Letter: DUI Laws Need to Be Changed

DUI Laws Need to Be Changed

To the Editor:

I was appalled to learn in a front-page story that the legal blood alcohol content for a Vermont school bus driver is 0.02 (“Bus Driver Charged With DUI,” Nov. 6). And after verifying this with the Vermont statutes, I also learned that anyone under the age of 21 driving in Vermont with this same BAC can be arrested for being intoxicated. And after I reviewed the New Hampshire statutes, it turns out that school bus drivers in New Hampshire can drive with a BAC of 0.04.

How is it that the DUI statutes in both states specifically allow school bus drivers to drive our children to and from school, as well as to sporting events and field trips, while having a sanctioned amount of alcohol in their blood? It seems only logical to me that the legal blood alcohol content for school bus drivers should be mandated as 0.00 — none, nada. Period.

Should any of your readers agree with this proposition, I urge them to contact their respective legislators to initiate corrective action. I have already taken this step. I also urge the Valley News to advocate for appropriate legislative action both by publishing relevant stories on this topic and through the use of its editorial page.

Hank Buermeyer

East Corinth

Death Is Part of Nature

To the Editor:

This is in response to the letter from Mary Erdei regarding the proposed bow hunt for Balch Hill in Hanover (“A Preserve Is No Place for Hunting,” Nov. 2). When is she going to “get it”? Man does not live alongside nature. He is a part of it, and in nature, all life is predicated on the death of something else. She seems to think that deer can be stockpiled in a “preserve” and allowed to live out their lives in happy retirement. Unfortunately nature does not work that way. When an area such as Balch Hill is overbrowsed by too many deer, they are all made more susceptible to starvation or predation by coyotes or free-ranging dogs. A well-placed arrow or bullet is a far more humane way to die. She may not approve of hunting, but the only difference between hunters and nonhunters is that hunters kill their own meat and nonhunters pay someone else to do it for them.

Raymond Fetto


Show Me the Evidence

To the Editor:

It’s likely that many of us have encountered, whether at home or at school, the question, “How do you know that to be true?” or, “What evidence do you have to support your view?” For myself, I can remember countless times stating an opinion for which I had little supporting evidence and was thankful for not having to provide such evidence.

It seems a hard lesson to learn. We often hear our political leaders state their views baldly while sharing little, if any, evidence supporting them. More bothersome is the frequency with which they get away with it.

So, it was not surprising that in a recent News Hour interview, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., forcefully expressed his views about Obamacare yet provided no supporting evidence. An example: “We predicted that insurance — health insurance premiums would go up, jobs would be lost, and the president’s principal promise that, if you had your health insurance and you liked it, you would be able to keep it, none of that would happen. ... Regretfully, from the point of view of those who advocated this, the critics were entirely correct. ... One thing you can be sure of is, the choices will not be good, the premiums will be higher.” While McConnell did not offer any concrete evidence that supported his statements, neither did the interviewer, Gwen Ifill, press him with the question, “How do you know that’s true?”

There are two sides to this coin. On the one hand, we, as citizens, have a responsibility to hold our political leaders accountable to be clear about their positions and to provide evidence to support them. On the other hand, we need to be willing to confront them with the question, “What evidence do you have to support your view?”

Bob Scobie


Support Diplomacy With Iran

To the Editor:

President Obama has shown admirable leadership in picking up the phone to speak with the new president of Iran, opening direct communication after four decades of mutual distrust and hostility. The secretary of state is working hard with a broad array of diplomatic colleagues to forge an agreement to end the dangerous standoff regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

We know that courageous diplomacy can change global politics — recall President Nixon’s reaching out to bring China into the international community of nations and President Reagan’s reaching out to Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting eventually in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

The new president of Iran was elected on a platform of easing animosities with the West and appears to have the backing of the country’s supreme leader. Public opinion in Iran — despite the “death to America” rhetoric fomented by the extreme right — is reportedly quite favorable to Americans and American culture. If rapprochement with Iran were to be achieved in the current negotiations, that country’s help could prove critical in working on other difficult problems across the region.

Despite these favorable signs, there is intense pressure in the Congress to pile on more sanctions against Iran. New sanctions could shake the confidence of the Iranian leadership that Obama will be able to deliver on U.S. commitments in the negotiating process.

Women in the Senate have recently shown how the “mom’s logic” of cooperation rather than confrontation can successfully resolve a seemingly intractable stand-off. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, and both she and Sen. Kelly Ayotte sit on the Armed Services Committee. It is to be hoped that our New Hampshire senators, their political differences notwithstanding, will continue to show leadership in opposing new sanctions so that the diplomats have a better chance to be successful.

Bob Schultz