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December 11, 2015     Quoddy Tides
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December 11, 2015

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Page 4 THE QUODDY TIDES 11 December, 2015 e The steady onslaught of mass shootings in the U.S. may be leaving citizens numbed by all the reports and feeling the regularity is the new normal -- or they may be saddened by the loss of so many lives and also outraged that little is being done to change the current trajectory. We hope that the latter is their reaction and that they are prompted to act to change the gun laws in the U.S. to help prevent future mass murders. It's now difficult for people to compre- hend the latest mass shooting before it's eclipsed by another. A 2014 FBI report found that the number of shootings a year had more than doubled during the past six years from the previous six years. And in 2013, before the latest shootings, six of the 12 most deadly shootings in U.S. his- tory had occurred in the past five years. In just the last three years, the list of shootings, which does not include shoot- ings tied to domestic violence and gangS, is increasingly distressing. The San Ber- nardino shooting, in which 14 were killed and 21 injured, had the most casualties since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which 20 young stu- dents and six adults were killed. Using a more recent definition adopted by some private research groups of a mass killing being one in which four or more people are killed or injured, mass shootings in the U.S. have occurred this year at a frequen- cy of more than one a day. Numbers, of course, remove us from the stark reality of lives that are lost and the impact on families and friends. Each loss of life is significant in and of itself. And perhaps these numbers are not as staggering as the losses during wartime or as may occur in some countries today. But we believe that the number of deaths is so great that the time has come for this coun- try to act decisively to change this course -- if we as a people believe in the value of every life. While some will point to different is- sues that may have led to a particular shooting, such as mental health issues or Islamic radicalization, it seems clear that easy access to guns that can kill many people quickly is a common denominator. It does not have to be this way, and we as Americans do not have to accept these shootings as the new reality. We believe it's time to call out Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the current leader- ship of the National Rifle Association for their culpability in these shootings. They have blood on their hands, having hi- jacked an organization dedicated to gun safety and marksmanship and transformed it into a religion to expand gun rights. That change in the organization occurred when a coup was mounted in 1977. While the NRA previously supported reasonable gun laws, with NRA member Ronald Re- agan believing background checks were "just plain common sense," the organiza- tion's leadership now takes extreme posi- tions, even fighting for the rights of felons and terror suspects to buy and own fire- arms and explosives. The NRA's leaders now help perpetuate the firearm deaths of 31,000 Americans every year. With LaPierre, who was a tough lobby- ist but hardly a gun enthusiast when he joined the NRA, the organization has be- come a feared lobbying group, having spent in 2014 federal congressional cam- paigns more than twice as much as gun control advocates. NRA members turn out to vote, and the group has been able to convince congressmen that voting against the NRA~s wishes will lead to their defeat. LaPierre takes a hardline, no-apologies stance on gun issues, including calling for armed guards in every school after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. The NRA leadership argues that any compromise on gun issues will take away individual liber- ties and lead to the government taking all guns away from citizens. While prosely- tizing the gospel of liberty and freedom, the NRA makes no mention of responsi- bilities. But if we would cling as fiercely to our responsibilities as we do to our rights, we might not need to enact laws to protect people from those who overzeal- ously insist on what they believe are their rights. The NRA's specious arguments should not be allowed to stand unchallenged. Ac- cording to a recent report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service, "Per cap- ita, the civilian gun stock has roughly dou- bled since 1968, from one gun per every two persons to one gun per person." Meanwhile, the U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are peers of the U.S. in wealth and population, according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Vi- olence. The NRA's fraud perpetrated on the AmeJrican people has not only resulted in the sllaughter of civilians but has benefited the I~RA significantly. In response to the mass shootings, the NRA calls for people to buy more weapons to defend them- selves, which increases the profits for gun manufacturers. Their profits have soared to $6 billion in 2012, according to the Christian Science Monitor. And in turn, since 2005 the gun industry has given be- tween $20 million and $52.6 million to the NRA. It's time to end this fraud. Reasonable regulations that have been proposed could help reduce the easy access to guns with high-capacity magazines that can cause such slaughter. Background checks on all gun sales, reinstitution of the assault weap- ons ban, a ban on high-capacity maga- zines, safe storage requirements and trigger locks are all reasonable steps. Those who use guns for hunting or recreation should support these measures, and those who be- long to the NRA should urge the organiza- tion's leadership to change its unreasonable stance opposing these steps. These changes will not end violent deaths, but they will limit access to weapons that make it easy to kill many people at one time. When will America wake up that we have been taken in by LaPierre and the rest of the NRA leadership? We urge re- sponsible members of the NRA and every citizen to write to their congressmen to support reasonable gun legislation and to write to Wayne LaPierre with the mes- sage: "Blood on your hands." Edward French Notice on letters The Quoddy Tides welcomes letters to the editor. To be considered for pub- lication, all letters to the editor should be signed and give the writer's name, address, and a daytime telephone num- ber. Letters may be edited for style, length, taste and libel and should be no more than 400 words in length. Early deadlines for Christmas Because of the Christmas holiday, the December 25 issue of The Quoddy Tides will be printed early, on Tuesday, December 22. The deadline for ads is Friday, December 18, and the news deadline is Saturday, December 19. TALLEST TREE "It's official, for now -- North Ameri- ca's tallest known American chestnut tree is growing in a protected forest in Lov- ell," writes Monica Jerkins of the Sun Journal, published in Lewiston. Officials from the American Chestnut Foundation came all the way from Asheville, N.C., to be present for the official measuring cere- mony in a media event a few weeks ago. They found the tree to be 115 feet high, at least 20 feet higher than the closest known counterpart east of the Mississippi. While the height of the Lovell chestnut tree is impressive and will earn the tree a place in the Big Tree registry, it falls short of being named the largest chestnut tree in the country, state or even the county. The honor of being named one of the largest trees in the Big Tree program categories for those geographical regions goes to trees that earn enough polnts based on a formula that figures in circumference, crown and height. WIND FARM IN SCOTLAND A global energy company that aban- doned plans two years ago to build a $120 million demonstration wind farm off the Maine coast following opposition from Governor LePage is moving ahead with a similar project in Scotland. Norway-based Statoil announced in November that it had made a final decision to build Hywind Scotland, the world's first floating off- shore wind farm. Europe has many wind farms anchored close to shore in the sea- bed. But energy researchers think they can produce even more power in deep water in places such as Maine, where winds are stronger offshore. Statoil launched the world's first floating wind turbine in deep water off Norway in 2009. In 2012 the company proposed its next venture for multiple turbines, called Hywind Maine, at a state-approved site off Boothbay Har- bor. According to a Maine Sunday Tele- gram article, Statoil pulled the plug after LePage engineered a last-minute change in the legislature that threatened Statoil's business model by favoring a competing proposal based at the University of Maine. In other action, Statoil has received ap- proval to explore for oil in an area next to Georges Bank and the entrance to the Gulf of Maine, raising environmental concerns on both sides of the border. In a move opposed by fishermen, Canadian authori- ties have granted the company an explor- atory lease for the area 225 miles southeast of Bar Harbor and bordering on the east- ern flank of Georges Bank. MISLABELING OF SALMON An article in the December issue of the Fishermen's Voice notes that a DNA study of 82 samples of salmon from seven res- taurants and grocery stores in New York, Washington, Virginia and Chicago found that two-thirds of fish served at restau- rants and one-fifth of the salmon from . grocery stores were actually a fanned specimen. The study also found that spe- cies misidentification is a common prob- lem, with lower grade salmon such as chdms marketed as kings, or chinook, and in some cases rainbow trout marketed as salmon. The report also found that while U.S. fisheries could supply 80% of the nation's demand for wild caught salmon, over 70% of that catch is now exported. THE QUODDY TIDES ESTABLISHED: NOVEMBER 1968 Tel.: (207) 853-4806 Fox: (207) 853-4095 E-maih or Website: Address: 123 Water St., P.O. Box 213, Eastport, Maine 04631 Published the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month at 123 Water St., Eastport, Maine. Publisher: Edward French Printed at EIIsworth, Maine Subscription rates: $31.65 a year in Washington County, Maine; $36.93 a year in Maine but outside of Washington County. $35 a year if subscriber lives outside of Maine; $35 in Canadian funds. Single copy, $1.25 + tax. 2nd class postage paid at Eostport, Me. 04631 and St. Stephen, N.B. Permit No. 9435 Notice to Postmaster: Send 3579 to The Quoddy Tides, P.O. Box 213, Eastport, Maine 0463 i Publication No. USPS-453-220 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40021969. Return undeliverable items to The Quoddy Tides, P.O. Box 213, Eastport, ME 04631 USA Winifred B. French -- Editor & Publisher 1968-1995 Editor & Publisher -- Edward French Senior Editor -- Marie Jones Holmes Assistant Editor & Publisher -- Lora Whelan Reporter -- Susan Esposito Circulation Manager -- Sharon Cook Advertising Representative -- Robin Farrin Copy Editors -- Michelle Gawe and Caitlyn Stellrecht Accounting -- Jaime Mitchell Keyboarding -- Ann Sullivan Photographer -- Don Dunbar Book Reviewers -- Lora Whelan and RJ Heller Contributing Artist -- Jerome Andrews Cartoonist -- Luke Webb Cooking Columnist -- Jack Sivertson Member of Maine Press Association New England Press Association It's beginning to look like Christmas in area towns. Business districts are aglow with decorated storefronts and streetlights are wrapped with holiday lights. Contain- ers of evergreens add to the charm. There has been almost no snow for coastal Washington and Charlotte coun- ties this holiday season -- quite different from last year's white landscape. The old Eastport custom is to put your Christmas tree up as soon as Thanksgiv- ing is past, and on December 26 out it goes -- probably because the needles are falling. CERTAINTY A candle's fire is but a spark Against the caverns of the dark And yet its glow is warm and wide, A happy face on either side. Tinsel is earth's bright, hollow gold; A happy man's true wealth is told, His life's brief story made complete When warm hands clasp and true meet. eyes An earthly kingdom's golden throne Man need but strive for, and may own; Yet nothing's his in earth or sky Should Love and Friendship pass him by. Leita K. Boone Eastport Thought for a fortnight Christmas is coming, the geese are get- ring fat, / Please to put a penny in the old man's hat, / If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do, / If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you! Anonymous