Once again, the justice system has failed us. How are we to believe in a system that does not hold people accountable?

The case of Herbert Jones showing up outside an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with a rifle, admitting his intent on taking at least one life, is a serious example of the court system not measuring up to its duty (“Gunman at PHS spared prison,” July 2).

Had a police officer not stumbled upon the gunman in the process of loading the rifle, most probably all hell would have broken loose.

The officer, after the situation was diffused, could be heard several times saying, “I just saved a lot of lives.” That could not be more true.

Eighty people were in the room where the alleged target was. A man brandishing a gun and shooting would have sent people into a complete panic, and many could have died in the stampede out two small doors.

This was a terribly selfish act of a man that could not attain the woman of his obsession – he being the father of two daughters.

The attempted shooting sent great fear throughout the community and forever tainted the life of the gunman’s family and all involved.

Sending this man off for treatment is basically a long-term rehab for a man who perpetrated a terrible injustice.

One wonders, would the defense lawyer and judge have treated this case the same had their wives or children been attending that meeting?

The high school and AA members have sacred lives that should be honored much better than this.

Zoo Cain

South Portland



Conservative views offer nothing more than noise


Opening up the editorial section of The Portland Press Herald every day and reading the opinions of my fellow Mainers is always thought-provoking, but the level of fact-deprivation from conservative contributors has reached new heights.

The typical letter contains one or both of the following bits of fear mongering: The first is inevitably a not-so-subtle allusion to the terrifying specter of creeping socialism hidden in the president’s agenda.

The writers are welcome to their opinions, but I would beg them to answer this question; Would a socialist president champion a health care bill that requires all Americans to be insured through the same massive private insurance companies that have always insured us?

If critics think that is socialism, they need to read up on what socialism is.

The second and most inflammatory point inevitably brought up is an oft-repeated warning that this president is putting the lives of Americans in danger with his foreign policy. In reality, since being sworn in a year and a half ago, President Obama has not retreated an inch.

He more than tripled the number of American troops fighting terrorists inside Afghanistan, and perhaps of equal importance, greatly expanded the Predator drone strike program inside Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of high-ranking Taliban and al-Qaida members.

The din of accusations from conservatives directed at President Obama has become so constant and predictable, the only comparison I can make is to those vuvuzela horns that drone on endlessly in the background of every World Cup match.

The conservative monotone doesn’t offer alternatives, solutions or God forbid, compromise, but instead just directs a barrage of vitriolic but conveniently vague criticism at the president. I’m going to treat their noise the same way I treat the vuvuzela: Just hit “mute.”

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach



Loss of stimulus bill hurts all Americans


Senate Republicans “successfully” filibustered and killed a recent stimulus bill that would have extended benefits to the unemployed.

With the unemployment rate stuck at nearly 10 percent and the country facing the worst recession in 70 years, it seems strange that Republicans would seize on the deficit as the nation’s No. 1 problem.

During Bush’s two terms in office, the GOP simultaneously launched two wars and rolled out two tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, but seldom if ever did the GOP raise any concerns about the deficit.

Could their new-found concern have anything to do with the fact that there is now a Democrat in the White House, or is the Republican Party’s position on helping people in need today just a continuation of the party’s attitude as personified by Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression?

Hoover was all for giving loans to corporations, but loathed the idea of the government providing any assistance to people.

Sen. Olympia Snowe’s primary concern seemed to be that she did not want to close the tax loopholes that benefit those “small businesses,” aka hedge fund managers, as a way for paying for the benefits to the unemployed.

We’ve come to expect these warped priorities from the “party of no,” but we have long expected more from Sens. Susan Collins and Snowe. They let us down when they sided with their party over the people in need of help in Maine.

Hopefully they will see the “Wizard of Oz” before the next vote to help the unemployed, and get themselves a heart.

Dwight Ely




Take money from subsidies, weapons to meet our needs


There’s enough money in this country to fill all our needs: housing, hunger, education, transportation – all of them.

But we, the people, through our elected representatives, have let them make choices that do not serve the people’s needs.

They choose to subsidize agribusiness (look at the sugar lobby), weapons (the defense lobby), energy (the coal lobby) and the banks, as some examples.

Have to close a local library? Why not close U.S. bases in Germany? We could keep every library in the country open forever for what we spend in Germany alone.

Highways falling to pieces and potholes multiplying? Scratch one aircraft carrier. Fill every pothole from here to Los Angeles with gold bullion using those funds.

There’s enough money for all of society’s needs. We choose – no, allow – other choices to be made for us, if, indeed, government does represent us.

If it doesn’t, well, that’s for a different discussion.

William R. Laidley

South Portland


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