January 13, 2013

Letters to the editor: Free speech and abortion protests

(Continued from page 1)

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Louis Sigel, left, a pro-abortion rights protester, exchanges words with anti-abortion protester Leslie Sneddon outside Planned Parenthood in Portland at a rally Jan. 4 organized by a business owner who said he’s trying to dislodge the weekly anti-abortion pickets. Readers debate whether the weekly protests are examples of peaceful speech or harassment.

2013 File Photo/John Patriquin

I do believe that if guns were severely regulated, and assault weapons the prerogative of the military and law enforcement, it would be a lot harder for people to obtain these weapons. But people who wish to wipe out an elementary school are pretty unusual. There is no real way to protect ourselves from that.

There is a lot of discussion about mental illness, arming principals and bullet-proofing school doors. I agree that mental illness needs to be addressed and school safety is an issue. But nothing will stop a determined person with an assault rifle.

Some people just like guns. From that come all the arguments concerning the need for citizens to arm themselves. Rationalizations come after the fact.

Hunting with rifles. Sure. Target practice? Why not? I'm pretty sure I don't need to arm myself at home or carry a weapon on my way to Hannaford. In case you think that I have had no experience around weapons, I served as a trainer for the U.S. Army.

Newtown, and all horrendous shootings, are incredibly sad and shocking. But that doesn't mean that we can fully understand or prevent them.

More difficult access and severe regulation might prevent all but the most determined individuals from committing these heinous acts. People will always be able to skirt the law. We can only hope to make it harder, and prevent deaths resulting from weapons easily accessible in homes.

Rachel Schwartz

South Portland

'Diatribe' offers misleading take on Republican ideas

I don't often respond to editorial comments, but I felt it necessary to respond to Tom Walton's diatribe ("Voice of the People: Don't Republican voters enjoy entitlements, too?" Dec. 30).

Mr. Walton's lack of knowledge and fuzzy thinking about Republicans, and I assume conservatives, is monumental. I fear he has fallen for many of the lies spewed in the liberal blogosphere.

No Republican or conservative I know, and believe me, I know many, wants to destroy Social Security or Medicare. In order to save them, however, modifications need to be made. What those modifications are is up to Congress to work out, although I do have some ideas.

Republicans want to help those in real need, but oppose the welfare state that robs people of their dignity and puts them in a permanent state of dependency. Help for anyone, except the permanently disabled or needy elderly, should be temporary. Those who work hard to provide for their families should not be expected to support those who chose not to.

To say that Republicans only care for the rich is so nonsensical that it defies logic. Most Republicans are middle class, work hard and believe that the government should not be able to pick the pockets of the successful hardworking folks (both Republicans and Democrats) in order to spend it on programs for those who refuse to work.

Finally, how much debt beyond the $16 trillion already incurred should the government be allowed to rack up?

Conservative Republicans say that it's time to stop robbing our children and grandchildren, for this is a debt that they will have to pay the interest on for their whole lives.

Agree or not with what most of us Republicans believe, at least now Mr. Walton should have a clearer picture. We want our country to remain a land of opportunity.

Russell Warnberg


Cindy Blodgett's successor seems to lack qualifications

I find it strange that no one has commented about the University of Maine women's basketball team. UMaine brought in a hatchet man solely to get rid of the treasure of women's basketball, Cindy Blodgett.

His name is Steve Abbott. He appointed Richard Barron to replace her, and Barron, as best as I can see, never was a head coach.

How is that working out?

Jack Barry


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