is National Suicide Awareness Month. Gun suicide, on average, claims the lives of 23,000 Americans each year. A staggering 89 percent of gun deaths in Maine are suicide deaths. The ongoing pandemic, the surge in gun sales and the severe economic downturn is likely to make this public health crisis far worse.

Three common-sense bills proven effective at reducing suicide in our state failed in the Maine Legislature last year. Evidence shows that secure storage laws, waiting period legislation and extreme risk (red flag) laws save lives. Easy access to firearms triples the risk of death by suicide. The fact is that most people who attempt suicide do not die — unless the attempted means is by a gun. Without a gun only 4 percent of suicide attempts result in death. When a gun is involved, the lethality increases to 90 percent. Most who survive a suicide attempt do not attempt a second time. Keeping guns out of the hands of those in crisis is critical to saving lives.

Let’s elect policymakers who are not afraid to talk about the issue of suicide and gun violence, especially with the rising rate of suicide by gun among teens and veterans in Maine. To know where your candidates stand, visit gunsensevoter.org. Please act to save lives; if you or a family member are in crisis, remove firearm access until the crisis is averted, and please call 800-273-8255.

Kathleen McFadden

Maine Volunteer Chapter Lead

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense

Gouldsboro

Supica for State House

I support Laura Supica to be the next representative for Bangor’s District 126 in the Maine House of Representatives. Her personal story is one of sheer determination, resilience and persistence. She worked as a bartender in one of our local small businesses and took it upon herself to run for office to fight for much-needed improvements in our community. She became an advocate for improving sidewalk accessibility and mobility for our citizens by helping expand bus services. She made these issues a central part of her campaign, understanding how much that would assist local individuals to meet some basic needs.

She recognized early the struggles of the people in our area. As a city councilor, she has demonstrated her abilities to lead and her command of the issues. She brings up new ideas from real world experience and from having managed personal economic struggles. There is something striking about her personal characteristics that have allowed her to thrive and find ways to maintain a full-time job and run for office. She is dedicated and driven to improve the lives of those around her and motivated to address the issues most important to our small community and beyond. She has mastered great listening skills and the ability to pinpoint critical needs. I have no doubt that she will be an incredibly important voice for us to send to Augusta.

I will be voting for Laura Supica this November. I hope others will do the same. This vote matters.

Loren Ballestas

Bangor

Thoughts about 7-on-7 football

Just a comment for a BDN sports writer: In reading the recent story about seven-on-seven fall football flag or touch football, it seems more like gym class intramural except schools may play other schools in competition. When it comes to fall sports in Maine, it really seems to me that the Maine Principals’ Association and state government agencies started planning after sunset.

Otherwise, much earlier and diligent planning could have allowed for a customary late August or early September regular season start for 11-man tackle football as well as post season playoffs. Spring tackle football is probably doable, but there are conflicts: snow still on the ground and/or not dry enough football fields in April. Football players who also play baseball for their high school would be another conflict. For small school enrollments, this could be an unmanageable situation.

However, the nights will be warmer in April, May and June and more enjoyable for spectators attending the game. Better than having to layer up with clothing on a cold, cold November night. I would much prefer playing in warm comfortable temps and uplifting sunlight of September and October afternoons.

Richard Mackin Jr.

Millinocket

Gideon speaks up for science

I don’t know when an effective COVID-19 vaccine will be available, but I already fear false information about vaccines will cloud the judgment of some Americans. Maine will need a strong voice supporting science in order for our communities to return to safe harbor. I believe Sara Gideon is that voice.

Recently, President Donald Trump contradicted experts both on COVID-19 and the wildfires out west, and Sen. Susan Collins remains silent. Collins is actively campaigning and I have not seen her publicly defending the scientists Trump denigrated.

Collins’ choice not to speak up troubles me because science isn’t partisan. It’s a tool everyone can use to work our way out of these challenging times.

Whether it’s COVID-19 or the climate crisis, Gideon consistently speaks up for science and sustainable solutions. That gives me hope. I believe a vote for Sara Gideon is a vote for a safer and sounder tomorrow.

Aaron Bergeron

Portland