Forum, Nov. 10: Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

Thursday, November 09, 2017
Go Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

Regarding the shooting of 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, please don’t offer your thoughts and prayers. Tell me instead what you are going to do to prevent the next mass shooting.  Please don’t say that universal background checks and sensible gun legislation won’t make a difference. If we believed that, we would never pass any laws. And please stop quoting your Second Amendment rights; what about my right to be safe in public places?

The Second Amendment was written when a firearm was a musket that fired a single shot and had to be reloaded. Today, assault rifles do tremendous harm in a short time. As a nation, we have re-evaluated many practices. We decided that women should have the right to vote and that slavery was illegal. Isn’t it time to review our relationship with firearms, to consider who should carry and who should not, and which weapons should not be in civilian hands?

As citizens in a free society, our liberties are not unlimited.  There are speed limits, smoking is banned in public spaces and children must be in car seats and wear seat belts. Yet we stubbornly adhere to “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” oblivious to the amount of damage a firearm can cause. If we were completely honest, we would acknowledge that the firearm industry and its partner, the NRA, are the primary beneficiaries of the Second Amendment because of the money they make.

So please don’t tell me “now is not the time.” After Columbine, Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, Las Vegas, Charleston, Sutherland Springs and all other mass shootings, now is the time. If we care about our children, our neighbors and our communities, shouldn’t we give priority to reducing gun violence? Shouldn’t we at least try?

Dena B. Romero


Shame on the Politicians

We are all heartsick over the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twenty-six innocents were gunned down while attending church, many of them children. It has become pretty evident that our government is completely incapable of doing anything about guns, and doesn’t seem to have the desire to.

With the powerful gun lobby and the NRA, the situation appears hopeless. “Thoughts and prayers” from so many lawmakers is just plain sickening if that is the best they can do on our behalf.

There is no place for military-style weapons in the hands of civilians. Why can’t our politicians, who we elect to represent us solve this problem, so good, innocent people won’t be slaughtered in school, churches, movie theaters. nightclubs or concerts. It all seems hopeless as innocents will continue to die going about living their lives. Politicians should hang their heads in shame.

Nancy Parker


The Mental Illness Link

With regard to the mass shooting in Texas, President Donald Trump declared that “This isn’t a guns situation ... this is a mental health problem at the highest level.”  He’s right.

 Our president believes that the cause of mass killings lies in the mentally ill minds of the shooters. For certain, it does. But what of the society that permits the ready availability of high-power automatic and semi-automatic weapons? Is it not a form of delusion to ignore the role of guns and the promoters of guns? Such a delusion starts at the highest level, the president, and winds its way through our congressional leaders and state legislatures in an effort to mollify the gun lobby and millions of Americans who agree. Until our leaders, starting with the president, wake from their delusional condition and fearlessly move to enact strict gun control, we will see these tragedies repeated again and again because guns are made easily available to sick minds by a sick society. 

To not want to stop this senseless slaughter is to condone it. Does the president condone the madness of allowing military-type weapons to get into the hands of mentally ill persons? Let’s remember that it is the sworn responsibility of the president and Congress to protect their constituents.

The president and Congress should move quickly to enact laws that make illegal the ownership, possession or trafficking of high-power, automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Under these laws, after a period of buy-back, it would be illegal and punishable to build or possess such a gun. Until such laws are enacted and enforced, none of us, our children, our grandchildren, family members or friends are safe. Anywhere!

Ridge Satterthwaite

Post Mills

How Many Must Die?


I would like to pick up where Nan Bourne left off in the Nov. 7 Forum with her letter “The Real Question About Killings.” A typical reaction in situations of mass killings is, “It’s God’s will.” If the murder of dozens of innocents is God’s will, perhaps it is time to pray to a new God.

There must be a tipping point wherein this country will have had enough of the dying. Is it 100 deaths in a single incident, 200, 300? If the killing of 20 6-year-olds at Sandy Hook didn’t wake the national conscience, what chance does this week’s killing of 26 in a Texas church have of waking us up?

I grew up in a hunting and fishing family in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. My grandfather was featured in Sports Afield in December 1971 in an article titled “Bunnies and Beagles.” I haven’t hunted since my 30s, but I respect the hunting tradition. In Vermont and New Hampshire, hunting rifles are limited to five or six rounds. None of these 30 round or 100-round clips. If a hunter can’t shoot his or her intended target in five or six shots, they shouldn’t be hunting.

If hunters were being honest, most would agree that large-capacity magazines and AR-15s are not necessary. Yes, they are fun, but if we want that experience, let’s limit it to a supervised firing range, where you get to pay a fee for the thrill.

We have all been duped by the NRA into believing that because the Second Amendment to the Constitution says we have a right to bear arms, that should be an absolute right with no limit whatsoever on any type of firearm.

Like California Rep. Ted Lieu, who walked out during a moment of prayer in the House of Representatives for the Texans killed this week to protest a lack of action on gun safety, I am tired of the praying. Until the hunters in America realize that protecting innocents will not infringe on their right to hunt, and until they themselves stand up to the NRA, the slaughter will continue.

 Dana Seguin


Trump’s Action on Guns

Shortly after Donald Trump became president, one of the first regulations the Republicans did away with was one from the Obama era that made it harder for some people with mental health problems to buy guns. Trump signed a bill that undid the regulation into law. Just saying.

Dot Murphy


Getting Ready for Flu Season

Flu season is upon us, and the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley wants to prevent the spread of this uncomfortable and sometimes fatal illness. Through five free flu vaccine clinics in communities throughout the Upper Valley, we recently provided over 1,100 free flu vaccines to youth and adults.

This was a collaborative effort and we want to thank our many partners. Dartmouth-Hitchcock generously donated all the regular and high-dose vaccines. Thirty-four students from the Geisel School of Medicine volunteered to administer the vaccines. The Public Health Council’s medical director, Bill Boyle, supervised the clinics. We are also grateful to current and former members of our board of directors, Plainfield Caring Neighbors, the Mascoma Community Health Center, Rivendell Academy students, HealthHUB School Clinic, Upper Valley Medical Reserve Corps and Vermont Law School for staffing clinics. Most importantly, we thank the 1,100 people who came to get their flu shot for protecting themselves and their loved ones from the flu.

The flu results in approximately 12,000 to 56,000 deaths every year in the United States, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New Hampshire last year, there were 47 influenza-related deaths, including two pediatric deaths. The good news is that flu can largely be prevented with annual vaccines. If you missed one of our vaccine clinics, flu shots are still available from your primary care provider or at various local pharmacies.

Alice Ely, executive director

Public Health Council of the Upper Valley


Take Care of the Precision Museum

This past summer, my friends and I bicycled 4,100 miles from Astoria, Ore., to Bar Harbor, Maine. Chance brought us upon the historic American Precision Museum. Thank you to the people of Windsor for maintaining such an extraordinary piece of American heritage. We loved our visit, especially the young man who showed us how the machinery worked and made a small metal goblet for a souvenir. 

As I vacated the museum, chance carried me around to the side of the building.  I discovered windows missing, rotting window sills, wood supports rotting from lack of paint and the foundation being eroded away without any maintenance.

I felt badly that the decay of the building, built in the 1800s, could undermine future generations’ chance to see this magnificent historical site from our past. The hostess told me that a lack of money deterred repairs. I mentioned that a few gallons of paint and volunteers would easily stop the rotting of windowsills and wood supports, etc. Some well-placed cement would stop the erosion of bricks at the ground level.

People care! Give them a chance to repair that building, especially the windows. As for money, engage the local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, Lions Club, Rotary and other civic groups — for fundraisers. Additionally, engage GoFundMe.com  and KickStarter.com for excellent ways to raise money on the internet.

If you let it continue to rot, at some point the windows cannot be repaired or replaced in their original excellence. The foundation will degrade beyond repair. If neglect continues, the upgrade doubles and triples in costs.

As a history buff and former teacher, I urge civic leaders in Windsor to engage their creativity for fundraising and volunteers to bring that building back to its original excellence.

Frosty Wooldridge

Golden, Colo.