December 23, 2012

Letters to the editor: Nemitz mostly misses mark on NRA

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Newtown Mourners
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Mourners embrace Monday outside the Newtown, Conn., funeral home where a service was held for one of the 20 local schoolchildren killed Dec. 14. Readers take issue with a column critical of the NRA in the context of the tragedy.

REUTERS

Rex S. Waite

Norway

In response to Bill Nemitz's bandwagon assault on the National Rifle Association: First, let me state that I have no dog in this fight. I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I hunt.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Nemitz has such a well-read platform made available to him in order to spread his own factless agenda as if it were based on truths beyond reproach.

Why does he think the NRA "has much to answer for" regarding this horrific event in Connecticut? They had absolutely nothing to do with it, and to suggest that they did is as ridiculous as suggesting that the autoworkers' union is responsible for the next traffic fatality.

This deranged individual would have carried this out even if all firearms were not allowed to be owned by private citizens. In fact, it was illegal for him to possess the pistols due to his age as it was, and the law was obviously not a deterrent.

Unfortunately, his deceased mother has some accountability here, as her legally obtained and owned firearms were apparently not properly secured to prevent unauthorized use.

I hold Mr. Nemitz's own media substantially accountable here for fanning the flames by sensationalizing these events and encouraging copycats to achieve the next "highest score." The scope and type of coverage is nothing short of obscene.

Mr. Nemitz only laid blame and offered no answers, which seems to be the media and political norm.

Do I have the answers? Nope. I think that there are immediate things that could be improved upon that make complete sense, such as making sure there are no cracks in our background checks.

We must work on the cause and not chastise the tool. Until the resistance exceeds the threat, the threat will always win.

Dave Whitaker

Saco

Series unfairly blames police for deaths of the mentally ill

As the wife of a police officer and a teacher at a Connecticut school less than 30 minutes away from Newtown for eight years, I am compelled to write.

Before this horrible tragedy, I could not understand your reason for featuring a four-day front-page series of articles ("Deadly Force: Police and the Mentally Ill," Dec. 9-12) on Maine police who were "not trained" properly or a system that lacked "sufficient funds" to train police officers.

It was almost as if you blamed police for doing their job. You used words such as "death toll," words that should be used for tragedies (9/11, Hurricane Sandy, etc.), not for police doing their jobs.

Although the facts are still unfolding in this horrific attack in Connecticut, it appears that a mentally ill man opened fire on two first-grade classrooms. I wonder if you still would have printed these same stories on the mentally ill after Dec. 14. I am guessing not.

Amy Roberts

Scarborough

In response to your series "Deadly Force: Police and the Mentally Ill":

Having participated in several police training exercises in Maine, including firearms training and use-of-force training, I can testify that the police are already at a severe disadvantage in any violent confrontation. Adding another step to an officer's decision to use force is both unnecessary and dangerous for both the officers and the public.

There are certainly cases where officers' use of force exceeds the needs of a situation, but the evaluation of those cases should be independent of the mental state of a suspect.

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