Forum, March 13: Vote Yes to Make Meriden Library Accessible

Monday, March 12, 2018
Make Meriden Library Accessible

Plainfield will hold its Town Meeting on Saturday at 10 a.m. Among the warrant articles is the proposal to appropriate $25,000 to explore measures to make the Meriden Library accessible to all.

Our community center — the Town Hall — now houses the Plainfield town office. No one begrudges this use, but it has meant that we have lost our community gathering place. The Meriden Library is heavily used, certainly as a library, but also as a place for bridge lessons, family events, discussion groups and committee meetings. It is only just and right that the building be made accessible to everyone in our community.

Plainfield voters: Please come to Town Meeting and vote yes on Article 8. See page 8 of the town report and note that the Selectboard and the trustees both recommend the appropriation.

Kesaya E. Noda


Inmates Are Human Beings

I read with interest the VtDigger article about Vermont moving to end its current contract with Camp Hill prison in Pennsylvania (“Vt. Looking to Transfer Pa. Prisoners,” Feb. 24).

With all of our technical advancements over the past 40 years and more, and our great wealth, we evidently still find it hard to treat prisoners humanely in our prisons, whether they be simple jails or long-term facilities.

It seems as if the police, guards and administrators take pride in the sternness of the prisons, the power they have over prisoners and the demeaning, degrading conditions the prisoners have to live in and endure. Really nothing substantive is being done about it. Indeed, the situation only gets worse as the years pass, what with the re-authorizing of the so-called Patriot Act early this decade, and related regulations.

We must remember that inmates do not cease to become human beings once in prison, and that we have an obligation to treat them respectfully. Instead we engage in this ongoing, ridiculous discussion about community standards, contracts and state laws.

I am not suggesting we should turn prisons into hotels, but they should not be concentration camps, either. We need to stop having these inane discussions, constantly saying “Oh, I didn’t know. We’ll have to do better,” all while the situation deteriorates. If the United States and its leaders do not stop these fatuous contentions, and do not rather begin earnestly caring for American citizens and their rights as such — which we constantly flatter ourselves that we do — we will unfortunately continue down the path we are now traversing to some sort of totalitarian state.

John G. Lewis

New London

Keep the Focus on School Safety

The United States has been embroiled in a debate about private firearm ownership for many decades. In the 1940s, magazines discussed the need for gun control to safeguard society from returning war veterans. The anti-gun side of the argument said returning veterans would be so influenced by war that they would be violent. The pro-gun argument continues, but today it is causing harm. It becomes the central focus of debate at a time when the ills of society have made our children vulnerable.

Ever since the school shooting in Connecticut, the gun debate has raged, yet many more children have died since. The debate is still about gun control. Why isn’t the debate about how to protect our children?

On Sept. 11, madmen made Americans vulnerable using box cutters, yet years later it has not happened again. That’s because good men and women on both sides of the gun-control argument saw the immediate need — the security of air travel — and fixed the problem. If an old and lingering argument about the ownership of box cutters had existed would these rational women and men have ignored protecting the airport to further that debate?

Please remember that our children need to be protected and focus the debate on school safety. It can be assured that the banning of any kind of firearm will not preclude another school shooting. Felons still have guns, and that has been illegal for decades.

Richard Bonin


Coaching the Consequences

At the end of a basketball game recently, a friend and I watched as a top player on the losing team came up into the stands to collect his things. It appeared that his aunt and uncle and baby niece had come to cheer him on, and he indeed was one of the more talented players. “Great game bud, (your niece) wants to give you a hug or a high five to say good game.” The boy turned away and shook his head no. His mom came up next, “Tough game, but you played great. Your niece (who she was now holding next to him and who was reaching out to him and clapping) wants to say hi.” He nudged his mom back and shunned them both.

It was here that I missed an opportunity to help coach this boy, to show him the consequences of his behavior by, well, being the strange guy in the crowd calling him out for being nasty. I have witnessed this same behavior too many times and not taken on the role.

It is our collective responsibility — as coaches, parents, men and mentors — to teach young men and boys that there are more important things than basketball games and that there is a wide range of emotions that they need to be able to express. We should teach them how to be better communicators and safe and emotive men. Minimal expectations include perhaps: “I’m sorry. I am sad and frustrated and I need a few minutes of space.”

Not only did this boy miss out on the joy of the hugs and high fives of his adorable niece, but he was also teaching her that she could expect his male anger over the outcome of a simple game. It is my hope that we can all use this scenario as a teachable moment with our boys, showing them that we do not always get what we want, and we don’t get to hurt others because of it.

Jeremy Coylewright


Writing Rule Worth Commenting On

The first sentence of author W. D. Wetherell’s recent article (“How Does a Writer’s Talent Grow?” Feb. 23), ends with a preposition: “Writing talent is a subject you won’t find much writing on.”

When I was taking English Composition about 80 years ago, such syntax was to be avoided. However, over the years, such rules are being relaxed. No greater writer of English than Winston Churchill is said to have aided in the demise of this requirement. According to the story, Churchill had prepared a public statement and sent out a draft for review. One reviewer took public issue with his placement of a preposition at the end of a sentence. In one version of the story, Churchill is said to have responded: “This is the type of impertinence up with which I shall not put.”

Wetherell is an accomplished writer, especially about fly-fishing, a subject for which we share a passion. I have read most of his books, and he must be aware of the rules, past or present, about prepositions placed at the end of a sentence. Perhaps he was only trying to get someone to bite on one of these little artificial lures attached to the end of a line. I bit.

John E. Yocom