Learning from the Aussies

I have a question for those who believe the National Rifle Association’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Do those people believe that Americans have the right to own fully automatic weapons? Rocket-propelled grenades? Shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles? Landmines? Afterall, they are all arms.

If you do believe that, I really can’t talk to you. I edge carefully away.

If you do not, congratulations. We can talk. I imagine that you and I believe that the Constitution is not a suicide pact; it must be interpreted with common sense and self-preservation in mind.

We can look around the world to see what other countries have done about guns and see whether we can apply those lessons and still preserve the right to bear arms, in some form or other.

One thing we will find out is that in general, and with exceptions, countries with stricter gun laws and fewer weapons have fewer murders.

As recently as 1996, under a conservative government, Australia banned semi-automatic assault weapons, both sale and ownership. To make it work, they had to buy back the guns. The results have been astonishing.

In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres, each with more than four victims. There has not been a single massacre since.

Let us learn from this and add semi-automatic assault weapons to our list of banned weapons.

Rufus Wanning


National dialogue on guns

On behalf of Cobscook Quaker Meeting, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, in Whiting, we are writing to express our concerns about the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the polarizing debates around gun violence that have ensued.

The Religious Society of Friends has no doctrine or creed, but as a faith community, we have been led to uphold some core testimonies including: Simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality.

The peace testimony speaks to our belief that there is that of God in all living things, calling us to increase our understanding and use of nonviolent methods for resolving conflicts.

In light of this, we support the steps that our nation’s leaders have taken to begin a national dialogue about gun violence, and we encourage them to pursue these means as a way forward.

Cobscook Friends advocate action that addresses the goal of reducing gun violence across the country. We do not see a contradiction between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence.

We believe both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful action, including legislation. We urge a thoughtful and deliberate solution to the challenges before us.

Beth Clifford and Janet Weston

Trescott Township

Expressing gratitude

During the “great blizzard” Saturday morning, during which traffic probably should have been banned in the southern two-thirds of Maine, our BDN was on the porch, as hoped for.

Even the U.S. Postal Service had canceled delivery, the Bangor International Airport had no scheduled flights arriving or departing, and the buses had canceled all runs.

We don’t know our carrier’s name, but he or she should be commended for the service, for which we are definitely grateful.

Michael & Della Gleason


Beavers, bogs and lawyers

In response to the Feb. 2 BDN article, “ Orrington sues landowners over beaver dam,” my neighbor and I have long enjoyed beautiful views of the beaver bog on Swett’s Pond Road in Orrington. But unlike my neighbor, I live across the street from the bog and I am not being held responsible for those pesky beavers.

I remember that shortly after we moved into our home in 1990, we heard that “the beavers” were going to be released into the bog by some “agency” and we should come watch this exciting event.

Now, 20 years later, my one neighbor is enjoying her golden years watching the sunrise over the bog, and the others, a hard-working couple who would do anything for you, are being sued by the town.

Why? Because the beaver dam broke and flooded the street. Many other houses border this bog, but somehow the descendants of the beavers have become the responsibility of the two families.

After the dam broke, I spoke with one of my neighbors. He was out working on the road and had been working for hours moving debris. With his backhoe, he moved gravel and broken pavement to help repair the road.

He looked exhausted, and I made sure to thank him for his efforts. He probably did not imagine at the time that he was about to be sued. Who would have thought that the beavers could wreak more havoc than renegade cows?

Mary-Michael Billings


Outstanding service

I am amazed by the outstanding service we received from our newspaper delivery person on Saturday during the blizzard conditions.

He crawled over an enormous snowbank at the end of our driveway, walked to our door and handed us our newspaper along with an apology for it being late. That is outstanding customer service.

Rosemarie Richter