A man who beat his grandmother to death with a hammer murders again after serving a scant 17 years in prison, and the Press Herald trumpets the news that he chose the same weapon used in the Newtown massacre (“Similar guns used in N.Y., Conn. killings,” Dec. 26). Why not: “Convicted killer kills again”?

The reason is found in a commentary where Greg Kesich is busy noting the Bill of Rights is not a “suicide pact” as he advocates the irrelevance of the Second Amendment (“Everything is on the table in gun violence debate but guns,” Dec. 26).

The advocates of gun control seem to be the same folks who advocate socially liberal policies like the rehabilitation and early release of killers and mainstreaming of the mentally ill.

It seems these “rights advocates” ought to be concerned about the loss of all constitutional rights, the right to bear arms, along with the freedom of speech and the press. If the right to own and carry guns is the root of the violence, perhaps talking about and publishing the story is an equal accomplice. How long will it be before the same forces call to ban all three?

Peter Guidi

Portland

Unions are job destroyers, Hostess experience shows

The Bakers Union really showed Hostess, didn’t they? You have a company fighting to stay afloat and the Bakers Union goes out on strike.

When I saw the pickets in front of the Hostess plant on the news, I was reminded of those murals that Gov. LePage removed from the Department of Labor building and the Democrats and labor unions want put back up.

Those murals depict union members walking the picket lines in front of various factories and mills here in Maine. Many of those same unions are still in existence today, but the factories and mills are all gone. The unions made them noncompetitive and they simply moved out of state or closed down.

The bottom line is that labor unions are not job creators but job killers. That is one of the reasons today that unions are declining in the private sector. Only in the public sector are unions flourishing, and that is because only the taxpayers can afford the wages, benefits and retirements unions demand.

But recent events may be a harbinger of things to come in the public sector. Several California cities and towns have filed for bankruptcy because they can no longer afford the union retirements. The Postal Service is going bankrupt because it cannot afford to pay future medical costs for its union retirees.

Having no job and no paycheck as compared to having a job and a reduced paycheck made sense to the Bakers Union. I am sure that there are employers waiting in line to add these dedicated union workers to their payrolls.

Raymond T. West

Topsham

Republican Party has lost its way since Lincoln’s time

What has happened to the progressive Republican Party — the party of Abraham Lincoln?

This past election was filled with Republican efforts to stop minorities from voting. Even here in Maine, we had state Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster questioning voters solely based on the color of their skin. We remember that our governor told the NAACP to “kiss my butt.” Really? This is the 21st century.

Abraham Lincoln called for the “colored” vote in his last speech prior to his assassination. Must we regress to the pre-Civil War era?

Much has been said about why the Republican Party lost the presidency despite all their efforts to suppress “minority” votes. It’s pretty simple, really. They forgot their history, their constituency and the Constitution.

Black people vote. Women vote. Hispanics vote. The Irish vote. Educated and uneducated vote. White, black, brown, yellow and red vote.

The United States of America doesn’t discriminate. That is what the Civil War was about (although it was far later for the American Indian to gain the right to vote). Our electives are elected by all of us to represent all of us.

It is interesting to note that in Abraham Lincoln’s time, the northern states were Republican and the southern were Democratic. The Republicans once represented the progressive vote! The Republican Party surely has lost its way, in so very many different ways.

As for those people who wish to secede from the United States, you are free to leave. We don’t want another civil war. It was already fought, and many died for our democracy.

Barbara Early

Scarborough

Senator lauded for signing on to Older Workers act

On behalf of AARP’s 230,000 members in Maine, I am writing to thank Sen. Susan Collins for signing on as a co-sponsor to The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, S.2189.

Age discrimination in the workplace is an increasingly serious problem. Regrettably, in 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court made things worse by imposing a much higher burden of proof on those workers who allege age discrimination than on workers who allege discrimination based on race, sex, religion or national origin.

The result is that a growing number of unemployed individual workers who have been discriminated against because of their age are unable to seek justice. Further, it can mean that more older workers are choosing to remain silent about their age discrimination claims.

This proposal will ensure equal opportunity for older workers, and Sen. Collins should be commended for signing on to it.

John Hennessy

AARP Maine advocacy director

Portland

Artistry appreciated in Fisher’s photo illustration

Thank you, Michael Fisher, for the beautiful photo illustration that accompanied Colin Woodard’s commentary (“Republicans have a Yankee problem,” Dec. 16).

All too often the graphic elements in a newspaper seem like a last-minute addition, with the artist given very little time to “come up with something.” Not so with this one!

Newspaper graphic artists have the daily task of taking information and creating eye-catching graphs, charts and illustrations that add a purposeful element to stories. As a designer, I have a keen appreciation for what’s involved in this work and wanted to acknowledge Fisher’s artistry. I hope to see more of this.

Tracy Burke

Cape Elizabeth