February 23, 2013

Letters to the editor: Prison crowding points up bad drug policy

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A drug addict holds used needles to exchange for new ones in Portugal, which decriminalized drug use in 2000. A reader says that Gov. LePage’s prison expansion plan highlights the need to review U.S. drug laws so that nonviolent drug offenders don’t continue to crowd our prisons.

2010 File Photo/The Associated Press

Constance W. Jordan, MSN, ANP, PMHNP

CEO, Behavioral Health Resources

Cape Elizabeth

Does 'right to bear arms' apply to major armaments?

I have to agree with letter writer John Parker of Falmouth, who wonders why the National Rifle Association is against any limits on the size of gun magazines ("Scrutinize U.S. gun owners as closely as we do drivers," Feb. 12).

Anyone who consistently advocates that the Second Amendment gives us all a right "to keep and bear arms" would do well to address a few issues:

Do you believe the numerous national laws that govern hand-held machine guns should be eliminated? Should we all be allowed to own and use rocket-propelled grenades? And what about MANPADS, or man-portable air-defense systems, a kind of surface-to-air missile?

These are all arms that can be borne. If the Second Amendment is as sacrosanct as many gun advocates argue, those people ought to argue that every man, woman and child has the right to own and use these three kinds of armaments.

If, on the other hand, it only makes sense that there should be limits to the scope of the Second Amendment, whether or not large magazines (or assault rifles) ought to be legal is open to question.

I very much doubt that anyone who flies, including members of the NRA, would be comfortable knowing that MANPADS were easily available.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

China, Russia surpass U.S. at ensuring income equality

In his Another View editorial, "Tax breaks for Maine employers benefit Maine's workers, too" (Feb. 17), Don Kopp suggests that countries such as China and Russia that have tried to establish a more equal distribution of income have not succeeded.

Had Mr. Kopp taken the time to learn the details about how well China and Russia have done in creating "equal societies," he would have discovered the answer is "pretty well."

It turns out that for both of his examples, income equality is better than that in the United States. In a ranking of income equality published by the Central Intelligence Agency, at the top of the list was Sweden, China and Russia ranked 81st and 82nd, respectively, while the United States was 93rd.

I fear the other arguments he used in his essay may well be equally flawed.

Jonathan Mitschele

New Gloucester

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