Capt. Shawn Welch wasn’t portrayed fairly in the story about the restrained inmate (“Prison captain fired, but later reinstated, after pepper spraying inmate,” March 17). The inmate wasn’t fully secured in the restraint chair when sprayed — look closely at the photo.

Inmates are informed of the rules when they’re processed for incarceration, which this inmate chose to disregard, as he had done before, while knowing the consequences of his actions. Stop coddling inmates. They’re incarcerated because of their own actions.

Employees at the Maine Correctional Center have extensive training and protocol in place to guide them in handling these situations. I don’t feel there was taunting, just a repeated reminder of what the consequences of the inmate’s continued behavior would be.

I agree that the suspension was justified, due to the comment made by Welch referencing a previous altercation, also brought on by the inmate’s actions. His firing and the denial of his appeal by MCC Superintendent Scott Burnheimer were not surprising, due to house politics.

The inmate’s mother should worry about her son’s actions and be reminded that officers probably saved his sorry life previously that day. She should stop making excuses for her son, remembering why he was there.

The staff worked well together. I commend Capt. Welch on his professional leadership bringing this altercation to an end while maintaining the safety of all involved.

The system favors inmates’ rights at the expense of staff, but those incidents never see the light of day. My husband retired as a captain from the MCC due to a severe injury by an inmate, and it wasn’t the first time he was injured.

The rights of inmates and staff need to be reviewed. Meanwhile, stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

Lack of staff due to budget cuts causes safety concerns. Remember this when funding these facilities and stop trying to make things better or easier for inmates.

Consider the well-being of staff and their dangerous and stressful job. These inmates already have luxuries that a lot of the staff can’t afford on what little they’re paid.

Debra Williams


Planning, prevention key, whatever warming’s cause

Recently, Richard Muller, one of the foremost critics of global warming, changed his mind, asserting now that global warming is real and adding that “humans are almost entirely the cause.”

If that still doesn’t satisfy the skeptics, consider several other facts:

There are more people on the planet now than ever before (more than 7,000,000,000 and counting).

They live more and more in urban, industrialized societies.

They create more pollution, much of which winds up in the environment.

If you assume that these facts have no impact on the globe, the corollary is that people don’t need to take responsibility for their actions or consider the community at large rather than their own personal convenience.

Just the opposite is true, which is why it becomes imperative to explore alternative energy sources and reduce our negative effect on the world.

We can urge government officials to promote pollution-reducing technologies, and also act as individuals in three very simple ways by:

Separating trash and recycling. Many materials can be re-used to save time, money and energy.

Using less electricity produced by coal-fired power plants. Turn lights off and use efficient bulbs and Energy Star appliances.

Turning off our car motors. Engines that idle wear out faster, spew noxious gases and (no surprises here) get zero miles per gallon.

All of us can reduce household expenses and be environmentally conservative, helping to control consumption of the Earth’s resources by treating them as if they are finite (which they are) rather than unlimited (which they are not).

It’s all part of a long Maine tradition that practices frugality and uses whatever assets at hand in the most economical way possible while planning for the future. It could also be called “good citizenship.”

Don Loprieno


Thank you for the excellent front-page article March 17 asking, “Is Maine ready for climate changes?

One does not have to agree with the scientists who say that changes in climate are caused by human activity to recognize that changes are indeed happening.

These characteristic changes in the frequent severe-weather events certainly warrant priority attention at the state government level. Executive and legislative branches share the responsibility here.

Climate change is not something that we can ignore in our long-term economic planning for infrastructure needs for roads, stormwater, water quality, private property values and tourism. Maine’s brand is in the balance for our No. 1 industry: tourism.

Let’s get this one right at the state level. I think your article framed up the state-level challenges well.

Ray Sirois


Frank commentary needed counterpoint for balance

I am quite perplexed at the front page of Insight on March 17. Is your mission to inform or influence public opinion?

I would have liked to have seen an additional view to the unsubstantiated claims by Barney Frank (“All together: Government spending can create jobs“).

Rhonda Lemay


LePage doesn’t live up to vow to support seniors

As a Maine senior citizen, I am speaking out against Gov. LePage’s budget cuts.

Many people in Maine are struggling to make ends meet. With the rising costs of food and fuel, we cannot enjoy the luxury of vacations and eating out in a nice restaurant.

Many have been taken off MaineCare, and now Gov. LePage wants to take away the homestead exemption. We do not need higher taxes.

The low-income and what is left of the middle-income population, if any, will be in danger of losing their homes in addition to many of the benefits that have already disappeared.

Gov. LePage must listen to the people and find solutions that will help rather than hinder. Are we to become a state where only the wealthy can prosper and live? Cutting health care and education and raising taxes is unacceptable!

I recently picked up a copy of Maine Seniors magazine, and on the back of the last page was a letter from Gov. LePage stating how much he cared about the welfare of Maine seniors. You tell me!

Barb Ericksen

St. Albans

Banning guns won’t deter people who misuse firearms

A thought on gun-ban laws:

A person steals guns (which is against the law); shoots and kills his own mother (which is against the law); transports these guns loaded (which is against the law); brings guns onto school property (which is against the law); breaks in to the school (which is against the law); discharges the weapons within city limits (which is against the law); murders 26 people (which is against the law); and commits suicide (which is against the law).

And there are people in this country who somehow think passing another law banning guns would protect us from someone like this.

If you haven’t noticed, people like this are not concerned about breaking laws — they only care about fulfilling their own twisted agenda.

The only people that a gun-ban law would impact are the law-abiding citizens, which will only serve to cripple the ability to protect ourselves.

Gene Graves