Primary elections are a yay! Not a yawn

To the editor:

Tuesday, Aug. 14 is primary election day in Connecticut for both Democratic and Republican parties.

Wait! Before you turn the page, consider why the primaries are important. Rather than a minor triviality, it is actually one of the most important stages in the election process. Why? Well, for one thing, primary campaigns are a key way voters get to know the candidates. Both state parties hold conventions and endorse one candidate for a position, true. But during the primary campaigns, the voters get to know actual possible candidates — what they stand for, what they hold important, what they will do should they get into office. And then the voters get to decide who will actually carry that party’s standard into battle, party endorsement or not.

Even if a primary candidate loses the party primary, depending on what kind of strength he or she shows in the election can influence how what he or she holds as important shapes the party’s final platform — for that particular office and for the party as a whole.

And here’s the kicker. Primaries give Connecticut voters an additional way to take part in choosing who will lead our state. Why give that up to anyone else?

The League of Women Voters encourages voters who chose to affiliate with the Republican or the Democratic party to exercise their rights and their responsibilities by voting on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are not registered, you can do so at the Registrar of Voters office (611 Old Post Road) or directly with the Secretary of the State’s office through the website (and others, as well). Those who have never registered before, have until Aug. 9 (or online at the Secretary of the State’s website, until midnight on Aug. 9). And if you are unaffiliated but feel strongly about the candidates in one of those parties, there’s still time beyond that. If those voters show up in person at the Registrar of Voters office, they have up to Aug. 13 at noon to affiliate with one of them. All it takes is a few minutes, but get there before noon — that’s the deadline.

And flash! for younger voters who are 17 but will turn 18 on or before Election Day on Nov. 18: You can register now and vote in the primary election (if you affiliate with either the Democratic or Republican Party).

Going to be away on Aug. 14? You can pick up an absentee ballot application now at the Town Clerk’s office (611 Old Post Road) or check for a direct link to online absentee ballot applications. Don’t hesitate!

Margaret Mary Fitzgerald

Bryce Perry

League of Women Voters of Fairfield

Goliath of the mental illness lobby makes the gun lobby look like David

To the editor:

The op-ed entitled “I Tried to Befriend Nicholas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends” should be must-reading for anyone who has watched the mental illness industry push “say hello” on high school students as some kind of solution to one day preventing one of their troubled peers from turning a gun on them.

The op-ed, which appeared in the New York Times on March 27 of this year, was written by a high school senior who survived the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, carried out by Cruz, by hiding in a dark closet.

She was 12 years old when the troubled Cruz first assaulted her with an apple. She goes on to say, “A year after I was assaulted by Mr. Cruz, I was assigned to tutor him through my school’s peer counseling program. Being a peer counselor was the first real responsibility I had ever had, my first glimpse of adulthood, and I took it very seriously. Despite my discomfort, I sat down with him, alone. I was forced to endure his cursing me out and ogling my chest until the hourlong session ended. When I was done, I felt a surge of pride for having organized his binder and helped him with his homework.”

She later begins her very informed conclusion: “No amount of kindness or compassion alone would have changed the person that Nikolas Cruz is and was, or the horrendous actions he perpetrated. That is a weak excuse for the failures of our school system, our government and our gun laws. ... And I demand that the adults in her (my sister’s) life protect her.”

I would add that “say hello” is just another example of the mental illness industry diverting attention from its own failure to recognize that it needs to heal itself of its own shortcomings. If it is ever going to help in reducing gun violence, the mental illness industry needs to take at look at its own involvement in creating monsters like Cruz.

The Goliath of the mental illness lobby makes the gun lobby look like David.

It is just to bad that right now the mental illness lobby also has Connecticut Sens. Murphy and Blumenthal, who like to portray themselves as Davids slaying the gun lobby, in its back pocket.

Better mental health programs will help stop gun violence. More bad practitioners, bad ideas and bad practices won’t.

Jim Brown


Distracted drivers driving blind

To the editor:

Distracted drivers and the need for experience, nowadays, is as ordinary as driving is necessary. For all that one need do to observe such occurrences is stand to the side of what was once Fairfield’s downtown movie theater and watch as drivers tune-in to their devices as they await a change in the stop and go traffic at the intersection the theater, banks and library.

I need only watch my grandchildren communicate, face to face, with their iPhone to appreciate how malignant the habit is. In my view, there is no relenting. The device is in one or both hands, and the fixation is the dominant factor.

Driving and texting or simply following and reading is an unreliable way of remaining alert to the traffic, moving or not.

Now, I am not revealing anything that the driving public does not already know. As inadvisable as it is to drink and drive, it is equally inadvisable to drive with a blindfold, or as if some mental guru is given charge of the drive wheel, the accelerator and the brakes (which is likely to happen all too soon. Horrors!).

I have a lady-friend who has given voice to her experiences behind the wheel, spending much too much but necessary time avoiding instances of poor and dangerous driving, often, blind.

As much as traffic stops, warnings and tickets for breaking the law while driving blind may be useful in raising awareness for those who insist on driving blind, the perfect solution would be that drivers would follow the law; but, as we know from personal experience, that caution is more often thrown to the wind than not, it may very well be.

Best to pull the licenses for those who break the law, one month at a time. Only then, bitter over thinking how unfair it is that their driver’s license was pulled, may, of a sudden, realize that losing one’s license is not worth the price, at least, not until the next time when whoever must simply answer that phone just to take that call, adjudicated more important than life its self.

Gerard Coulombe




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