May 28, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Thank You!

I want to thank all of those who have sent their condolences after the passing of Windham Police (Officer) K-9 Max. These condolences have come in by the thousands over the last two weeks via cards, email, Facebook postings, text messages and in person. K-9 Max was the Windham Police Department’s first police canine and will long be remembered by those who worked with him. All of the support shown has reminded me of the thousands of people he had the privilege to come in contact with over the 8 years that he served. K-9 Max was able to show this community and communities throughout Maine and New Hampshire the professional officers that the Town of Windham employs.

The outpouring of support from everyone throughout the community and his fellow officers reminds me how many lives Max touched and had such a positive impact on.

Sgt. Bill Andrew


Freedom of Speech vs. Public Decency

There is a particular business sign in the Town of Raymond that, although usually adorned with right wing political rants, has recently been the proud bearer of the word "sodomized" used to describe a governmental proposal that the owner is opposed to.

A call to the town office indicated that this type of business advertisement was protected under the First Amendment and that there was nothing to be done.  As a tax payer of Raymond and a grandparent to a young child I take offense to the use of obscenity in a public forum and am appalled by the lack of simply civility and moral decency shown by this business owner. 

I take no issue with this person's political views, and find most of his musings either funny or unintelligible in their infantile fanaticism, but I strongly feel that a line has been crossed by the use of a tawdry lurid description of a sexual act as a form of attention getting. With approximately 171,476 words in the English language you would think that there are many alternatives available for his use.  Obviously this person cares little for the Town of Raymond, its citizens of all ages, or its reliance on a healthy dose of tourism revenue for the continued growth of its economy.  It is a sad commentary on our town and its citizens that this type of cheap exploitive advertising is at best dismissed and ignored, and at worst accepted and tolerated. With so much hate and intolerance globally, it is disheartening to see this complete lack of common courtesy and respect for others locally. 

If this business owner had taken the time to read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and the history surrounding these amazing documents, he would better understand why they were written, the spirit with which they were intended, and the integrity and humanity of its authors.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This, the first Amendment in our Bill of Rights, the freedom of speech clause, has been interpreted in various ways. Some people believe it protects all forms of speech in any form at any time, while others believe there can be reasonable restrictions, such as not yelling "Fire!" on an airplane or in a crowded theater. The Supreme Court has agreed that not all speech is protected. Some of the common types of non-protected speech are; slander or libel, treason, lying in court, profanity and obscenity. 

The definition of obscenity is - "the portrayal or description of sexual matters that are offensive or disgusting according to accepted standards of morality or decency".

While this business owner does not appear to care for or follow the same standards of morality or decency as the majority of the population, I feel it is a shame that we, as citizens and taxpayers, especially our children, are subject to whatever he wishes to display in public view claiming some unalienable right under the First Amendment.   

Robert Heron Bork (1927 – 2012) the American legal scholar, Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, and judge of the Unites States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sums it up well with,  " The First Amendment is about how we govern ourselves - not about how we titillate ourselves sexually."

I would request that this business owner stick to politics, have the decency to self police his own actions and keep his sexual predilections private.

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