Protect me with your guns? Thanks, but no thanks
Editor of the Reformer:
I’d like to respond to the letter from Ryan Hockertlotz ("A firearm owner discusses his rights," July 25), who says he carries two guns into banks, supermarkets and meetings with more arms in his vehicles and home, and yet does not see himself as "some kind of gun nut." If he isn’t, I’d like to know who is.
He thinks the rest of us should feel grateful to him for being a vigilante ready to stand in for the police. Great. If another Aurora or Columbine tragedy happens, instead of one nut whipping out a weapon and blazing away, we’ll have two, or if Mr. Hockertlotz has his way, lots of them, with bullets flying in many directions.
I don’t care how many ribbons he wears, I don’t need the "protection" of heavily-armed cowboy vigilantes presuming to act as self-deputized police. I’m tired of guys using guns to make up for their anatomical deficiencies. If you want to live in a society saturated with firearms, you can try Mogadishu or Ciudad Juarez.
Brattleboro, July 27
Support for Toleno
Editor of the Reformer:
My wife and I would like to publically express our support for Tristan Toleno for Brattleboro District 3 state representative. Those of us who have the good fortune to know Tristan are aware of his passion for politics and commitment to
Tristan is purposeful and well-rounded in his personal, professional and volunteer experience. He is devoted to putting his values into practice. Restaurant owner, soccer coach, community volunteer, Town Meeting representative, Tristan has championed progressive and community-based causes from the Vermont Fresh Network to the Civilian Police Communications Committee to the Sunrise Rotary and Chamber of Commerce. Tristan is respected for his depth of understanding of local issues, good humor, organizational skill and ability to collaborate.
There are many aspects of Tristan’s experience and skill that deserve our support. Yet, it is Tristan’s enduring support for our family during our time of tragedy that signifies the depth of his compassion and character. Months can go by without any contact. Then send a text and Tristan is there: "Just tell me what you need."
We are fortunate to live in an exceptionally caring community. Tristan is the embodiment of one who commits without concern for his own interests except to do what is good and true and right. He is without question a person that will represent us with intelligence and heart in Montpelier.
Dan and Debbie Bernier-Sontag,
Brattleboro, July 27
Editor for the Reformer:
While it is somewhat flattering that my brief and rather benign epistolary discourse on the etymology of a single word aroused such passion in the breast of Martin Langeveld ("Taking a moment to discuss ‘cuckolded,’" July 24), it does seem a bit unjust, based solely on that, to characterize me as among "those of the prescriptivist persuasion who want the meanings of words to be frozen in time, preferably long ago."
Mr. Langeveld does bring up the very correct point that our rich and vibrant English language is a fluid, vital, living entity, and that countless words have changed and evolved over centuries to take on meanings very different from their origins. The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories and The Story of English are two among many fascinating books on that subject. He also states that "coining words and usuages is a perfectly acceptable thing to do" by citing the example of Shakespeare. Becky Karush, alas, is no Shakespeare.
If we take Mr. Langeveld’s putative argument to its logical conclusion, that we should all (or maybe just writers?) be able to change meaning at our whim, why not just call a bull, a cow? Or a pencil, a pen? Or a truck, a car? Why not just chuck our dictionaries out altogether, and use whatever words we want to mean whatever we want?
Just because a public figure, such as the late Elizabeth Edwards quoted by Mr. Langeveld, misuses a word, that doesn’t automatically legitimize it -- thank heavens. If that were the case, we would all be spelling the name of a common edible tuber as "potatoe."
The glory of our language is that we have available to us a larger and more diverse vocabulary than any other in the world. The beauty of a rich, historical, evocative word like "cuckold" is that it describes very specifically a certain person and situation, not just a person who has been cheated on by his or her partner, but a man who has been humiliated by the wife he believed faithful, as suggested by its origins in natural history, and is an object of ridicule. As Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word, and the almost right word, is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug."
And by the way, the wife who is cheated upon by her husband, Mr. Langveld, is a "betrayed wife."
Brattleboro, July 26
Americans with disabilities fight for their rights
Editor of the Reformer:
As the Vermont Center for Independent Living marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, the civil rights of many Americans are under attack. Women’s rights are being challenged again. Low-income Americans don’t have equal access to health care. New Americans face profiling by police. The hotel industry is lobbying hard to roll back the ADA on swimming pool access.
Now, more than ever, it is imperative that civil rights organizations work shoulder-to-shoulder to beat back the current attacks on our collective civil rights. Social responsibility has many faces. It’s discouraging that today, after all the decades of progress made in the disability rights movement and other social change movements, we need to fight harder than ever in 2012. We need everyone on the front line.
Together with our community partners’ campaigns, VCIL believes the civil rights of people with disabilities will be won, in time. VCIL, arm-in-arm with its sister and brother organizations, will see everyone’s civil rights honored. We will see the Violence Against Women Act passed, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Congress, healthcare as a human right achieved in Vermont, and compliance with the ADA met.
VCIL calls on Vermonters to continue to push for access improvements. Complying with the ADA produces a community that works better for everyone. The ADA means curb cuts, ramped entrances, and kneeling busses. The ADA means equal rights, job accommodations and large print meeting agendas. The ADA means bigger bathrooms, assistive listening devices at the movies, and eating out at restaurants with family. The ADA means swimming at the public pool. The ADA means diversity and equality in our communities.
of the Vermont Center
for Independent Living,
Williamstown, July 26