Best to keep a critical eye and open mind on McIntyre project: Letters

Second Amendment

Best to keep a critical eye and open mind on McIntyre project

Feb. 16 — To the Editor:

A few comments regarding the Feb 13 article concerning a letter sent to the National Parks Service arguing against the current McIntyre proposal and signed by, among others, several ex-Portsmouth city councilors:

1. The letter-writers say the proposal is “strongly opposed by a majority of the residents of the city,” yet the article — and one assumes the letter — provides nothing to back up this claim.

2. The letter-writers also claim that just 13% of the project will be for public benefit, but they use the full build-out area — which includes space not at ground level — for the denominator. If we instead use the lot size of 2.16 acres, their claimed public benefit area share becomes 25%. Personally, I don’t expect to find public-benefit space on every floor of a building.

3. The writer of the article states that the “council voted unanimously to approve the additional spending on the project despite the fact that everybody who turned out for the meeting except one person urged the council not to approve it.” While this sounds to me like editorializing in a news article, which should be avoided, the point is that this was a City Council vote, not a Town Meeting vote. Public comment at the meeting does not necessarily determine vote outcome.

I was a member of one of the “Community Plan” input committees and am keeping a critical eye and open mind on the McIntyre project negotiations which include, according to our city manager, “division of the expected revenue returns.” As with most real estate developments, the important number is the overall return on investment, not just the investment.

Guy Spiers


Some dark thoughts on our nation’s obsession with guns

Feb. 15 — To the Editor:

Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” − Edgar Allan Poe.

“Yes, it’s always the same dream,” I told my psychiatrist. A recurring dream about insanity and gun violence in America.

In this dream I can hear the staccato sounds of distant gunfire and the haunting lyrics of a 1960s song playing over and over, “the beat goes on, the beat goes on, and drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.”

On a table before me is a gun and several magazines of bullets. I am visibly distraught. I am overwhelmed. I am mumbling to myself incoherently. I am on the verge of an atrocious act.

I can see myself writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. It is a letter of incipient madness, a letter that reveals the pathological mental state that can afflict disturbed individuals in a society like ours that is saturated with millions of semi-automatic guns designed for the wholesale killing of our fellow human beings.

Here is that letter (abridged for publication):

To the editor: I would like to suggest that we reject all forms of gun control and heed the call of the NRA for more firearms in our society.

These firearms should be designed for ease of use in crowded public settings. Firing rate, magazine capacity and fast reloading are the critical performance parameters. Bullets for these weapons should inflict severe pain and produce particularly gruesome body wounds that, if not lethal, will at least maim their targets for life.

Luckily, under the current political environment in America, the possibilities for deadly innovation in high-powered, personal weaponry are virtually unlimited. The AR-15 man-killer, semi-automatic rifle that I have before me is a good example of this innovation.

The carnage made possible by such weapons of slaughter is unfortunate, but it is a small price to pay for our age-old right to bear arms. The legality, proliferation and potential misuse of these weapons should not be at issue, as long as there is sufficient medication for treating the multi-media stresses of our society (medications like my tranquilizers, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics).

However, the appropriate response to a highly-armed, stressed-out populace is not medical intervention, or restraints on violent media, or restrictive gun regulation, but a highly-militarized police force that is capable of dealing with the 400 million guns already circulating within our nation. In other words, as we arm our civilian population with weapons of war, our law enforcement agencies must follow suit.

Even so, it is not hard to imagine that, under extreme circumstances of racial or political violence, even the Second Amendment itself might be in jeopardy of repeal. And if we lose the Second Amendment, we may well lose our semi-automatic guns, our manhood, and then our liberties.

And without our guns we would be an effeminate, emasculated nation whose male population is deprived of its virility and self-esteem. After all, a man in modern America without his gun is like a man without testicles, he is not a whole man. And without his cache of semi-automatic weapons, he might also be a dead one.

As I write this, the drums of hell are beating a hole in my brain and the voices in my head are calling me to arms. So it is time to act. America is waiting to be rescued from the hoards of dusky demons and liberal politicians that now threaten it. So I thank God for the NRA, the Republican Party, the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court and my right to an AR-15.

Thus ends the disturbing dream-letter that reflects the deranged and confused state of America’s gun culture, a culture supported by conservative politicians and others who insist that people, and not guns, are the problem. This claim, even if true, can in no way justify the legality and easy availability of weapons of war that, at best, intimidate the general public and, at worst, facilitate mass murder.

Our nightmares of gun violence across this nation are not just the phantasms of nocturnal dreams, they are the horrible reality of America today. They are a reality about which no mortal ever dared to dream before, a reality that was unknown and inconceivable to the 18th century creators of our Constitution and the Second Amendment, or even to Edgar Poe, the quintessential master of horror and the macabre in the 19th century.

So just as our political and judicial systems continue to do nothing, and hideous weapons of intimidation and war remain legal in America, so will the drumbeats of mass murder keep pounding out their rhythm in our brains, in our news media and in our dreams. And consequently, as Mr. Poe might have put it, there shall be no “surcease of sorrow” in this grim land of the gun.

Ron Sheppe


Responding to ‘fitness’ of elected officials

Feb. 17 — To the Editor:

As presidential candidates begin to visit New Hampshire, and voters opine on their neurocognitive domains, it is my humble opinion that voters reflect on their “fitness” to serve as the commander in chief of our Armed Forces.

Army Regulation (AR) 40-501 governs medical fitness standards for enlistment, induction, appointment, retention and separation of our soldiers. AR 40-501 provides guidance and medical fitness standards for those who serve our nation.

AR 40-501 also addresses behavioral health.

Command climate is influenced by those who seek chaos, crisis, and confusion rather than cooperation, coordination, communication, and coordination. This is why service members with personality disorders are administratively discharged for military service. They are disruptive, divisive, and threaten unit cohesiveness.  They also provide excellent targets for our adversaries to “flip.”

Let’s make America the United States of America by electing leaders who are fit to serve, seek unity of effort, and unity of command. The health of the nation, Sun Tzu’s “moral influence” and the health of our citizens depends on the fitness of those “we the people” elect to serve.

William L Bograkos


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