Domestic war victim

The new year is unfortunately starting off with a bang. A young park ranger, Margaret Anderson, was shot and killed in Mount Ranier National Park in Washington by an Iraq war veteran who was suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

She was 34, a mother of two young girls. Her husband is also a ranger. I tried to imagine their lives up until now: both with a love of the outdoors, both having decided to spend their lives helping others enjoy the outdoors. I imagined their joy at being able to do so together, a wonderful dream come true until it was shattered.

So is anyone responsible for her death? The Iraq veteran? Only partly, in that he became the instrument of death at home in Washington state as he was in Iraq. Is no one responsible then? Do we just chalk up this tragedy to humankind’s persistent tendency toward violence?

No. I think the lines of responsibility are crystal clear. Those responsible are those who so willingly exchanged peace for war. Their names should not be forgotten: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, George Bush and others.

Margaret Anderson, wife, young mother and park ranger, may you rest in peace, perhaps the first Iraq war casualty of 2012, yet another victim of these pitiful, misguided, so-called leaders.

David P. Frasz


All about power and money

Dr. Sidney R. Block’s Dec. 26 OpEd piece was beautifully written. The subject of the wealthy paying more taxes is vital.

To quote Dr. Block, “those whose sole interest is self-interest will not fare well if their society collapses around them.” I agree with him and I am sure many of our citizens also do. How much wealth does one need to survive comfortably?

Now with the election of a new president approaching, our country appears as Rome did before it collapsed. Many of our politicians should be sent to the moon, especially Newt Gingrich, and left there permanently. They are devious, destructive and only interested in power and money.

If I may quote Mohanda K. Gandhi’s list of seven deadly sins: “Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.”

Helen Heilman

Prospect Harbor

Let the locals be heard

A wonderful part of Maine is about to be ruined by a sprawling industrial wind power development by First Wind. 459-foot-tall noisy wind turbines will surround Pleasant Pond, which is one of the most beautiful lakes in Maine, and Mattawamkeag Lake, which is wild and undeveloped, so important to wildlife that the state has conserved much of it, including the historic Bible Point, cherished by President Teddy Roosevelt. Desecrating these places for something that works so poorly, that they wouldn’t go up without taxpayer subsidies and mandates. I don’t want to have my power bill go up just because some “green” zealots force us to use expensive wind power!

It started with the smaller project the state Department of Environmental Protection rubber-stamped in Oakfield, rubber-stamped because of the horrendous law passed in 2008 that has rammed these projects down our throats that we common everyday people can do nothing about. The Oakfield project was to be 34 turbines, 389 feet tall, 1.5 megawatts each. First Wind wants to expand that to 50 turbines, 459 feet tall, 3 megawatts each.

The Maine DEP is allowing them to amend the permit they approved and not allowing anyone to have a say. If this is an entirely new project, DEP should cancel the permit they issued and tell First Wind to start a new permit process and allow the citizens the right to have their say.

It begs the question, which came up again and again in the contentious permit process for First Wind’s Lincoln area project, does the wind developer have more rights than the local people?

Phyllis Goodine

Island Falls

Flag torn and desecrated

Two days following Christmas, a peace flag hanging from our home was torn and desecrated. What motivates and fuels such fear and animosity?

Our opposition to war is nonpartisan. Simply put, we condemn state-sponsored killing and torture, no matter the reason or national banner. War is not synonymous with patriotism, freedom, or love of country.

Informed critical analysis and debate, tolerance and compassion are the cornerstones of a flourishing democracy. Violence, ignorance, hatred and greed are its antitheses.

James McDonald


Two new heroes

At my age, I have had many heroes that have come and gone. Today, I have two new ones, Don and Dora Winslow! (BDN 1/3/12)

My late husband was a cancer victim, we went through the treatments for a year together, his outcome was not a success. I remember that year as a “blur” too. Driving 200 miles round trip from our home, living during the week at the Riverside Inn, his weakness, loss of appetite and his pain from the radiation. I can only imagine helping him if I was sick myself, a nightmare.

Godspeed Mr. and Mrs. Winslow, my wish is that you enjoy France and all the experiences coming in the many years ahead.

Sharon E. Weber


Pipeline and humanity

Our nation clearly needs a coherent energy strategy. Permitting the Keystone XL pipeline will not further this urgent goal.

Tar sands mining is devastating Alberta. The pipeline itself presents unacceptable safety concerns. Most compelling: the assertion by senior NASA climate scientist James Hansen that utilizing dirty tar sands’ crude oil would add enough atmospheric carbon to make it impossible to mitigate the effects of global warming — “game over” for the climate.

Keystone is an export pipeline. The refiners at the end of its route are focused on expanding imports to Europe and Latin America, not to the U.S.

Yes, TransCanada threatens to send the oil to China, where it would emit the same amount of carbon. Still, if you follow Canadian news carefully, you will find people there are resisting tar sands extraction for the same reasons many informed Americans are.

Even if this project created all the jobs TransCanada claim it would, it would be clearly immoral due to the immediate danger to lives involved and to the future of our planet’s atmosphere and its capacity for sustaining life worth living.

There are other solutions.

And, if the word “humane” means anything to our race, we must discover and implement them without delay.

Susan Lehnen