Headline Doesn't Help
"Broken Parents = Broken Kids" [November 6] by Kate O'Neill is a nuanced and informative look at the complexities of family relationships and mental health when parents are struggling with opioid-use disorder at the same time as their children are working on accomplishing important developmental tasks. I am very appreciative of the article. My concern is with the way a piece of a quote was taken out of context and placed in large, bold print on newspapers all over Chittenden County: "Broken Parents = Broken Kids." This is a damaging statement that worsens the shame, blame and feelings of futility that trauma itself induces.
If you are a parent with addiction, it is crucial to know that when you seek help to heal — even if you struggle or make mistakes — you are modeling strength and resiliency for your children. If you are a child or young adult who has experienced trauma, it is crucial for you to know the things that happen to you are only part of the story of who you are. You get to determine the rest.
Editor's note: The headline was a complete sentence uttered by the article's main subject, a mother who has struggled with opioid-use disorder.
I am astounded and horrified to hear that confiscated guns are being sold back into society in Vermont ["Government Gun Shop," October 30]. We have an immediate and serious problem with guns, and the government is selling them!
The article states that one of the reasons is a concern that law enforcement officials will hesitate to confiscate guns from those cited or arrested for domestic abuse — an action made possible by a recently passed law — because there isn't anywhere to put them. In order to make space for confiscated guns to be stored, we are selling guns to gun dealers who could be unwittingly selling them to other people who shouldn't have them. It just doesn't make any sense and is completely irresponsible.
Our state government should be working to reduce the number of guns out there — not selling them. Just destroy them. I am fed up with the cavalier attitude toward weapons, while children are trained in what to do if a shooter shows up in their school. This is unconscionable. Guns kill people. These sales should be stopped immediately.
After 18 weeks of access to an entire page in the Essex Reporter to plug the Essex merger plan as the only path forward for the Town of Essex and its village, Elaine Haney dares to complain when Irene Wrenner gets a bit of coverage in Seven Days [Feedback: "Two Sides, Two Municipalities," October 30]. Your coverage [802Much: "Crazy Train," October 23] was primarily about Wrenner's unique way of getting a point across and only incidentally about our long merger history, which was accurately recounted and has repeatedly failed since 1958.
Wrenner has made a career of thinking differently, engaging creatively with her neighbors and sticking her neck out for commonsense positions. That's what drove your publication's coverage. And that's why her video has more than 8,100 views.
In her letter, Haney promises a "robust public process" over the next 12 months. She must not have been listening at the September 24 selectboard meeting, when most of her peers suggested they've had enough public input. But I was there, and I heard Haney change the subject rather than remind her peers that the public must be part of future steps in this process.
I read in Seven Days how Vermont Public Radio CEO Scott Finn fired Ric Cengeri, one of the producers of "Vermont Edition" and host of "VPR Café" [Off Message: "Media Note: VPR Fires 'Vermont Edition' Producer Ric Cengeri," October 11]. In August, all the VPR commentators were shown the back door, including myself. I had been doing garden and farm commentaries for VPR for more than 20 years, along with other long-serving commentators like Willem Lange and Madeleine Kunin.
That time, too, I first read the news of firings before I was informed by VPR — a poor process, indeed.
VPR's commentaries were the heart and soul of the station — the longest-running series of its kind in the U.S. For 31 years, listeners heard about cultural and historical events, stories and opinions from farmers and gardeners, activists, teachers, journalists, poets, novelists, and just ol' woodchucks.
The commentaries were a relief from the incessant hard news and advertisements. Hopefully, VPR will return to the "real" Vermont one day.
More on the Mural
A new stage of Burlington's "Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural debate has emerged in Dan Bolles' story ["American Vandal," October 23] about Eric Maier and October 30 responses to it from Doug Kallen, Albert Petrarca and Robert Devost [Feedback: "Mural Coincidence," "In Defense of Activists" and "'Display of Intolerance'"]. The border between those who want to take down the mural without crime and those, like Petrarca, Maier and apparently Bolles himself, who are willing to tolerate criminal behavior in taking it down, will certainly now be more blurred in the public mind. As a result, there may be even less support for taking it down.
The mural debate has been disappointing because so few have taken up the free speech argument supporting the continued existence of the mural. Now, with the letters of Kallen and Devost, we have strong defenses of free speech, at least against the crime perpetrated by Maier — and by implication against the crime perpetrated by Petrarca.
It is possible, therefore, that by adding to their hatred of the mural the idea that crime is justified in taking it down, Bolles, Maier and Petrarca may have strengthened the already strong free speech case for not taking it down at all.
Norman Arthur Fischer