Letters to the editor

In 2011, our readers weighed in

“Whitey’’ Bulger

Many of the following letters have been abridged from their original length. Original publication dates are given in parentheses.

TO PASS off the tragedy in Tucson [in which US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was wounded and six others were killed] as an anomaly is to do injustice to all those killed in this and other shootings. We have given an almost religious meaning to a document designed to solve, put aside, or assuage the concerns existing in late 18th-century America. Its authors could not possibly have foreseen America as it exists now. Some of the concerns of our so-called Founding Fathers need be reexamined. It is time to expunge the right to bear arms from our Constitution. (Jan. 18)

Richard D. Gilman

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this letter incorrectly included US Representative Gabrielle Giffords among those killed in Tucson on Jan. 8. She survived the shooting.



THE UPRISING in Egypt paints a picture of what might have transpired in Iraq had the United States not invaded in 2003. The ouster of President Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt and oppressive rule will come about by force of popular unrest, rather than by means of violent overthrow by a foreign power, as occurred in Iraq with Saddam Hussein. In this regard, Egypt represents an organic process, driven from within, not handed down by an imperial power. Given time, Hussein’s government may well have met the same fate. Eventually, the people refuse to put up with any more, and regime change occurs in the way that it should. (Feb. 5)

Fred Hewett


I WAS not surprised by your front-page story about Scott Brown’s childhood sexual abuse. I am 85, but when I was 17, my boyfriend told me he had been abused sexually by his summer camp scoutmaster. These things do not change much with time, do they? (Feb. 22)

Nancy Ann Holtz


WAS YOUR Globe missing on Saturday morning? Did you secretly suspect your neighbor or blame it on a delivery problem? I was driving through North Scituate around 6:30 a.m. when a coyote ran across Country Way. In his mouth was a newspaper still in the yellow plastic bag. After crossing the road, he stopped, turned in my direction, decided I was no immediate threat, and continued on his merry way into the brush. I would love to know what he did with the paper. (April 5)

Ron Robertson


IN WEDNESDAY’S seemingly hastily prepared speech on the deficit and his “vision’’ for fixing it, Barack Obama made the assertion that most rich folks “want’’ to be taxed more. I have a timely experiment to recommend. We are coming up on the April 18 tax-filing deadline. Why not ask the “wealthy’’ to voluntarily pay more taxes this year in an effort to pay down the debt? Obama could promise that all such receipts would be used for this purpose, and within a few months we’d have some real data as to the beneficence of the rich and their openness to paying higher taxes. (April 15)

Ron Berti


A READER commented about the celebrations over Osama bin Laden’s death, and wrote that “no one person’s life is worth more than others.’’ I understand the principles that such a statement is based upon. But, let’s consider: For example, Mother Teresa’s life is not worth more than Hitler’s? Someone who saved thousands isn’t worth more than someone who killed millions? Anyone who might see a moral equivalence in those two lives wouldn’t be able to understand the celebration of the death of bin Laden. (May 8)

Sumner Blount


GAME 7 of the Eastern Conference finals was the model that the National Hockey League should use for how the game of hockey should be played. There were no fights, no late hits, no behind-the-play slashes to the ankles - in fact, no penalties at all. There was no need. It was physical, as the game should be, but in the end the amazing skill of these athletes was the story. Both teams were nearly flawless, and the deciding play that put the Boston Bruinson top was nothing less than perfect execution. Bravo to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Bruins for showing how it should be done. (June 1)

Dan Lech


I FOUND comfort in considering the last three digits of the total amount of cash - $822,198 — that James “Whitey’’ Bulger had stashed away. Those bills just had to be a fiver and three singles, indicating that he was still, at heart, despite that quick trigger finger, just a regular dude from Southie. (June 29)

Mark N. Angney


I’M OPTIMISTIC about the American people. I feel confident that if, instead of candidates, our next presidential ballot had just two entries — ignorance and knowledge — knowledge would get 50.1 percent of the vote. (Aug. 18)

Merrill Kaitz


IN A front-page article Noah Bierman writes, “The financial success of Pennsylvania’s casinos was built on the ambitious scope of the effort and the rich profitability of the industry, but also on a foundation of cronyism, patronage, and back-room deals.’’ That could never happen in Massachusetts. (Sept. 30)

Daniel N. Carney


FOR BOSTON sports fans of a certain age who watched the unimaginable Red Sox collapse that culminated in a 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, I can only give you these words from the movie “Lawrence of Arabia’’: It was written. (Sept. 30)

Mark Brady


IN THE wake of Steve Jobs’s death, I whipped out my new iPod, and couldn’t help but notice the bite mark on the trademark. It made me think of the Bible, and another apple we are all too familiar with. I was tempted, as it were, to consider three similarities between that apple and Apple. First, they both could be considered divine gifts, presumed to contain the knowledge of good and evil, and not to be taken, or eaten, lightly; second, both are suspected of possessing unimaginable powers capable of providing immortality and making gods out of mere mortals. Finally, and perhaps most interesting: Have you ever noticed how technology, in general, has separated us all from one another, as maybe even from God himself, and in ways we could never have imagined? (Oct. 9)

Joe Prussing


REGARDING THE bankruptcy filing of Filene’s Basement: I will be in mourning over the closing of this legendary store - wearing a still-fabulous black Prada dress purchased at 75 percent off in “The Vault.’’ (Nov. 5)

Maria Galvagna Mesinger


IN A week in which electronic media focused on society’s need to know about the Kim Kardashian divorce, it was gratifying and inspiring to read the Globe Spotlight Team’s work on OUI acquittals in Massachusetts. It is a terrifying topic, and the reporting and writing were gripping. It left me imagining what journalism could be if the litmus test for researching, writing, and publishing stories was: How many lives can we save with this? (Nov. 6)

Michelle Deininger


EDMUND BURKE said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’’ Whether ousted Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, an educated man in his own right, was familiar with the writings of Burke, I cannot say. But in light of the sex abuse scandal surrounding the school over charges facing a former assistant coach, it seems that such knowledge would have served Paterno well. Once you are aware of a possible crime, you can’t become unaware. I hope that other coaches, administrators, and leaders who are facing a similar situation - a test that Paterno has failed - take heed. (Nov. 12)

Norman L. Bender


IT’S ALL very well to charge the Occupy Wall Street movement with ineffectiveness because of lack of focused leadership and goals. But look what it has accomplished in a scant two months. The staggering and hitherto largely unmentionable issues of economic injustice and social inequality have been discussed prominently in every media outlet. A lot of dedicated campers in cold and flimsy tents have forced acknowledgment of the often disastrous implications of our current economic structures. The echoes have resounded across the nation and around the globe. If that isn’t “really mattering,’’ what is? (Nov. 21)

Marjorie Harvey


A SIMPLE solution to solve two problems at once: The 12 members of the supercommittee who failed us all should be bounced from Congress. Replace them with 12 more so-called congressional leaders, and give them another month. If they fail, fire them. Repeat until we get a solution, or a totally new Congress. Either way, the rest of us win. (Nov. 24)

Robert Schick
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