Monday, December 9, 2013
The Second Amendment was enacted in the wake of our long, bloody revolution with the then-corrupt, tyrannical British monarchy. We had a tiny standing military and limited means to support one. The necessity of an armed militia to provide for the common defense was critical to the new United States of America.
A gun owner wears a holstered, unloaded pistol at a Second Amendment rally in Sacramento, Calif., in 2010. The ambiguous wording of the amendment has sowed confusion regarding firearm regulation, readers say.
2010 File Photo/The Associated Press
Today, we have a professional military, augmented by the National Guard, the Reserves, the Coast Guard and professional police. The requirement for the citizen-soldier no longer exists.
Rather, the vague wording of the Second Amendment and scattershot rulings of the Supreme Court on the issue have created a climate of confusion regarding firearm regulation in America. It is time to repeal the amendment and replace it with 21st-century regulation.
Many people recoil at the idea of tinkering with the Bill of Rights, but several points.
• James Madison felt that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and redundant to the implied rights embedded within the Constitution itself.
• The Framers, in their wisdom, realized that they did not have all the answers and that the world is constantly changing, so they left us with Article V, which has led America to amend the original document 27 times.
The recent mass murders in Newtown, on the heels of other, similar events in recent years, followed by the murders of firefighters in upstate New York, should give us pause once again, to reflect on the future direction of America.
The National Rifle Association would have us add more armed guards in schools. Should we also arm every firefighter? Where does it stop? We must re-evaluate the core value that has led us here.
Section 1. The Second Amendment is hereby repealed.
Section 2. Congress shall enact legislation regulating the sale and ownership of firearms.
We must have the debate.
The debate rages on about the true intent of the Second Amendment, with those with ardent feelings both for and against individuals owning guns justifying polar opposite positions with words from the amendment. This sentence, thanks to its wording and curious punctuation, is as ambiguous today -- especially on the critical aspect of individuals' rights -- as it was when it was drafted in the age of muskets.
This ambiguity is the very thing that suits those who make killings, both financial and literal, from our gun laws, but for the rest of us it's a deadly menace. The Second Amendment is badly in need of repeal and replacement.
The Constitution is not a sacred text -- it was made and amended by men. The Framers did not get everything right, but they left us with tools to fix things.
The process of such an overhaul should be overseen by a truly representative group of citizens to produce a common-sense framework and replace the Second Amendment with something that is fair to the greatest number of people, by balancing the need for safe communities with the wishes of those responsible citizens for whom gun ownership is a part of their heritage and culture.
The purely commercial ramifications of repeal and replacement should not be considered in the negotiations.
Unlike bulletproof doors, arts benefit schoolchildren
In his commentary on suitable responses to gun slaughter ("Too many guns? No," Dec. 23), David Trahan fields the notion that we might suspend the arts budget for those new schools that do not acquire bulletproof doors.
Why are these two things even in the same sentence? The arts promote expression, dialogue and joy. A mandated bulletproof door symbolizes nothing but fear, and, as the author himself suggests, may not even stop an intruder.
This public school teacher votes for more funding for the arts, for the sake of the kids and community.
Talents Program, Harrison Middle School, Yarmouth
and Brunswick resident
Few solar energy systems face production problems
Though the solar array mentioned in a Dec. 9 letter to the editor ("A lesson on grid-tied solar power") was not installed by ReVision Energy, we sympathize fully with the owner's frustration. However, we would also like to point out that the issue experienced is extremely rare.
Of the thousands of solar energy systems installed in the state (1,800-plus by ReVision Energy), we know of only two other instances (also in the Bangor Hydro Electric service area).
Grid-tied solar inverters may only connect with an electrical signal operating within a specific range of voltage and frequency. If the electrical signal exceeds that range, the inverter is required to disconnect and stop producing power.
Most inverters have a five-minute wait period after a disturbance, so unless the error is frequent, it should not lead to more than a few minutes of downtime each day. While frustrating, the overall effect, assuming the system is down five minutes a day, every day of the year, is a reduction of about 1 percent of the system's performance.
More often, below-expected production is due to poor shade analysis and optimistic modeling on behalf of the solar installer.
ReVision Energy has a strong commitment to providing accurate production estimates for proposed solar projects using industry-accepted best practices including site survey equipment (Solar Pathfinder, Solmetric SunEye), and system output modeling (PVWatts, Polysun).
As of April 2012, Efficiency Maine requires solar installers to carry a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners PV Installer Certification and to model system performance before applying for the state rebate.
As the cost of conventional energy sources increases, owners of solar energy systems are enjoying a reliable return on investment from their solar purchase, as well as helping to reduce regional carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuel sources of energy.
Fortunat Mueller, P.E.
ReVision Energy, LLC
Article offers biased view of authorities' use of force
Tux Turkel's Dec. 9 front-page article ("Deadly Force: Police and the Mentally Ill") is a four-page diatribe questioning Maine's state and local law enforcement's use of force, with particular reference made to the mentally ill who've been killed by a police officer.
While undeniably tragic, simply put, law enforcement responds when lives are threatened. Turkel seeks to instill the reader with doubt and distrust and to question the adequacy of law enforcement training. Journalistic objectivity is lost amid the colorful visual layout and denunciatory language.
Bold letters, many highlighted in red ("deadly," "bloodshed," "killed in 2011," "The Toll in Maine"); sidebars of "key findings," and large photographs of grieving people whose family members have died as a result of Maine's "inadequately trained" police force barrage the reader in an attempt to sway us toward agreement with the author's views.
I read every single word, searching for balance, and found but a few informed, objective quotes from Sheriff Maurice Ouellette and Carol Carothers. Turkel seemingly has no idea how many times a potentially deadly situation is defused and ends quietly or that when a law enforcement officer draws his or her gun, it's the last resort in a dire situation.
Officers (and their families) face every single day with the hope that the shift is quiet and uneventful. Does Turkel know what it's like to be mistrusted, disrespected and even hated solely because you wear a badge?
My suggestion to Tux Turkel would be to take a monthlong ride in the passenger seat of a police cruiser in any town in any county of this state.
Spend some time with both state and local agencies, experience how they train and what they endure each day and let's see if the language and color of his article would be different. I dare to think it would.
Marnie L. Rollerson