There seems a rush in the news media to sympathize with Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who shot dead 17 Afghan civilians. I contrast this with the media treatment of the Army psychiatrist who shot dead a dozen or so fellow soldiers at Fort Hood.

The present case was a caregiver killing those in his care. The Fort Hood case was a caregiver killing fellow caregivers.

You would think that the present case would arouse a greater sense of outrage.

Christopher C. Rushlau


I was truly heartbroken to hear that in the early morning hours a U.S. soldier killed several Afghan civilians, and many were innocent children! My thoughts and prayers go out to the Afghan people.

(The shooter, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales,) should be turned over to the Afghan people so that they can deal with him.

In my opinion, any torture that he receives will never be enough for the pain he has caused.

I am a Christian and believe in forgiveness, but the killing of innocent children is truly unforgiveable. I hope that he gets what is coming to him.

John C. Wilson


I thought your headline of March 13, “Killing of Afghans hurts U.S. war goals,” was extremely insensitive.

I realize that any news coverage of this atrocity will inevitably include comments on the war itself, but to emphasize that in the main headline is to reduce the horrific nature of this crime to an afterthought.

Cathy Houlihan

Cape Elizabeth

Treatment courts offer support veterans deserve

As the U.S. military downsizes its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of veterans are returning home. Many of them will have difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Many suffer from physical wounds as well as “invisible wounds” such as post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury that can manifest themselves in substance abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system.

The Maine Legislature enacted L.D. 1698 “An Act To Establish Veterans Treatment Courts,” which was signed into law by Gov. LePage on March 14.

This type of problem-solving court is enjoying a successful nationwide trend as it offers our veterans a well-deserved opportunity to address their mental health and substance abuse issues. Treatment works better than incarceration when it comes to criminal defendants with drug and mental-health problems. It’s a great start to helping veterans who helped their country through such extraordinary service.

Linda Hicks

MSW graduate student, University Of Maine

New Canada

Dennis Bailey has proven he’s not a reliable source

Some of your recent articles on Maine’s U.S. Senate race (“Democrats likely to give King unofficial nod,” March 8; and “Imposters tweet parody of Angus King,” March 14) have included quotes from a former political operative at the center of an anonymous political attack website, the “Cutler Files.” I suspect I am just one of many readers who find the practice of quoting Dennis Bailey in your political reporting odd at best.

More troubling is that Bailey lied to this paper about his involvement in the anonymous website for many months (and which he later admitted: “Bailey admits he’s behind the ‘Cutler Files’ website,” Dec. 23, 2010).

Readers know quotes are not fact and subject to personal bias, but we should be able to trust that the paper’s reporters and editors do their utmost to use reliable sources in their reporting. The paper should avoid sources who have a record of lying to its readers.

Kathryn Best

South Freeport

Readers praise decision to run Doonesbury comics

As the parents of three young adults, may we say how pleased we were to see the current Doonesbury strip, not censored, in your paper.

We know that many papers around the country have chosen to suppress this current series due to the nature of the subject matter. However, in view of the current attacks on human rights, particularly women’s reproductive autonomy, Garry Trudeau’s biting satire is a welcome riposte to the absurdity of the current campaign to humiliate and denigrate women exercising their hard won rights.

Thomas and Deborah Coward

South Portland

I’m glad you published the Doonesbury comic strips about Texas making women who request an abortion there submit to an intravaginal sonogram.

But the reason you give for putting the strips in your editorial pages instead of in the comics — that they “might offend young readers” — is risible; it fails the straight-face test. We all know, do we not, it’s not the kids who’ll be offended, but anti-abortion adults? Let’s face it: Do you know any kids who even read the comics nowadays?

J.D. Cowie


Newspaper should cover school’s good news too

Thanks for your Maine Voices article about Riverton School. I am a parent of two children who attend Riverton, and I believe that this is a great school. Your readers would not be aware of this from your news coverage, however.

Riverton School has suffered for some time from a negative reputation, and The Portland Press Herald has covered Riverton’s label in the past as a “failing” school several times. Therefore, I expected to see headlines in this newspaper when the school’s recent test scores were released, showing huge increases in student achievement. I was very disappointed by the paper’s failure to report on these gains. After all, readers deserve not just negative news every day, but also news of positive developments in our community.

As a parent, I am pleased with the new leadership from our principal, the upbeat attitudes of teachers and the overall positive feeling of parents and students alike.

In the future, please highlight the positive achievements at Riverton.

Ann-Marie Gribbin-Bouchard