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Letter: Anything But Civil in Concord

To the Editor:

Your June 25 editorial, “N.H. Budget Deal,” mentions the defeat of HB135, the bill to repeal the Stand Your Ground law. Having testified before both House and Senate committees urging repeal of Stand Your Ground, for me the Senate’s tabling of the bill was a disappointment. I noticed that the new law in Vermont banning feeding of bears “prohibits killing nuisance bears without first taking reasonable non-lethal measures” (Valley News, June 24). Too bad New Hampshire doesn’t require people to refrain from using deadly force (outside of their home and property) if they can safely retreat from the encounter. Looks like Vermont values its bears more than New Hampshire protects its citizens.

The editorial praised “ lawmakers’ ability to make difficult decisions in a civil manner.” Last Tuesday, I attended the rally in front of the Statehouse sponsored by the Mayors Against Gun Violence. Six legislators had added their names to a Facebook posting encouraging the pro-gun lobby to attend. One elected official specifically wrote, “Time to crash Rep. Shurtleff’s party.” (Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, D-Penacook, sponsored the bill to repeal Stand Your Ground.) This incitement brought out an unruly group of hecklers, many of them armed, who shouted at the speakers, one of whom was an Upper Valley member of the clergy, and screamed “Ayotte, Ayotte” during the reading of names of people killed by gun violence. Regrettably, one of the names read toward the end of the rally was that of the Boston Marathon bomber, an unfortunate mistake for which Mayors Against Gun Violence has apologized. This error does not, however, make the behavior of the pro-gun demonstrators more acceptable, nor does it negate the fact that they were verbally assaultive and intimidating. Civil discourse and respect for others were notably absent in Concord that afternoon.

Dena B. Romero

Hanover

Related

Editorial: N.H. Budget Deal; Lawmakers’ Creditable Compromise

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Those who had forgotten how divided government can be more than just a venue for bickering, rancor and stalemate received a welcome reminder from lawmakers in Concord last week. Negotiators from the Democratic-controlled House and majority-Republican Senate bridged significant gaps between their two budgets and agreed upon a two-year spending plan that achieves several important course corrections for the state. …