Forum, June 23: Ask About Guns in the Home

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Ask About Guns in the Home

A June 20 headline in the Valley News read, “Guns Kill More Children in U.S. Each Year Than Flu or Asthma.”  What did you feel when you read this headline?  Resigned? Hopeless? Sickened? Angry? Incredulous?  

We do not have to accept that this is the new status quo. With guns in so many homes, responsible, loving parents need to ask this question whenever their children visit other homes: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?”

The ASK Campaign is a collaboration between the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which promotes the ASK message to its 64,000 members across the country. The ASK Campaign has successfully inspired 19 million households to ask if there are guns where their children play.

For more than a decade, the ASK Campaign has partnered with over 400 grassroots organizations such as Newtown Action Alliance — to spread its message in neighborhoods nationwide. The ASK campaign is supported by the National PTA, Injury Free Coalition for Kids, American Public Health Association, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the Office of Head Start and many more.

In America, one out of three homes with children contains a gun, and nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. Every year thousands of kids are killed and injured as a result.

“Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” It’s a simple question, but it has the power to save a child’s life.  

Kathleen Shepherd


Why the Fairlee Water Bond Failed

Fairlee’s water issues are nothing new, and the failing storage tank moves the issue forward to the top of the list. That said, the Selectboard’s proposed recent bond was a flawed proposal.

First, it was viewed by many as an “all or nothing” proposal with no Plan B. Perhaps it would be more reasonable to replace the water tank with some number less than the proposed 8,300 feet of pipe. Many feel that the proposed water softening was not needed and should be left up to the individual user.

Secondly, a Water Advisory Committee was put in place and did not have enough time to vet the proposal and weigh in properly before the bond vote.

The water operators, who know the system better than anyone, were not solicited for input, nor their expertise given any credence.

Although the Selectboard was trying to meet a deadline, it would be wise to take a step back, look at other options, seek more input, rely less on the engineer’s “all or nothing” bid, and put forth a more reasonable plan of action with lower costs to the voters. Regardless of funding options, many feel that a viable, lower-cost proposal is what is needed, and has a better chance of receiving voters’ approval.

John Durgin


Who Are the Real Elites?

As delighted as I am, as in previous years, to see all the beaming faces of graduates and their proud families, I can’t help but wonder why at the same time there are such strong currents of anti-intellectualism.

All parents want their children to have a good education in order to succeed in life, to have meaningful and satisfying work. At the same time, well-educated and well-spoken individuals are called “elitist.” There is nothing elitist in being able to think independently and clearly, to process multiple sources of information, and check facts against suppositions and rumors.

If there is an elite at this time, it is the moneyed class that is not necessarily well educated but ruthless to the point of criminality. In the present and into the future, better educated people will have the best chance to find their way in an ever-more interconnected world. They will make America great again, not the mindless phrases of a president whose only aim seems to be to vent his relentless hatred of his well-educated and well-spoken predecessor.

Ulrike Rainer


Money Corrupts Absolutely

Over the last 76 years, I have seen many presidents come and go. I thought Richard Nixon was the worst, but I was wrong. This man we now have in the White House makes Nixon look like the Pope.

President Barack Obama warned Chief Justice Roberts that the Citizens United decision would corrupt Congress and the Senate. Now thousands of lobbyists are running around Washington throwing millions of dollars at both Democratic and Republican leaders. It’s just like feeding time for chickens.

Right now, Donald Trump holds the purse strings, along with his staff of millionaires and billionaires who donate millions to both parties.

If Obama tried to pass a budget, the obstructionist Republican House and Senate shut down the government, and held hearings to try to shame or dishonor him. But where are these Republican leaders now? Hiding under their beds, afraid to say anything about Trump that will cut off their re-election money.

They all have pledged allegiance to Trump. If not, they would be saying something about his involvement with Russia, plus countless other wrongs Trump has brought to the citizens of the United States.

Robert H. Pollard


Examine Mt. Sunapee Lease Transfer

In April the state of New Hampshire stood idly by while the leased area of Mt. Sunapee State Park was transferred without review to the criminally sanctioned hedge fund Och-Ziff. According to a memo from the new Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, “the transaction was structured in such a manner to avoid triggering the assignment provision of the lease.”  This would have allowed the governor and Executive Council to review the transaction.

Och-Ziff, a New York-based hedge fund, was criminally sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for a bribery scheme in several African countries. It paid $412 million in fines.

In New Hampshire, the state failed to apply multiple provisions of the lease agreement that would have allowed for review of the transaction.

This inaction by state agencies is inexcusable. The people of New Hampshire are the rightful owners of the state parks. We entrust their care and management to the state, trusting that they will be properly cared for.

We call upon the Department of Resources and Economic Development, Gov. Chris Sununu and the Attorney General’s Office to intercede in this matter and act on behalf of the people of New Hampshire whom they serve.

Please contact your state officials to stop this in its tracks: Gov. Chris Sununu, governor.nh.gov/contact; Gordon MacDonald, New Hampshire Attorney General, 603-271-3658; Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, Jeffrey.Rose@dred.nh.gov.

Steve Russell

Newbury, N.H.