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Your view: Letters to the editor

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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:05 am

Help keep Brodie’s killer in prison

To the editor:

It was the fall of 1992. Beth Brodie, a beautiful young girl, had just made the varsity cheerleading squad of which I was one of the captains.

One day after practice, we did what we had done so many times before. We piled into my car and drove around laughing and singing. This is indelibly etched in my mind as the last time I was to hear Beth talk, laugh, or share her joy. I can still see her smiling face in my rear view mirror.

The next day Beth was murdered. Her killer was at a mutual friend’s house, angry that Beth did not want to date him. He convinced his friend to bring Beth back to his house so they could talk. Richard Baldwin waited and soon his friend and Beth arrived. Beth went upstairs to tell her friend that Baldwin threatened to kill her. Baldwin then appeared in the doorway with a bat. He asked if she was afraid and said, “I always wanted to be a baseball player.” He then bludgeoned her with a baseball bat.

Baldwin was sentenced to life without parole due to the “deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty” of his crime.

Beth’s family found out this Christmas Eve that the Supreme Judicial Court had struck down life sentences without parole for juveniles. According to the court, it is cruel to sentence a youth to lifelong imprisonment because their brains were not fully developed when they committed their crimes. The ruling is retroactive therefore Baldwin will now be eligible for parole after serving 21 years.

At 16, he was able to lure Beth to him, ask if she was afraid, and strike her several times with a baseball bat as she tried to block each blow. Juveniles’ brains may not be fully developed but I am willing to bet that the majority of juveniles, if asked, would know that bludgeoning someone to death with a bat is not acceptable behavior.

Baldwin will soon be in front of the parole board, eligible to walk the streets. What about the victim? Their family? Justice? I only hope this ruling can be overturned. Please visit justiceforbethbrodie.weebly.com to learn how you can help.

Kristin (Guerrette) Beauparlant

Newburyport

Wealthy pols lose touch with reality

To the editor:

As members of the U.S. Senate stalled and proposed foolish add-on proposals to the emergency unemployment benefits bill, a financial fact was released. While 1.5 million people on Dec. 28 were cut off from the unemployment program, it was announced that in both houses, 435 in the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate, 268 of them are millionaires.

The average unemployment check will be just under $256 per week. The base salary for congressional members is $174,000 per year.

Of the 268 members who are millionaires, most are multi-millionaires.

Last Friday just before the final vote, the Republicans began to stall, feigning outrage that they needed more amendments to balance the bill. The Senate Chamber became a second-rate, summer-stock playhouse. Working men and women laid off through no fault of their own are being made pawns in a bitter game of partisanship while 1.5 million families suffer painful outcomes.

I promise not one member of Congress will have their heat shut off nor will anyone of them be evicted. Their cupboards will be full. Can we say the same for the unemployed workers?

When some are so well off that they lose sight of what real problems are, it’s time for them to go.

Robert Burdin

Methuen

Obama’s scandals are more serious

To the editor:

I usually read these letters and try to see the author’s point of view. However this recent letter from Dante Ippolito of Hingham has really upset me! There is constant discrediting by both sides of the aisle all the time so please stop saying it is the Republicans bullying. Mr. Ippolito has tried to compare various national scandals to lanes on the highway being closed.

Mr. Ippolito is also saying that it is not in the president’s purview when a U.S. consulate is under attack! I would beg to differ, if this situation is not in the president’s purview, then I would assume that someone might have told him rather quickly that we were under attack. So please enlighten me how four men dying at the consulate compares to a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

Mr. Ippolito’s next point was that “Bridgegate” was perpetrated to gain favor with the boss. I would tend to agree. However, one would have to use the same logic and reasoning in regards to the IRS’ targeting conservative groups, or the NSA’s tapping foreign heads of state and the American public.

And lastly, Mr. Ippolito has gone back to the liberal standard of blaming President Bush. Mr. Ippolito has stated that President Bush kept feeding lies to Congress in order to get authorization for war against Iraq. Well, what did President Obama do to get his Affordable Care Act passed? He fed the people lies and half-truths in order to gain favor and get his bill passed. And now that it is the law of the land, the president is issuing waivers left and right to his special interests. So, I ask is this a fair application of justice?

According to Mr. Dershowitz, could President Obama face criminal prosecution if it is found that anyone was harmed because of his actions?

Eamonn Bradley

Haverhill

Time to finish the War on Poverty

To the editor:

Fifty years ago this month, President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty.” We should all be thankful he did.

As a result of the War on Poverty, between 1959 and 1975, the U.S. poverty rate was cut in half (from 22 percent to 11 percent) and has remained well below 20 percent ever since. The programs it created continue to make a difference to this day. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) lifted 5 million people out of poverty in 2012. Head Start is still helping low-income children succeed in school. Medicaid provides health care to children and families who cannot afford to go to the doctor.

I am therefore saddened by elected officials who denigrate the War on Poverty and declare it a failure. The fact that poverty is still a serious problem in America is not a failure of the War on Poverty but of politicians who have abandoned the fight.

As Americans, we should be proud that our leaders took a stand 50 years ago and said “No more!” to poverty in America. We must follow their lead by building and improving on the success of the War on Poverty. It’s high time we finished the job that President Johnson started.

Bill Deignan

Tewksbury

 


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