City won’t make Franklin Street safer

While I commend Christian McNeil and the Maine League of Young Voters for their steadfast concern for the safety of pedestrians, specifically at the intersection of Marginal Way and Franklin Street, why would they think a resolution passed by Portland’s City Council would influence the Maine Department of Transportation?

Being able to access the Back Cove trail from that point on Marginal Way would be a great amenity for pedestrians, and it makes sense to include its construction with the much-needed improvements of the Interstate 295 ramps and that intersection.

But the MDOT has only to look up Franklin Street (I am a neighbor to it) to see that the City Council does not really care about pedestrian safety along that corridor. 

The City Council has not only been dragging its feet about correcting these unsafe and illegal crossings, but Portland Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky has publicly stated he has no intention of doing so.

I hope the MDOT sees fit to construct the walkway that the league and the City Council endorse, but I wish they and the City Council would be more concerned about the immediate safety of young pedestrians unsafely crossing Franklin Street.

Jay York

Portland

Open-carry gun activist draws supporter, critic

I take offense to Bill Nemitz’s May 14 column “Gun activist shares piece of his mind” on a few different levels. As a “kid his (Shane Belanger’s) age,” I enlisted in the Marine Corps and “greeted the world” with open arms – and with a loaded weapon.

Mr. Nemitz writes that “some would argue that Belanger, at this point, is best ignored,” but I would argue that Belanger is best listened to. I’m at a loss to understand why Mr. Nemitz thinks a 19-year-old who can vote, enlist in the military or be tried as an adult should not be exercising his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

By simply pointing out that Belanger doesn’t “appear to be the least bit sociopathic,” Mr. Nemitz shows his agenda with his badly slanted view. Is it a surprise that the vast number of people who legally carry a concealed weapon are not sociopathic? In fact, by simply obtaining a concealed-carry weapons permit, are citizens not demonstrating their desire to live within the law?

As the large majority of evidence proves, criminals (or terrorists) are not going to halt at the boundaries of “gun-free” zones (the University of Southern Maine campus, anyone?) and say “Oh darn, guess we can’t commit our crime/violence here! It’s a gun-free zone!”

Understandably, Mr. Nemitz attempts to lend a bit of humor in his narrative, but to CCP holders, his joke that “would-be litterbugs” avoid the Back Cove walking path due to the open-carry trash pickup taking place is in extremely poor taste.

In fact, the vast majority of pro-gun people I have spoken to are well-educated, and would no doubt politely ask someone to please not litter, as opposed to using the weapon they choose to carry for a purpose as slight as stopping someone from littering.

If Mr. Nemitz was walking down a Portland street and saw a child being abducted, or an old woman being robbed, would he not be glad to see the legally permitted CCP holder stop the crime in progress, giving the already stressed police time to respond?

I suppose I don’t understand Mr. Nemitz’s accusation that “here in Maine” it is paranoid to carry a concealed weapon. Is the would-be female rape victim with a CCP just being paranoid? Or the father trying to ensure his children’s safety?

Maybe yes, until the day that the legally carried and concealed weapon is used to stop a violent crime. If the caliber (pun intended) of person I have encountered with a CCP is any suggestion, I’m glad they are just “paranoid” enough.

Marine Cpl. Lucas Hallett

Gray

I need to share my opinion on the recent Bill Nemitz column regarding “gun advocate” Shane Belanger.

I would start out by saying I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, which may be confusing since I am a liberal Democrat. I don’t feel it necessary to walk around and flaunt my right to open-carry, and of all places in Portland.

I would plead with Mr. Belanger that his efforts, though noble in some respects, will be misunderstood and instigate activists to counter his right to open- or concealed-carry and generate an unnecessary spotlight on the issue.

If Mr. Belanger took a concealed weapons course, he should remember one of the cardinal rules of carrying a gun: You don’t need to show it to anyone because some people, especially up here in the Northeast, don’t see it as a norm to carry one.

Although this may upset gun rights enthusiasts as they clench their fists shouting they are being discriminated against and have a right to protest, I offer a solution. Do like I have with some of my friends who are scared of guns or not familiar with them.

Take them out shooting sometime and make them comfortable around the reality of guns; in the end they realize people legally carrying guns aren’t crazy and do have the intention of protecting themselves and the general public if necessary.

It’s called education. Your rallies are inviting opposition to organize and change an existing law that supports the Second Amendment, so please knock it off.

Pete Auger

Springvale
 

Why does a Supreme Court justice need to be a judge?

I just read the commentary by Ruth Marcus titled, “Don’t let court picks slide by,” her Washington Post column of May 13 regarding the nomination of Elena Kagan as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was seen as a sort of challenge because she’s never held a sitting judge position.

My questions are these: Are we required to nominate a judge, an ex-judge, a retired judge or a sitting judge? Actually, do we need to nominate an attorney, practicing or retired?

Why not nominate anyone who is a scholar of the following: the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights?

Why not give a test related to all of the above in one or all of the following methods: oral, written (essay), multiple-choice answers, true or false?

Next, similar to going for a doctorate, select a committee to do the orals for the awarding of the post of U.S. Supreme Court justice.

I often wonder how many of our legislators, especially those on the Senate Judiciary Committee, are well-versed in our Constitution.

Gene Stuart

Standish