Matt Brown in his “Another View” on Jan. 22 (“Many choices in a free society come with risks, not just guns”) equates the lethality of firearms with that of tobacco and alcohol, and he pronounces that, “The risks, dangers and consequences” of all three are “the price we pay to live with these personal liberties and freedom.”

What Mr. Brown omits is the fact that tobacco and alcohol are highly regulated and subject to reasonable restrictions intended to protect the health and safety of our citizenry.

Any such attempt to impose reasonable, common-sense restrictions on firearms for the same purpose are met with intense opposition and lobbying from the NRA and people like Mr. Brown, and are usually defeated.

Drunk driving and smoking in public buildings are inarguably dangerous to the public safety, but there are laws to prevent these things from happening and consequences for people caught doing them.

I think it’s reasonable to ask that firearms be subjected to the same level of regulation.

No one that I know is asking for a ban on firearms any more than they are asking for a ban on tobacco or alcohol, but a ban on 33-round magazines does not seem overly restrictive.

Maybe Mr. Brown possesses “the imagination to understand why anyone would need such a thing,” but I do not. And yes, I am a gun owner.

Steve Clark

Freeport

A gun does not kill. In order for a gun to kill, it takes a human being to pull the trigger, up until that point a gun is just a chunk of metal with no mind or conscience.

This country does not need more gun-control laws. What it needs are stiffer penalties on those who break the law.

Cheryl Moore

Kennebunk

LePage right to boost more vocational education

I listened to Gov. LePage’s inauguration speech. My ears perked up when the governor stated the need to emphasis a greater focus on vocational education.

Being a carpenter my whole life and a former school committee member in Sanford, I not only understand the need and opportunities for an educated workforce, but here in Sanford and the surrounding communities the working vision of the Great Works School has been one of our high priorities.

We too believe in the integration of vocational and academics, a 9-to-16 grade experience, entreprenurship and virtual learning. These are just a few examples of what we’re trying to do. It certainly sounds to my ears that the governor is right on the money.

The question is, does he have the ears of the rest of Augusta to make projects like ours happen?

Robert DeZenzo

Sanford

Redskins team name flap needless for two reasons

I just don’t get it. The paper had an article about yet another school that has chosen to give up its Native American mascot “Redskins” because of a complaint that the name is offensive.

Why? Used in the context of a school mascot, which strives to convey a sense of strength, integrity and intelligence, how is that offensive?

Anything chosen as a school mascot would be chosen because it conveys those positive qualities, not because it is meant to insult some group or make the school look bad.

I can only think of the image of a Native American in that context as positive. A school mascot supports and improves that image.

By making such a big deal about this and removing this mascot name that can only be seen as positive, instead conveys a negative image.

Tim McCauley

Biddeford

Regarding the Wiscasset Redskins team name, our suggestion would be that if it’s the name the kids want to keep, tell them to keep the name and change the Indian head wearing the feathered headdress icon to an icon of redskin potatoes.

It’s a Maine product, redskins, and they have quite a good reputation as being healthful. You can Google redskin potatoes for the scientific info.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter H. Frink

Franklin

Governor’s background should help him listen

In the wake of the tragic display of violence in Tucson, President Barack Obama issued a call for a new level of civility in our public discourse. Most Americans agree that the rhetoric that fills the media too often is filled with vulgarity and a boorish disrespect for the values and voices of others.

The people of Maine, and particularly its elected officials, have long enjoyed a national reputation for integrity, fairness and decency.

Recently, I read a profile of Maine’s new governor, Paul Le-Page. I was sincerely taken by the story of the hardship he endured as a child and the many obstacles he had to overcome on his way to becoming a success in business and politics.

That a person can start from the most trying of circumstances, and become the governor of Maine, is testament to the exceptionalism that characterizes our great nation. I felt a sense of pride in Gov. LePage’s personal realization of the American Dream.

Regrettably, that pride diminished when I read the manner in which he contemptuously dismissed the NAACP as just another “special interest” unworthy of his time or attention.

The governor’s characterization of the NAACP reflects a surprising lack of understanding of the role the organization continues to play in securing the inalienable rights promised to all Americans.

It acts to support their interests regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or economic circumstances.

In asking that a measure of respect be paid to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave his life promoting the very rights and opportunities that allowed Mr. LePage to rise to his current position, the NAACP was not seeking to tap into the state’s treasury.

It was just trying to touch the governor’s humanity.

Janet Langhart Cohen

Author and playwright; Co-founder of Race and Reconciliation in America

Chevy Chase, Md.