Letters: Readers speak out on gun violence, conservative voices and fake news stories

Peel off the mark on criticism of Brunswick student protests

On June 8, The Times Record published an article about Brunswick Junior High School students walking out to protest school gun violence against children (“Uvalde School Massacre Incites Brunswick Junior High to protest against armed violence”). A Republican Senate candidate from Maine, Brogan Teel, claimed the event was political and organized by a “progressive partisan group”, not a “nice look” for Brunswick. Can we talk?

If the walkout was political, it was legitimately so. It was a protest to encourage legislative change regarding firearms, a peaceful assembly protected by the First Amendment. The school administration did not sponsor or organize the walkout; the students were the driving force. The administrators were present to ensure the safety of the students.

If I’m in eighth grade and I hear/read about Uvalde (or Columbine or Sandy Hook or Parkland or…), where students are being shot in schools, I can’t help but be biased – a member of the cause to prevent other events of this kind. To do otherwise would be to ignore the undeniable reality of this country.

In the current political environment, the term “progressive” has lost its meaning. For some Republicans, any politician to the left of Attila the Hun is eligible. That students, an at-risk population, want a change in current gun laws (which facilitate mass shootings) strikes me as rather intermediate.

If Republican Teel supports the current (ambiguous) interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, she supports the status quo that allows these atrocities. I don’t think she belongs in the Maine Senate. And if she’s enraged by a peaceful protest by eighth graders, she has to read the Constitution with all of its amendments.

Steven Zimmerman
Topsham

Action is needed to limit gun deaths in America

I was appalled to read Mr. Teel’s remarks that protesting to end gun violence is a “partisan” issue (“Uvalde school massacre prompts protest against gun violence in high school of Brunswick”). Since when is wanting to be safe, to live without fear, “partisan”? I commend these students for speaking up, because we adults have basically done nothing to curb the epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings that we have in this country. Gun violence is the leading cause of death of American children and adolescents with more than 4,300 killed by firearm each year. A total of 40,620 people are killed by gun violence in an average year – a shocking average of 110 people per day. Americans are 26 times more likely to be killed by firearms than those in other high-income countries.

We need thoughts and prayers, but we also need action. Let’s try a few actions and see how they help. Let’s ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, raise the age to buy a gun, improve background checks, and institute “red flag” laws at the federal level. We should also ask the CDC to research gun violence and its possible causes and solutions, and to fully fund this effort. Doing nothing about all this violence is immoral. Limiting gun ownership does not mean that everyone’s gun will be taken away, far from it. But some use this idea to reject any law on gun ownership and offer no solution to the problem.

We must also tackle what is behind this epidemic. There are many causes that need to be investigated so that we can determine how to help you. Many mass shootings are linked to young men radicalized by the white power/white supremacy movement. Listening to some of the spokespersons for these groups makes me sick and scared, especially for anyone of color and our children, and anyone who might come across them. For some of our politicians to say that the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill was just legitimate political talk and should be forgotten is to encourage that violence. We must act to save lives! Together!

Nancy Marstaller,
Harpswell

Agree: conservative votes needed

I enthusiastically applaud Tricia Smith’s recent letter to the editor, “Times Record Needs More Conservative Voices” (June 7).

Yes, more conservative voices, but also more just opinions, neither liberal nor conservative.

I like local coverage, and that’s why I buy the paper. During the Trump administration, we have seen four years of anti-Trump political cartoons, day after day after day.

Take a look at what else is going on around the world besides what left liberals are saying.

Paula McKenney,
Woolwich

An important article on fake news

Thursday’s edition featured a notable article in the BoomerTech Adventures column regarding the need to be diligent about news and facts (“Due Diligence and Dealing with Fake News and Bias Online,” June 7) . It lists a variety of sites that can be used to fact check as well as our wonderful local library resources for spotting fake news. Given the amount of fake news perpetrated by friends trying to enlighten or alarm me, it’s wonderful to have resources to double-check information. This is an article that should not be buried at the bottom of the last page of the last section of the newspaper. This is a well-written and informative article about resources people can use to fact-check, especially in light of the frequent perpetuation of incorrect “fake” news.

Darlene Breton,
Braunschweig

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