Kudos to the Waynflete students who wrote letters to the editor expressing their opinions on wind power. Although my views differ on some of the points expressed, I applaud them for their reasoned arguments and their admirable level of interest in public policy and civic engagement (“Students’ opinions get blasted on the Web,” March 14).

As for the personal attacks leveled at them in online comments: The public discourse, unfortunately, has always included a small minority of cowards who seem most comfortable hurling anonymous insults. Online “comment” sections seem to be the gathering place du jour for them right now.

Pay no attention — most people, whether they agree or disagree with their views, would rather have an adult conversation than an elementary-school food fight.

Dan Koehler

Portland

 

 

The negative Web responses to the Waynflete students’ letters in favor of wind farms show exactly what is wrong with our society these days.

Instead of offering reasoned opposition to the students’ ideas, the anonymous responders resorted to insults and personal attacks — on them, their teacher, and their school (“Propaganda-spewing zombies,” “children should be seen and not heard,” “naive babes,” “I would haul (my kid) out of there and demand my tuition back.”).

So what will the students have learned from this? Surely that well-thought out opinions will as often be met with vitriol as with a thoughtful response. No wonder that in the photo showing them discussing this with their teacher they look not just serious but sad. Their expressions say it all.

Jonah Rosenfield is to be congratulated both for the purpose of the original assignment and for the way he and his students have handled the response.

The question is not whether they will become independent thinkers — they already are well on their way. The real question is, when will the rest of us grow up?

Grace Hinrichs

Rockport

 

 

The opinion column by publisher Richard L. Connor on the Waynflete students (“Lack of civility greets letters,” March 14) should teach the young and impassioned that people who disagree with their position on a topic are just as impassioned as they are!

If one gives one’s opinion in a public newspaper, one had better be ready for dissenting opinions.

As for lack of civility in the dissenting comments concerning wind power, there is no excuse, but I’ll bet in this case, it’s pure frustration at feeling that the wind power projects (Angus King’s, for instance) may well be a fait accompli.

Rose Marie Russell

Westbrook

 

 

Loud motorcycles distracting, but so are distracted drivers

 

With the nice weather, we are seeing motorcycles on our highways again, and the controversy continues regarding noisy motorcycles.

I, and I’m sure that there are many more that feel the same as I do, and that is: Why is it so difficult to enforce laws that are already on the books?

I am not a lawyer, but it seems clear enough to me that if the state requires all motor vehicles to have an annual inspection, that includes motorcycles. Even if motorcycles are not required to display a sticker at the current time, I know that when a motorcycle is emitting excessive noise, members of law enforcement should be able to hear the same noise and check that motorcycle for a current inspection sticker, which we are required to carry with us at all times.

Legitimate shops will not issue a sticker to a motorcycle that does not have the proper exhaust system. I was a police officer for a brief time and I don’t recall that when I took the oath that there was any time that it was said that I had the option of making my own decision toward issuing a summons for some and not for others.

Could it be that some members of law enforcement agencies are in violation of the muffler law themselves?

Makes one wonder, doesn’t it — and no, I won’t be intimidated.

Jerry Betters

Member of MECALM (Maine Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles)

Gorham

 

 

In response to the debate that had been going on about the noise level from motorcycles, I would just like to say that maybe I would tone down my bike if people hung up their phones. I need my bike to be loud to compete with all types of distracted drivers who are talking, texting, listening to iPods.

But yet, we’ll focus on a problem that is really only happens a few months out of the year. I’m pretty sure distracted driving happens year round.

Dave Green

Portland

 

I have already seen several letters here where people are complaining about loud motorcycle exhaust systems. Let me say that I ride a Harley-Davidson and that I have put a new set of exhaust pipes on my bike.

I can understand the frustration that people have with loud bikes. Some of you may not agree, but I differentiate between the pipes that I and most guys put on their bikes versus the straight racing pipes that some guys use. The volume of my bike is a bit louder, a bit, and I get a little more horsepower. I love the sound. It’s as American as baseball, apple pie and muscle cars.

On the other hand, your bike should not sound like an F-16. This understandably upsets people and makes all of us look bad. These few people who use this type of exhaust should be slapped down.

So to all of you guys who wish to swap out their stock pipes for something different, use a little sense. Don’t put on those straight pipes because all of us bikers will have to pay the price for your ignorance.

And to all of those people who wish to punish those of us who use other than stock exhaust, please try to use a commonsense solution where only the really obnoxious people will pay.

Shawn Moran

Westbrook

 

 

Coast Guard oil spill drill reminder of fossil fuel risks

 

Today, the Coast Guard will conduct an oil spill drill along Maine’s coast. Although it’s just a drill, it reminds me of what our dependence on dirty energy could do to our coastal environment, our tourism industry and our fishing industry.

passing strong climate legislation, we can make our coast safer from oil spills, reduce our dependence on oil and create a clean-energy economy. We would also be protecting our tourism and fishing industries. I ask Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to work hard to pass this piece of legislation.

Minal Patel

Portland