Forum, March 2: The Real Defense Against Tyranny

Thursday, March 01, 2018
The Real Defense Against Tyranny

As I drove by Colburn Park in Lebanon on Tuesday I was startled to see a man carrying what looked like an assault rifle on his back and a group of people on the steps on the City Hall. Then I saw the story about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand discussing his position on gun regulation (“Candidate Talks Gun Control,” Feb. 28), which reported that some gun rights advocates came out to the event, too. One of these advocates said the Second Amendment is “about defending yourself from a tyrannical government.”

This is correct, but with the U.S. Army equipped as it is now, an assault rifle is not the appropriate weapon to wield. The way to prevent, or topple, a tyrannical government is to maintain a free press, adhere to facts and promote an honest dialogue. The NRA’s demonization of some shadowy conspiracy of “them” who will “eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms” inspires baseless fear and anger about gun control efforts.

I agree with Marchand that New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has abdicated any responsibility on this issue. I applaud Marchand’s efforts and recommend that gun rights advocates bring the correct weapon to battle a tyrannical government: their speech, their votes, and their political involvement. Meanwhile, keep your guns locked up at home.

Alden Hall


Engaging in a Dangerous Fantasy

The front page article “Candidate Talks Gun Control” (Feb. 28), neglected to mention that, in addition to challenging Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand during his news conference on gun control, the gun rights activist who attended the event also stalked around Colburn Park holding a rifle. That is an important part of this story because, as a Lebanon resident, it does not make me feel safe to see agitated men with rifles patrolling the green where my children play.

The NRA talks about passionately protecting the rights of all law-abiding citizens to bring rifles everywhere, and also says the solution to our mass shooting epidemic is to make sure that “monsters, sickos and the mentally ill” never get their hands on guns. The problem is that the “good guy” on the green with the rifle is a law-abiding NRA patriot right up until the moment when he pulls the trigger and becomes “a monster.” How are law enforcement professionals and citizens supposed to discern the difference? What Big Government Agency will be in charge of deciding which people are mentally ill monsters before they commit a crime?

NRA activists are engaging in a dangerous fantasy, casting themselves in the role of freedom fighters. They say they need assault rifles to defend themselves “from a tyrannical government.” They endanger us because they think they have the right to attack our country. It is absurd for them to think that their personal store of assault rifles is going to defeat the U.S. military. They should seek to create the change they want in government through the ballot box, just like the rest of us.

Marcy Chong


Lebanon Officials Must Plan Better

As longtime Lebanon residents and taxpayers, we are frustrated to see our taxes rise year after year to pay for projects that are unnecessary or that result from poor planning. If the School Board and the City Council coordinated their improvement projects, the residents of Lebanon would benefit from better utilization of space and greater efficiency in managing resources.

Our prime example is the upcoming $28 million school improvement request, which will include a new auditorium at the high school. Is it even needed? The Lebanon Opera House is always available to the schools. And why did the School Board not plan ahead? Just a few years ago, we approved its request to sell four buildings that supposedly were no longer needed. Effective planning includes looking beyond immediate needs to the ones we will have five years from now.

Like all Lebanon residents, we support our community through our taxes and want it to grow and thrive. But as our taxes continue to rise, we are reaching a point of diminishing returns. Every year our mandated water-sewer assessments go up, and now we are facing a tax increase to pay for a new roundabout. The City Council and the School Board insist that these and other improvements will attract young families to Lebanon. But what happens if these and other families cannot afford to live here? This is already happening with older residents, who have seen the cost of living in our community rise year after year.

We are overdue for a change of direction that will focus on better balance between development and spending. The key is better coordination and better planning by our City Council and our School Board.

Dick and Selma Sanborn


Meriden Needs New Library Building

It goes without saying that the Meriden Library has been an integral part of the town of Meriden since 1965. (The thumbs up vote at 2017 Town Meeting to keep it running reinforced the importance of this asset, whose history actually dates back to 1797.) However, with age comes some wear and tear along with things like removal of asbestos, window replacement, furnace and foundation issues, as well as bringing the structure up to ADA compliance and other codes.

The time has come that these issues have to be addressed. Many of us are sentimental about the present structure itself. However, after eight years of committee meetings, discussions and debate, the conclusion of the trustees and newly assigned building committee members is that the present building should be taken down to build a more accessible and fiscally responsible one. We are finding that the money needed for many of the repairs, code updates and replacements might be better put toward a new structure. It is hoped that building a new library on the same site would be in keeping with the times. It would be more energy efficient (less costly over time), offer single-level for access and would meet the needs of Plainfield for another 100-plus years. It will meet or exceed present environmental and energy efficiency standards, costing the town little to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Placing it on one level would make it more accessible to everyone, including aging community members along with people with special needs. The committee has also agreed to provide a larger meeting room for discussions, clubs and other community events and to be compatible architecturally with this 18th-century village. A building fund has been established to assist in this construction. Librarian Mary King also suggested that many of the current furnishings, such as bookshelves, etc., are still viable and could be reused to keep down costs. Any further ideas, suggestions, questions, comments or requests can be directed to the trustees, or call me at 603-469-3953.

Judy Pollock Hallam


Bills Tell N.H. Students: ‘Get Out’

I live in Hanover. My parents’ home may be in California, but I am here at least nine months a year and will be on campus until at least spring 2019. I sleep here, eat here and shop here. I spend almost all of my time here. My post-graduation plans are up in the air, as are those of many in my graduating class.

After graduation, I want to live in a state that wants me, and two bills before the New Hampshire Legislature, HB 1264 and HB 372, are telling me precisely the opposite. To me, these bills say “get out” and “we don’t want you here.” They make me feel like a foreigner in my state, the place that I have grown to call home.

We all know New Hampshire has trouble retaining young people, and bills like these do nothing to help that problem. New Hampshire has a workforce shortage and would greatly benefit from young people staying in the state. When people like me feel connected to the state, they stay; when they don’t, they leave. Exercising my right to vote connects me to my community, and I am not the only current and future voter who feels that connection. I hope that legislators and Gov. Chris Sununu think carefully before taking away our voice in the political process of our home.

Garrett Muscatel


Support Canaan Wind Ordinance

A proposed ordinance is on the Canaan Town Meeting ballot this year to enact reasonable regulations for large wind energy systems, usually a group of five to 20 wind towers, ranging from 300 to 500 feet tall.

While the state regulates the largest such projects (producing over 30 megawatts of electric power), the state may opt out of regulating projects below that size. In that event, the proposed ordinance would protect the town of Canaan and its citizens by providing public hearings, requiring bonding by developers for decommissioning costs and protecting our quality of life in numerous ways, such as noise, erosion, wildlife, water quality, setbacks and public safety. The ordinance does not apply to smaller systems that would serve homes, schools or farms, for example. The proposed ordinance may be seen on the town website at tinyurl.com/Canaan-wind. Please vote yes on March 13 for this commonsense measure.

Claude Lemoi