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Letters to the Editor 

‘Pity Party for Perps’

Really, Seven Days? Front-page news?” In [“Gray Is the New Orange,” January 22] those serving time for aggravated sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct with an 8-year-old, etc. are whining about how “They’ve had a hard life,” “They can’t find housing,” “That it took months” to get a medical diagnosis. 

Victims, too, serve “life sentences,” struggle for housing and medical care and diagnosis, and the perps are the ones whining and getting representation and front-page news!

An advocate states that prisons should “keep people away from the general public for reasons of public safety” and that holding those who are low risk due to their age is “a waste of taxpayer money, not to mention human capital.”  

As a survivor, I spend each and every day of my life with these struggles and more, so forgive me if I do not share in this pity party for perps.

Bonnie L. Barrows

Burlington

SEALS Are Sailors

Rick Kisonak’s otherwise fine review of the new movie Lone Survivor has an error that many in the media often make [Movie Review, January 15]. In his description of the storyline, he notes that “four soldiers are dropped into a remote patch of the Hindu Kush.” Had the story been about Army Special Forces, aka Green Berets, this would have been OK. But it is about SEALS, who are Navy personnel, and hence sailors.

This may seem trite to those who have not served in the military. I can assure you, as a retired U.S. Navy commander, that we sailors, soldiers, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen don’t take it so. It is yet another reminder of how disconnected most Americans are from those of us who have served. I’ve noted in recent years the frequent use in the media of “soldier” in its generic sense, or as a verb, but please make a point of calling actual service members by their proper branch. It is important, to us.

Terry Ryan

Huntington

Why Downplay Drug Problem?

Certainly, a slurry of facts was represented in Mark Davis’ article [“Diagnosing the Drug Deal: Did Shumlin Overstate the Case for Vermont’s Opiate ‘Crisis’?” January 15]. But what floated to the top for me was an arrogant dismissal of reality. Shumlin has brought this very serious, private, deadly issue to the forefront, and Davis’ compilation of facts says we are using the wrong yardstick?

Suggesting that because this trend is not a rising tide and opiate use is not an epidemic is just semantics. This article discounts opiate use as a lesser threat than binge drinking, underage drinking and marijuana use. Tell that to the person next door driving to Rutland or West Lebanon every day for treatment; tell that to the parent who watched their child drop out of college and into a daily dose of narcotics; tell that to the high school counselors who talk to parents about student heroin use.

This article does not support the kind of awareness our communities need to help battle this crisis. Opiate use is a private epidemic to which Davis’ numbers give little justice. This is just half the story. We need more emphasis on just how real and close this problem is and not a deflection in the press that sedates our awareness.

J. Smith

Jericho

Allergies Aren’t Preferences

The last sentence of “Sensitivity Siege” [January 15] gets at the crux of what angers me as someone who has to manage life-threatening food allergies for my son. The chef in the story admits to saying that he could not eat a meal because he was allergic to mushrooms, when in reality he just disliked them. ?We have to carry an EpiPen everywhere because of the food allergies with which my son has been diagnosed through blood and pinprick tests. I pray every time we eat out that the staff takes me seriously when I ask questions about dishes and food prep. My requirements are pretty minimal: Please let me know if there are ingredients in the dish to which my son is allergic and please don’t use a cutting board, etc. for his food that has been used for nuts without washing it first. ?

I worry that the voices of people with food preferences (not allergies or other serious conditions) will drown out my questions. As it is, when I ask about eggs, to which my son is also allergic, I am often offered a gluten-free menu. My son is not allergic to wheat, but any allergy question nowadays triggers a gluten-free response. ?I hope the restaurant staff takes my questions seriously. I hope people without allergies will not use the word “allergy” to describe their sensitivity or food preference. I hope we never have to use that EpiPen.

Suzanne Eikenberry

Montpelier

Nothing Funny About Abortion Law

In the January 15 Fair Game [“A Choice Change”] Vermont Right to Life stated that the discussion of S.315 in the legislature is a “joke.” In a country where reproductive health care for women continues to be threatened by antiabortion statutes, this conversation is certainly not something to laugh about. Columnist Paul Heintz rightly points out that S.315 would eradicate an archaic law that was written in 1846.? The statute criminalizes abortion providers with up to 20 years of prison time. This is completely outdated and this is not Vermont: We believe in access to reproductive health care and a woman’s right to choose. I suppose keeping an outdated criminal statute on the books year after year is kind of funny, but this year, hopefully, it will finally go.

Heather Allen

Burlington

Bolles Has Style

Thank you for Dan Bolles’ kind review of Matteo Palmer’s CD, Out of Nothing [Album Review, January 15]. I suppose one of the traditional tenets of journalism is to remain neutral and perhaps even invisible. We’ve left that behind, thankfully, but I was struck by how gracefully Bolles conveyed more than an objective opinion in his writing. The review ended up communicating clearly what he wanted to say about Matteo objectively, but was enlivened by Bolles’ character. It’s rare that I see reviews be as informative and as personal as his was. I congratulate Seven Days on a distinctive style and am happy to make Bolles’ acquaintance via Matteo.

Will Ackerman

Dummerston

Ackerman is the Grammy Award-winning guitarist and composer who founded Windham Hill Records.

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