Lessons from USS Liberty

While reading the recent front page story about President Donald Trump’s comment that Saudi Arabia is a “great ally,” and we should basically ignore Crown Prince’s Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I, a US Navy veteran, couldn’t but think of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

That attack took place on June 8, 1967, in international waters and resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors and the wounding of 171 more. President Lyndon Johnson called back the defending aircraft on the way to help Liberty saying he did not want to insult our Israeli friends because the Navy casualties were “just a bunch of sailors.”

Apparently, Trump is thinking as Johnson did, that he doesn’t want to insult our Saudi friends over “just a dead journalist.”

Al Larson

Orono

Remembering Karen Wood shooting

Kevin Wood’s commentary in the Nov. 20 BDN was a poignant and loving follow-up on the tragedy that enveloped his, and his little girls’ lives 30 years ago. The shooting death of someone, outside of one’s home, under the guise of “sport” is unconscionable.

I was a New York resident at the time of that tragedy and was considering a move to Maine. After having read about it in The New York Times, I felt more than disconcerted about what kind of people lived in this state. A travesty indeed, for this “sportsman” to have been acquitted for committing this wanton act.

There is no repairing of Wood’s life with his wife, Karen, and it is doubtful that he or Karen’s relatives will ever in their lifetimes resolve the post-trauma of her heartbreaking death.

I commend Wood for his success in finding someone to love him and his daughters and for carrying on his life, ever-mindful of an incomprehensible loss.

Eleanor Allen

Belfast

Protect students from assault

I am gravely concerned for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s new Title IX guidelines and how they will impact students experiencing sexual assault and harassment at schools, online, and at off-campus housing and college events.

Campus sexual assault and harassment should be easier to report, and students should feel more supported by faculty and staff and other students to report offenders. The new guidelines would make it more difficult for anyone to report harassment or assault, and harassment would have to be bad enough to drive a student to leave school, impacting their ability to do their best as students. Restricting who students can tell and who will take them seriously will also make it more difficult for them to feel safe in their schools. Reporting assault and harassment is hard, and frightening, and students should be able to report to people that they trust.

I urge both Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and my representative, Chellie Pingree, to please do what they can to keep Title IX protections for students experiencing harassment and assault. These protections need to cover students who are being harassed and assaulted because of their gender identity — trans people are the most vulnerable to harassment and assault. I would like to hear more publicly about how my elected officials are protecting our students from harassment and assault in schools.

Emily Connelly

Portland