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December 25, 2012

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

A woman comforts a young girl during a vigil service last week in Newtown, Conn., for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Programs for children with mental and neurological disorders help students adjust to the world around them, but “once they have finished public school, all assistance ends,” isolating at-risk young men, a reader says.

Letters to the editor: Readers weigh ways to stop violence

As a mother, grandmother and teacher, I have experienced with great sorrow and empathy the tragedy at Sandy Hook school. It is the worst possibility for a teacher to lose the ability to protect the children in his or her care.

I am grateful that our leaders are discussing the need to regulate semi-automatic weapons again; this might be an impediment to violence, but it is not the cure to the problem.

Having taught for 25 years, I have watched many children with neurological and mental disorders progress through our system. We provide direct one-on-one services to help these students in class, at recess and at lunch.

Group sessions teach them how to understand people's facial expressions and how to deal with different social situations. Problem solving is encouraged and aided throughout the child's day. Without this assistance, the child could not succeed in school. Period.

Yet once they have finished public school, all assistance ends. Young men are left in the isolated care of parents. They usually can't succeed at employment or college without an organized and specific program designed to help them to succeed.

If you are very wealthy, these programs can be found. Otherwise, each family copes as best it can. Sometimes it ends in a very public tragedy and sometimes in a quiet personal tragedy. Sometimes just a quiet desperate life.

Our society needs to face this growing problem for the sake of all families in our country. It cannot be ignored until another tragedy breaks our hearts.

Valerie Razsa

Gray 

Over the course of these past several years, I have been struck by the fact nothing is said about empowering families of the mentally disturbed with guardianship.

Even a limited or emergency guardianship could enable families to get the help their mentally ill members need, in the event they refuse it. The court holds the guardian to a high level of accountability, to ensure appropriate treatment, and to prevent abuse of power.

Guardianship, coupled with making sure weapons or potential weapons are removed from the home, or locked away, could surely go a long way in preventing many of the tragedies we read about.

Therapists and front-line responders could heighten awareness of this option simply by asking if the disturbed person is under guardianship. This might get families to start thinking about a course of action that could protect both the disturbed person and society.

Zoe Goody

Cape Elizabeth 

The time has come for television and films to STOP all depicted violence.

It is totally unnecessary for blood, guts, murder and shootings to be thrown in our faces.

Ron Coles

Alfred 

On my recent trip to Israel, I felt very safe entering schools, restaurants, synagogues and other buildings because every one of the buildings had an armed guard at the door.

We in this country will not be able to infringe on the rights the Second Amendment gives us, nor can we lock up all the potentially insane people who carry out these horrendous acts.

We were able in this country to create the Transportation Security Administration for the airports to help prevent another 9/11. It's time we create a similar protective bureau for schools and other public buildings where people gather.

Mark Aranson

Cumberland 

Union lawlessness ignored by pro-Democratic paper 

I have been a subscriber to the Press Herald ever since you stopped publishing the Evening Express. Over that time period, I have been dismayed by the increasingly left tilt in your editorial policies, and your decisions concerning what stories would be covered, and how they would be covered.

The Dec. 13 newspaper was a classic example of how far to the left you have wandered, and I have to say that I believe the latest turn further left results from the ownership of the paper being in the hands of the husband of Rep. Chellie Pingree.

On Dec. 12, there was a classic example of labor union lawlessness at right-to-work protests in Detroit, which I only learned about by listening to talk radio.

The radio folks, when reporting the story, pointed out that the listeners would be unlikely to see anything about this event on the evening TV news, or in their local newspaper, and they were correct.

If similar unlawful behavior were committed by members of the tea party, or the management of a business, it would get plenty of coverage. There is video of this unlawful behavior on the Internet if you missed it.

The obvious reason for your lack of coverage is the connection between organized labor and the Democratic Party. You are obviously in the tank for the left and would not publish a story that cast labor, and therefore the Democrats, in a less-than-favorable light.

Shame on you for this blatant act of political bias.

William Foley

Scarborough 

'2 percenter' pays taxes to aid vulnerable citizens 

To those on the right who seek to protect us "job creators," please stop. We in the top 2 percent don't need protection. We are the fortunate ones. Yes, many of us worked hard to rise to this privileged club. But make no mistake, privilege it is. And with privilege comes responsibility.

Look, taxes happen. No one likes them, but we do like what we get from them. As a physician, I am particularly sensitive to the health needs of our most vulnerable citizens.

Universal health coverage, better education, better roads and more sustainable energy options: These are programs I value and am ready to put some money where my mouth is, so to speak. We are not talking about a lot more money, either.

So I call on Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to allow taxes to rise on those making more than $250,000 a year, as President Obama put forth in his deficit plan.

Heidi Henninger

Yarmouth





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