Forum, March 12: Student, 14, Will Be Outside Making Noise on Wednesday

Sunday, March 11, 2018
I Will Be Outside Making Noise

I am a student at Lebanon Middle School. Some of my friends and I have been raising awareness and support for the national school walkout on Wednesday to honor those killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and to protest gun violence.

From my perspective, some of the administrators are trying to put lots of limits on this protest, so we don’t get too political. Isn’t that the whole point? To get political? To keep us safe? Some of the kids who died are my age. Alyssa Alhadeff, Martin Duque Anguiano, Jamie Guttenberg, Cara Loughran, Alaina Petty and  Alex Schachter all were 14. Who says that can’t happen to me and my friends if we don’t do something to stop it?

That is why I will be outside, making noise, asking Congress to change the legislation on guns. In my opinion that is the best way to honor these 17 people who died in Florida — and the 55,000 other people who died from gun violence in the past four years.

LMS students, educators, administrators, parents and students throughout the Upper Valley, please join me.

Abigail Pauls


Slippery Slope Argument Is False

In the Feb. 27 article “Candidate Talks Gun Control in Lebanon,” Gov. Chris Sununu is quoted as saying, “You’re walking a very dangerous line when you just keep picking off one weapon after another, after another, after another. Eventually, you’re going to get to the point where you are just taking people’s firearms away.” This assertion parrots the National Rifle Association objection to banning assault weapons. It lacks supporting evidence, and to my knowledge, there was no such “slippery slope” result from the 1994-2004 ban on such weapons.

The slippery slope argument is also bad logic. As a child, my pleas to my mother for an extra treat or privilege regularly got the response, “No, because if I give you a little finger you’ll want the whole hand.” I will admit to my NRA friends, if I have any, that this argument often worked to squelch my pleas. But slippery slope arguments are logically fallacious, and a textbook example of this fallacy is to claim that taking assault weapons from civilians in America will result in taking away their hunting rifles or self-protection handguns.

In everyday reasoning, we routinely explain that allowing a little bit of a bad thing doesn’t necessarily lead to an unacceptable amount of bad results. If someone says, “Allowing one student to re-do a test will result in every student demanding the same privilege,” the teacher will explain, “No, the re-do option is only available in certain cases.” Comparable rebuttals will follow claims that a state income tax will result in communism or that allowing abortions will lead to infanticide.

There are good and bad proposals for curbing gun violence. One of the best is to ban assault weapons, despite the slippery slope arguments. We must count on Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and Rep. Annie Kuster to refute such unacceptable reasoning and do the right thing in fashioning good gun-control legislation.

Bob Schultz


Follow the Florida Students’ Lead

Do we really want to turn our schools into warlike bunkers? How does a “trained” teacher armed with a handgun overcome a shooter dressed in a Kevlar vest and helmet and armed with war weapons designed to mow down hundreds in seconds? This is insane, James Bond-like thinking promoted by the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump, who indebted himself to the NRA after he accepted $30 million from it to fund his election.

We need to ban all semi-automatic guns from public use, issue strong background checks for gun purchase and raise the age limit for buying any gun to 21. Required training and retesting should also be put in place for all gun owners and gun registration should be required like car registration.

Each of us can lobby with our voice and ask people and companies to continue to divest from the NRA. The 2018 midterm elections are upon us. Use your vote to get rid of politicians who took NRA “blood money.” The brave, intelligent and courageous students of Parkland, Fla., have shown the way to a safe America. Let us find the courage to support them and follow their lead.

Jackie Smith


Don’t Ruin It for Everyone

Riding trails maintained by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers is a privilege, not an entitlement. In addition to our volunteers, it is the generosity of the landowners who make our trail system possible. Most riders understand this, but there are few who do not.

It takes many volunteers, hours and dollars to make a trail. It takes just one person to ruin it for everyone.

One of the biggest challenges a club can face is a landowner wanting to close a piece of a trail system due to misuse by riders: riding off trail, disregard for speed, loitering on the property and other reasons. Club officers have to take the brunt of the landowner’s frustration. Then they have to figure out how, if at all possible, to reroute the trail. Building a new trail can be very costly, with the excavation and new culverts, bridges, signs and many other things that are needed.

Snowmobiling in Vermont helps the local economy. Many local food, gas, lodging and shopping businesses rely on this income to survive the off-season months. Landowners do provide the privilege to snowmobilers, but by allowing a trail system on their land, they are also helping their local economy. If those few folks who misuse this privilege would take a moment to think before they act, that would be appreciated. The future of our trail system depends on you and your actions.

On behalf of the Windsor County Snowmobile Club, I want to say thank you to all the landowners who make our trail system possible. We appreciate your generosity and we want you to know the majority of us respect that privilege that you provide us.

Dennis Lemire, President

Windsor County Snowmobile Club

Thanks for Meals on Wheels Story

We so appreciate staff writer Liz Sauchelli’s interest in going on a rural home-delivered meals route, and her well-researched and perceptive article about what’s involved in delivering Meals on Wheels. (“Volunteers Deliver More Than Meals,” Feb. 25) Thank you to volunteer Ann Green and Orford Area Senior Services Coordinator Mary Welch for welcoming Liz and helping to coordinate her visit.

There is no way we could deliver meals to 500 Grafton County homes each weekday — or serve another 500 meals each day within our senior centers — without the hard work of dedicated volunteers and staff. There also is no way we could meet the needs without local and philanthropic support, which last year exceeded $660,000 for Meals on Wheels and senior center meals alone. State and federal funding helps to support these programs, but by no means covers the full cost. Last year we also received close to $400,000 of donated food from wonderful partners including Willing Hands, the New Hampshire Food Bank, area supermarkets and local farms.

As a private, nonprofit organization, we rely on a complex and diverse network of supporters to keep vital services in place for a rapidly growing population of older adults. Thank you Valley News for making the effort to see first hand what’s involved in delivering locally made, nutritious meals directly to frail adults living in remote rural areas that are not so very far away.

Roberta Berner, Executive Director

Grafton County Senior Citizens Council Inc.

The Art of ‘Friluftsliv’

Your editorial of March 1, “The Norway Way,” brought many images to my mind. “Friluftsliv” (“open-air life” or “open-air experience”) is indeed integral to the Norwegian way of life. The craving to commune with nature conveys, as your editorial suggests, a deep appreciation for the natural world that is “as much spiritual as physical.”

Physical fitness and Olympic medals aside, the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch embraced “friluftsliv” in his own, idiosyncratic way. He built numerous open-air studios, and frequently worked outside, in rain, wind and snow — not in the manner of a traditional plein air artist, but rather to let the marks of the weather become an integral part of the iconography of his paintings. If he had difficulty making a painting “feel right,” he might leave it outside for extended periods of time to see if exposure to the elements (which, on occasion, included bird droppings) would improve the painting.

It is also worth noting that the impetus for Munch’s famous painting, Scream, came from a sunset he experienced during an afternoon walk along the fjord, on the outskirts of Oslo (the painting was originally titled Mood at Sunset).

I am wondering, though, if the Norwegians’ passion for the outdoors would prevail if there was such a thing as mud season in Norway?

Bente Torjusen