February 1, 2013

Letters to the editor: Any of us could become homeless, poor

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Nick Nicholson with Homeless Voices for Justice stands near mats used by homeless people to sleep on at shelters during a November vigil outside Portland City Hall.

2012 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

Richard Bartlett

York

Board's vote to ban BPA recognizes danger to kids

I applaud the action taken by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection on Jan. 17, standing up to Gov. LePage and voting to ban BPA plastics from infant and baby food containers.

As a father, I should have a right to peace of mind regarding my children's health and safety. No parent should ever have to worry that they're poisoning their children.

Too often, our legislative bodies support the efforts of big business to deny the facts of science and health in favor of big money. The evidence for action on BPA was always crystal clear -- BPA harms children; food is a major source of exposure to BPA; and safer alternatives are available and affordable.

No more excuses. It's time our elected officials listen to science and work toward improved health in all aspects of our life.

Christopher Ring

York

Prevalence of guns, number of gun deaths directly linked

What were the Founding Fathers thinking when they wrote the Second Amendment? So Americans could defend themselves. And hunting? Yes. Hunting down schoolchildren and movie-goers and mall shoppers? No.

Let's be clear. When 30,000 Americans die from guns every year, it's not because our mentally ill are running amok with AK-47s. If that were true, we would have 30 times as many mentally ill as Britain, France or Australia, because our gun homicide rate is 30 times that of those countries.

And if the key cause were overexposure to violent video games and movies, then Japan would be way ahead of us in gun deaths, as they have the most graphically violent video games. But their gun homicide rate is close to zero.

Of course we need to do much more to identify and help people with mental illness. Of course we need to find better ways to capture young people's imaginations than through visions of violence and destruction.

But the reason we have so many gun deaths is that we have too many guns. We are 5 percent of the world's population; we have 50 percent of the world's guns. There are more than 88 guns per 100 people in the U.S.; "second place" goes to Yemen, with 45 guns per 100 people. Talk about a dubious distinction.

This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Keep guns for self-defense and hunting if you choose. But acknowledge that our country is awash in too many, too powerful guns that threaten us all.

We must find a balance between Second Amendment rights and the right of all of us to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- without fear of becoming the next gun homicide.

Elizabeth Remage-Healey

Peaks Island

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