January 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Money for arms, but little for the people

It's the hidden time bomb just waiting to explode -- your series about the underground world of pipes for drinking water and sewer systems that keep Portland working (

"No guarantees: Portland Water District at risk for more breaks,"
click image to enlarge

Crews work to repair a water main break on Dartmouth Street in Portland on Dec. 20. “The $8 billion a month now wasted in Afghanistan would fix a lot of pipes across the nation,” a reader says.

2012 File Photo/Gabe Souza

Dec. 31). They are collapsing across the nation, and there is virtually no money to repair them.

The Portland Press Herald reported that replacing everything that needs to be replaced systemwide would cost $630 million. The city's current budget for such repairs is $3 million a year.

The $8 billion a month now wasted in Afghanistan would fix a lot of pipes across the nation. But alas, it is not yet to be.

Can one begin to imagine, just for a moment, that those who really control the levers of power in Washington know that this problem exists nationwide and they choose to ignore it because they have their own agenda?

I would humbly suggest that the corporate oligarchy does not care about this country, or any other country. Instead, they have bigger fish to fry these days.

International capital is about running the whole global show -- and the way to pull this deal off is to drain all nations of their treasury and leave the workers in a place where they have to toil for practically nothing if they wish to survive.

Then they arm themselves to the teeth under the auspices of NATO as they fully expect pushback from the masses. It's a return to feudalism -- except this time the lords and masters run the megabanks and corporations.

Aren't we lucky to live in such exciting times? The challenge is not to sleepwalk through the journey.

Bruce Gagnon



Guns allow deadly impulses to be acted on immediately


Re: "Biddeford landlord charged with murdering two" (Dec. 31):

Is James Pak, the man accused of shooting and killing two teenagers in Biddeford, the "lunatic" and "monster," a person "so deranged, so evil, so possessed," whom National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre referred to in his rant following the senseless murders in Newtown, Conn.? Or is Mr. Pak a seemingly respectable businessman, landlord and war veteran, who for reasons beyond comprehension shot and killed two people?

Two young people are dead, allegedly at the hands of an intoxicated man with a handgun, and two families and countless friends and relatives are traumatized and devastated.

This, in addition to several other senseless murders that have taken place since the massacre in Connecticut, yet the NRA would have us believe that Mr. Pak should have a gun to protect himself. Against himself, apparently.

Guns, in fact, do kill people; they provide a lethal means to an end when tempers flare and situations escalate beyond control.

Besides the senseless death and loss, the saddest element is that one of his victims called the police before the shooting began. The young man reached out for help. He tried to protect his family.

Thirteen minutes later he and his girlfriend were dead, his mother left for dead and his brother permanently scarred.

Until the NRA warns ordinary citizens about the dangers of ordinary citizens possessing lethal firearms, I suggest that all politicians and NRA members rescind their memberships and demand transformational change in NRA leadership. And until then, as a nation, let's stop giving the NRA a voice in the conversation. I think we've heard enough.

Sarah Maloney



Regarding the shooting in Biddeford over a parking dispute, leaving two teenagers dead:

This is what gun-toting National Rifle Association apologists mean by protecting themselves: They want the right to kill on impulse.

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