Our society promotes violence

These last several weeks since the slaughter of the children  at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., there has been much said of gun violence on both ends of the spectrum. What amazes me is that this slaughter doesn't happen more often than it does. My reason for saying this is because my observation over the last several decades has shown a creeping violence that has permeated throughout our country, and in many respects is admired within different subgroups throughout our society, e.g., video game makers, movie makers and such.

At one distant time in our past, our president would take great pride in implementing a task force that brought a criminal to justice before a jury of his peers. Today's president uses his success rate in the killing of people that he considers enemies of the U.S., and that gets used as a desired piece of propaganda in running for office, with that becoming a great source of pride. Really?

This sad situation also brings to mind my watching a news program some years back, with the programmers showing a missile going down the smokestack of a building in a country deemed hostile to the U.S. Then there was a breakaway to then-President William Clinton, commenting on the violence at Columbine High School, and in part saying, "that we have to teach our children that violence is not the answer." Again, really?

Perhaps there can be a solution that would satisfy the constitutional Second-Amendment-screaming NRA and the anti-assault weapons crowd. Enact into law that every able-bodied adult with a shown proficiency in loading a barrel-loading musket and a barrel-loading pistol, may own said musket and pistol, and in keeping with the constitutional intent of the time when the amendment was written, may keep such weapons in their homes.

In all reality, I don't believe there will be much change, unless perhaps there comes a day that people are sick of the slaughter, and a multi-faceted approach is taken, in the homes, schools, states and the country, to allow every person to live up to the great potential within us all.

Steve Webster


State complicit in 'slave trade'

How can it be that 50 to 60 percent of the people in Maine's prisons are innocent of a crime deserving jail time? The answer is money. Nationwide, the court systems are working with those that run the prisons and are making more and more money as they keep people in jail longer and longer.

This is now openly called "slave trade." The state of Maine is actively involved. Targeting mostly young people that do not understand and have no way to fight back or defend themselves. The whole court system is abusing their constitutional authority, with no one questioning them.

Falsely charging and greatly exaggerating minimal offenses day in and day out with no oversight or responsibility. Then the court provides attorneys to defend you. However, these court-appointed attorneys make no attempt to help you, and are actually paid more if you are found guilty.

This is clearly a plan and a program to railroad anyone who cannot defend themselves. You could be next!

Longer and longer sentences mean more and more profit. So much per day, and then so much per mile, as they bus them back and forth (much of which is unnecessary).

This total disregard for their captives is also displayed as they bus these prisoners in the lightweight orange prison clothes, regardless of how cold or wet it is. No jackets or food while they wait in the buses or are made a spectacle of in the courts.

And incidentally, it is your money that they are stealing and wasting. All of this is well documented.

Gerald Gustafson Sr.


January thaw causes problems for Northport motorists

On Monday evening, Jan. 14, I was returning home from work, and while driving up Hart Road in Northport, the thaw caused very soft conditions with deep ruts in the dirt road. Our all-wheel-drive station wagon struggled and I feared it would get stuck after bottoming out several times. The next morning the car would not start and was towed to a local garage, where it was determined the starter had failed and the transmission cooling lines had been punctured from the gravel.

It is not certain the starter damage was caused by the road, but the cooling lines certainly was, with an estimated repair cost of $823. Our neighbors, Paul and Karen Sheridan, also had difficulty, bottoming out in their Toyota Prius, requiring a trip to the garage as well to have the gravel removed from their brakes.

Many of the residents have written letters to Amon Morse, the road commissioner, and the selectmen complaining about the poor condition of the road and many plan to attend the selectmen's meeting on Monday, Jan. 28.

Nealy Road in Northport was also reportedly nearly impassable, with several motorists getting stuck. Many of the Hart Road residents feel a lot of money has been spent on a Band-Aid fix year after year by the road commissioner, when the road should have been fixed properly in the first place. On Hart Road the mail carrier alerted the Town Office that mail delivery would be interrupted if the road was not repaired. Mail delivery had not been possible a number of times. Hart Road, which is just short of a mile long, has a long history of poor conditions.

Just a few years ago heavy rains washed out the top of the road and did significant damage to our property, washing out the driveway, due to lack of proper ditching. At times the school bus has had difficulty navigating, once having to call a tow truck due to being stuck on the snow and ice.

Mark and Kimberly Hansen


Remembering Poet Laureates past

Hail poets and lovers of Belfast poets and poetry, well met.

Bob Ryan (Robert F. Ryan) was Belfast’s second Poet Laureate, following in the purloined shoes of famed nuclear poet and word kleptomaniac Bern Porter. We are in the process of creating bronze plaques to commemorate each Belfast Poet Laureate. Elizabeth Garber’s plaque has already been presented, and it will be installed publicly soon.

I have taken on the task of raising funds for Bob Ryan’s plaque. It will be an engraved plaque with a realistic photo image of Bob dressed in a suit “outstanding in his field” — standing up to his knees in a hay field looking thoughtful, charismatic, intelligent and every bit a man in control. In other words: everything that Bob was not. Still; it’s a great photograph. And it is funny, which Bob very much could be. When he wasn’t busy explaining his funniness. Which he did all the time. “See what I did there?” Anyway…

There will also be at least two poems of Bob’s from his rather confused reign of poetic terror. And his name, title, years of service. The estimated fee is $300, and we have raised $140 to date. If you’d like to support this plaque and help honor our friend, loyal public servant, raconteur, man about town, and a man we all remember fondly, please send a donation to Mike Hurley, 93 Main St., Belfast, Maine, 04915. For more infoormation write me at mike@pilut.com or call 338-1975. Thank you for helping to sear Bob’s legacy into the public’s still-reeling memories even more than it does today.

Michael Hurley