Forum, April 9: Starting a Conversation

Sunday, April 08, 2018
Starting a Conversation

We write in response to the recent unfortunate misrepresentation in our local news about a shooting threat at Hanover High School and possible link to a New York Times op-ed piece.

We parents of Hanover High want to thank Dakota Hanchett for several things. Thank you for volunteering to write. Thank you for taking on a very difficult task and expressing your opinion to a well-known news outlet. Thank you for starting a difficult conversation, especially for high school students to have.

We believe it is these conversations that will lead to meaningful change in this world. We will not always agree in life. We will have different ideas and ways forward. But beyond the memes and trolls, there is always common ground. We literally share this ground with you in our community of the Upper Valley. Without you, there is no us.

We choose to live in a beautiful place with farms and hunting and college campuses and rivers and mountains.

Perhaps it is here that we can start the crucial national change toward a safer future, where hunter and physician and engineer and bus driver and baker and farmer and teacher and waiter and nurse and builder can stand on our common ground and say: We share a future that can hold all of this. We hold safe schools and public spaces and responsible gun ownership as a real and important possibility and goal.

Thank you Dakota for being a vocal member of our community and especially at our school, where as you say, “people try to be nice, but they don’t really want to debate.” We hope for many more conversations with you.

Joanne Hayes


Lisa Furmanski


Maureen Stannard


Charles Brackett


Peter Solberg


Jennifer Rickards


No PC Police in Hartford

Mandated political correctness is not needed in Hartford, requiring our elected officials to tattle on one another for any perceived “offensive” remark under threat of the PC police coming after them for failure to report a PC speech violation.

Who defines which remarks are offensive — and which aren’t?

This is America. We should be protecting our rights to free speech, not restricting them.

In June, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks, ruling in favor of an Asian-American rock band called the Slants. The ruling reaffirmed that there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment.

This issue superseded the political leanings of all of the Supreme Court justices, which speaks volumes.

In his opinion for the court, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in a separate opinion joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote, “A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.”

If the members of the ad hoc Hartford Committee on Racial Inequality who voted in favor of mandated speech reporting choose to ignore recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in their recommendations, the citizens of Hartford need to seriously consider removing them from their posts before this toxic thought process seeps into our government bodies, rules, regulations or laws.

Mark Bielecki

White River Junction

Heed Scalia’s Words

Given the inability of Congress to pass even the mildest of gun laws, you would think there is no middle ground when it comes to gun ownership. You would be wrong.

For proof, consider the words of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia wrote the majority opinion in the landmark 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, which is remembered as a major victory for gun-rights advocates, guaranteeing for the first time an individual’s right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense.

However, what typically gets overlooked is Scalia’s nuanced thinking.

Nothing in the court’s opinion, he wrote, should cast doubt on prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, laws forbidding firearms in schools, government buildings and other sensitive places or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms.

Clearly, the most conservative of Supreme Court justices found no constitutional argument against sensible gun laws, reforms that a majority of Americans support. What, then, stops us, Republicans and Democrats alike, from insisting that lawmakers act immediately to pass protective measures?

It is my hope that the American people can find a way to put aside divisive party issues and join together to protect our children, our families and our neighborhoods. Let us set aside cultural differences and work, side by side, to pressure our representatives to enact the kind of gun laws envisioned by Justice Scalia.

Lucie Bourdon


Which Way to Gaspe?

I read the piece by Coleman Stokes with interest as I am a fisherman who has pursued the sport in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces he mentions (“There’s Still Time to Plan a Dream Fishing Trip,” April 1).

There is one problem with what he writes. The Gaspe Peninsula is in Quebec, not Nova Scotia. The Bonaventure and Petite Cascapedia rivers are Quebec rivers that draw many of us to the Gaspesie.

Nova Scotia has good salmon rivers as well that also draw dedicated anglers from the area.

Gary W. Moore

Bradford, Vt.

Real Spirit of Giving

Here at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, we often describe the essence of our work as “neighbors helping neighbors.” Jim Kenyon’s Easter column (“Church Shows True Spirit of Giving,” April 1) provided an inspirational example of that spirit, and of how meaningful generosity can be.

In many New Hampshire communities, and certainly throughout the Upper Valley, manufactured (mobile) homes are the only housing that young, working-class families and retirees can afford.

So when the members of Abundant Life Church decided to give a half-acre of land (valued at $25,000) to neighboring Mascoma Meadows to construct a solar array, they made the 50 homes in the resident-owned community even more affordable.

If the solar project happens, it will lower the rents of their Mascoma Meadows neighbors, helping them — and their community — become more financially secure. It will also provide clean energy to homeowners and businesses throughout the region.

“It’s what neighbors are supposed to do,” said the Rev. Bruce Jerome, Abundant Life’s pastor.

Amen to that.

Juliana Eades

President, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

Go See Saint-Gaudens

If you haven’t yet gone to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester to see the exhibit of the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, drop everything and make plans to go before the exhibit closes on May 20.

Here is a unique opportunity to see the full scope of Saint-Gaudens’ work in one beautifully organized display. Along with the masterful monumental statues of individuals such as Abraham Lincoln are the elegant small cameos of Saint-Gaudens’ early career and the sumptuous gold coins he created for the U.S. Mint.

The Currier is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. every day except Tuesday. On Saturday it opens at 10 a.m. Admission fee is $15 for adults.

Harte Crow