Firearm or social problem?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban certain firearms is a wrongheaded approach to our nation’s problems with violence.

Maine has a strong tradition of responsible firearm ownership, an excellent record of safety and some of the lowest crime rates in the nation. For example, Detroit has a population of 700,000 and had 380 murders in 2012 while Maine, which has a population of 1.3 million people, averages 30 murders per year.

So, if more gun control leads to less gun crime and less gun controls leads to more gun crime, then why is Maine’s murder rate per capita 25 times less than Detroit’s?

I see Maine as evidence that our nation does not have a firearm problem; it has a social problem. The family unit is breaking down, poverty is on the rise, extreme violence is glorified in movies and video games and our underpaid teachers have little recourse when they encounter violence in their own classrooms.

Banning types of firearms from law-abiding citizens and leaving them at the mercy of criminals is clearly not the answer. I can speak to this issue personally, as I was a victim of a home invasion in 1989 when I was home alone at the age of 11.

Let’s not allow the same national hysteria that granted passage to the Patriot Act to be used in permanently undermining our Second Amendment rights.

Matthew Acheson


Gun debate debatable

There is a fundamental problem with the latest gun-control debate. It’s not about hunting.

The Second Amendment was never intended to protect my right to hunt or my right to personal defense.

The intent is clear, both from the simple reading of the text and its historical context. It is there to recognize the right of the people to bear arms if necessary to protect a free people from the tyranny of an oppressive government.

It states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Therefore, any law that limits my right to own any firearm is clearly unconstitutional.

Some have recently said that it is necessary to give up some freedoms in order to be secure. That is a fool’s folly. Those who give up freedom for security end up with neither.

Countless brave men and women have died to protect those cherished constitutional freedoms, and we must never surrender them to a president who thinks himself a king.

Roger Tracy


Rewriting history helps no one

John Newton’s Jan. 26 letter to the editor about the history of the Maine labor mural added insult to lack of knowledge about the first 200 years of Maine’s existence.

I am proud of the 350 plus years of Maine heritage that makes up both my DNA and my intellectual concept of what it means to be “from Maine.”

My ancestors were literate even though many were first settlers in the townships where they built their homes. Parents took responsibility for the education of their children in the absence of formal education.

Following in the path of five generations of grandmothers, I became a history teacher.

Not one of the images on that mural depict the occupations of my ancestors that existed prior to 1842 when this state was confirmed.

Where are the farmers, day traders, itinerant ministers and the coopers? What about the cobbler, the blacksmith, the mariner or the lobsterman? How about the river log-driver or boat pilot, the stage coach driver, the grist miller, the surveyor or the militia?

That mural does not depict Maine’s history of labor, only what is known of our history. If we don’t know where we came from and how we got here, how can we know how to go forward?

Rewriting history helps no one and hurts everyone, especially our posterity.

Roberta Williams


Student safety courses

I have always believed that a basic firearms, hunter and boating safety course should be offered to all students in Maine schools. All students should know the basic safety rules in the event they come in contact with or participate in any of these activities.

As a student in Maine schools, I remember hunting after school with my teachers. I know that the head of the Maine Education Association’s anti-gun stance is not shared by a large number of teachers, especially those in central and northern parts of the state.

Maine students should have the opportunity to receive outdoors education if they wish.

Steven Wagg


Rethink lunch program

I am a student at Central Middle School in Corinth. I am responding to the article “School lunch changes: Are Maine students or the trash getting more fruits and vegetables?” that ran on Jan. 13.

I eat hot lunch almost everyday, and I love the new changes. But there are a few things that I think should not have been taken off the lunch menu.

I have noticed that strawberry milk is no longer an option and that every bread, pasta and other things are made of wheat.

Many students are not used to eating wheat. I am because that is just how my parents are, but many households don’t eat veggies, grains and fruits on a regular basis.

I think that the food is going into trash cans because kids don’t like certain foods. Or maybe they have health issues that make it hard to eat foods that schools serve.

The whole goal is for kids to eat healthier and better. Instead, they are eating less, and the trash can is getting bigger. What if students gradually got used to the new food in small portions instead of all at once?

The point of forcing students to eat is what I worry about. I do not want to be forced to eat what I don’t want to.

Schools need to take a closer look at what kids and teens want or think should happen. Then maybe we can come up with a solution that is resourceful for everyone.

Elisabeth Adams