Incident shows everyday threat of gun proliferation

The bizarre behavior of a Maine legislator should be ample evidence that government buildings need to be gun-free zones.

Rep. Frederick Ladd Wintle, R-Garland, was charged Saturday with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit after an incident Saturday in Waterville.

Wintle accused a customer at a doughnut shop of being a drug dealer involved in the death of a child. The man was actually a photographer for the Morning Sentinel newspaper and the two men had never met.

Police say neither man has any connection to the child's death. Fortunately, Wintle didn't pull the trigger and police later arrested him.

The Legislature is currently considering LD 932, which would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun inside the State House.

Proponents have argued that if an angry or unhinged gunman were to open fire on legislators, they could pull their own handguns and quickly kill the person.

Legislators probably never contemplated that the gunman might be one of their own.

We live in one of the safest states in the U.S., a state which has never experienced a mass shooting of any kind.

Suicides and accidents comprise the largest share of gun deaths. The overwhelming majority of hostile shootings involve people who know each other. Spouses shooting spouses. Relatives shooting relatives. Gang members killing rivals.

Wintle's increasingly bizarre behavior had come to the attention of Capitol Police. "There were members of the public and members of the Legislature who were concerned about Representative Wintle's behavior this week," Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin told MaineToday Media.

Gauvin said, however, there was "nothing criminal, nothing outlandish" about Wintle's actions that would have justified a pre-emptive arrest.

Crime rates and gunshot deaths have been plummeting in the U.S. for nearly 15 years.

You wouldn't know it, however, by the intense efforts of firearms makers and the National Rifle Association to stir fear in ordinary Americans.

The NRA magazine, "American Rifleman," is chock full of ads promoting everything from easily concealed handguns to military-style automatic weapons, all supposedly designed for personal safety.

Very little of the advertising is aimed at people who hunt or do target shooting.

Like they say, when you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

As more and more people invest in and carry guns, their frustrating interpersonal problems seem to require gun solutions.

Just Google the two words "man shoots" and see for yourself.

Man shoots skateboarder. Man shoots ex-boss. Man shoots friend. Man shoots doctor, then mom. Man shoots daughter's fiance. Man shoots father at barbecue. Man shoots cousin. Man shoots self outside church. And all of those are from 2011.

Thankfully, this weekend's headline wasn't "Deranged legislator shoots man over imaginary problem."

Carrying a gun for protection in Maine is just plain unnecessary. Allowing them in the State House would be just plain foolish.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the viewsof the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

 's picture

So most people have probably

So most people have probably noticed from this discussion, the problem with Luddites is their insistence on using 18th century solutions to 21st century problems. It's not their fault, they were born with the inability to think.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You're beatin' that word to

You're beatin' that word to death, T...Where'd you get it; off a box of Lucky Charms?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Sorry, but the Pirate only

Sorry, but the Pirate only has so much willpower, Pattie. Notice I didn't even try to blame it on the parrot.
By the way, nice job of getting the "site" back up to speed, Pattie. Good work!!

George Fogg's picture

Let me try again as I lost some words in the previous comment

It is obvious that the editorial writer is unfairly biased against gun ownership, the NRA, their fine publications and the better than half of Mainers who own guns. Not only was this piece biased but they have many facts wrong as well.

To start the man they write about did not have a CCW permit; therefore he was breaking the law. Those who apply for such permits, and pass the very detailed background check, do so to obey the law. There is a vast difference don’t you think? Those who have such permits are extremely careful to obey the laws and go out of their way to abide by them.
It is a fact that an infinitely small percentage of persons with CCW permits ever use them in an unlawful manner.

Secondly the bill LD 932 would only allow those who have permits and have gone through these stringent safeguards to carry in the capitol building. Those who don’t have permits would be barred, but how many has that stopped in the other gun free zones in our country?

It is my opinion that since so many LSJ readers are also gun owners and it appears that the paper is anti gun, then we ought not to support them any longer with a subscription. It also appears to me that reading such editorial garbage is worse for society than carrying a gun as the main reason Maine is so crime free is simply because we own so many guns the bad guys are leery. Therefore it appears that this newspaper wants more crime by outlawing guns.

Bob Woodbury's picture

No CCW?

Semantics. Whether anyone has a CCW or not, if they kill people, they're just as dead. Where's the vast difference now? The pilots who came through Portland, then flew into the World Trade Center, did everything legally leading up to their mass murders. And those safeguards you talk about are not as stringent as you would have us believe. You make it sound like it's a perfect system. Far from it. Your arguments are standing in quicksand and everyone knows it.

Oops! I believe I made a

Oops! I believe I made a mistake Woody. For some reason I didn't realize your comment was in response to George Fogg. I thought your comment was separate in itself and I responded accordingly. I believe you and I are on the same page and you are NOT the one in quicksand along my response was directed "out in space"? It's one of the problems I have when I leave, come back and don't read everything through to the end.

Quicksand Not! I really

Quicksand Not! I really don't see where you're going with your statement Woody. The issue with the Trade Center is almost 10 years old and steps were taken to IMPROVE security. No security is perfect,ever. As in life nothing really is perfect and nothing here is insinuating that, that I read. The main discussion is whether guns are necessary in the State House and the concern for LESS safety. Why be so negative when it comes to concerns for safety? For all we know you may be the one standing in quicksand? I won't go out and say that everyone knows that though! Believe it or not, I think you're in the minority Woody. Hopefully not in just semantics either ...... :)

Bob Woodbury's picture

How you can relate...

...more dangerous weapons as being safer is beyond me. It equates to more chance for more nuts to open up.

With that response I totally

With that response I totally agree Woody!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well stated, George. The

Well stated, George. The anti-gun lobby is alive and well.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

HOOYAAAHHH!!!The Pirate is

HOOYAAAHHH!!!The Pirate is back. Guess I'll have to wake up the parrot; we're back on the high seas of entertainment.

George Fogg's picture

Biased editorial

It is obvious that the editorial writer is unfairly biased against gun ownership, the NRA, their fine publications and the better than half of Mainers who own guns. Not only was this piece biased but they have many facts wrong as well.

To start the man they writes about did not have a CCW permit, therefore he was breaking the law. Those who apply for such permits and pass the very detailed background search do so obeying the law. There is a vast difference don’t you think? Those who have such permits are extremely careful to obey the laws and go out of their way to abide by them.
It is a fact that an infinitely small percentage of persons with CCW permits ever use them in an unlawful manner.

Secondly the bill LD 932 would only allow those who have permits and have gone through these stringent safeguards to carry in the capitol building. Those who don’t have permits would be barred, but how many has the stopped in the other gun free zones in our country?

It is my opinion that since so many LSJ readers are also gun owners and it appears that the paper is anti gun we ought not to support them any longer with a subscription. It also appears to me that reading such editorial garbage is worse for society than carrying a gun as the main reason Maine is so crime is simply because we own so many guns. Therefore it appears that this newspaper wants more crime by outlawing guns.

Biased?

I think you're missing the point of the article. The paper has a concern of allowing concealed weapons in the state house, as I surely do. Right at the beginning it's stated. Are you saying if he had a CCW it would've made a difference? Right! It then goes on to explain what has happened elsewhere to help raise those concerns. At the end it's summed up that everything said, it's not a good idea to have guns in the State House. No where did I read that stated they were anti gun. There's a BIG difference between anti gun and gun control. You're the typical person who, when a discussion involves guns, the NRA, anti gun and more crime is brought up. I'm really surprised you didn't mention your rights. This article was meant for some good reasonable discussion. Yours was not.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Gary writes, "No where did I

Gary writes, "No where did I read that stated they were anti gun".
"Carrying a gun for protection in Maine is just plain unnecessary", would certainly do for openers.

Not in my reasoning. In Maine

Not in my reasoning. In Maine if it was of record that many people, in fact, were using their guns for self defense it would warrant dealing with the issue. No facts, no reason.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

More Mainers are armed than

More Mainers are armed than you think.

Maybe but, what has that

Maybe but, what has that REALLY solved. Show me some facts, in Maine, where that is a benefit to anyone or, to all Mainers. There's over 200 in my town but not all carry. I have no issues with what one has in his/her home, other than it best not be pointed at my property... if you know what I mean. In my "space", where ever I am, that is my concern.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

cowboys

Fueling people's more paranoid instincts is a lucrative endeavor for many companies, organizations and lobbyists. Here in Maine we have always had a common sense attitude towards guns and I hope that will prevail this time. Even the cowboys in the old West had to check their guns at the saloon door after people got tired of having the place shot up.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Except the guy carrying the

Except the guy carrying the derringer in his boot, Claire? 0O:-)

Cowboys

Claire, I've learned that the "old west" logic doesn't fly in discussions regarding guns.
I know it's good old fashion reasoning but reasoning just doesn't cut it with this topic. It's always about "rights" and the extremes people will go to have that "right". Reason and "rights" only start with the same letter but maybe someday ...... all we can do is hope.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Hope as in, "hope for the

Hope as in, "hope for the abolishment of the second amendment"? Fortunately, hope is not a strategy.

Why the word abolishment??

Paul, where do you see the word abolish anywhere in these discussions? Come on. Here comes the 2nd amendment!
Why does the topic always revert back to that? Guns have a place. Paranoia is everywhere. The 2nd amendment will always be there. Take a deep breath!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You're funny....

You're funny....

If you're laughing .... I am

If you're laughing .... I am too! This discussion will never end. Time to get ready for supper.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

This must be the part where

This must be the part where we shake hands and agree to disagree. Enjoy your supper.

Yep! Thanks. Have a great

Yep! Thanks. Have a great day! Pray for the sun!!

Gun Bills

This is a great article to start the morning with a cup of coffee! I share every word. I only hope with good reasoning that it makes the Legislature & Senate
think of what they are asked to vote on. Unfortunately I expect to hear the argument that if there were a law abiding person nearby, that was carrying, they would have diffused the situation pronto. Another argument will be "that's PRECISELY why we need guns in the State House". When the mission is guns everywhere at all costs, how can one use reason, that's what I fear. Great article, took the words right out of my mouth!
Gary David

Jason Theriault's picture

Apples and oranges

Last time I checked, a donut shop is not a government building. The two are not related. And to carry in the state house would require a concealed carry permit, which means a through background check and interviews. It’s not something you pick up at the gun shop or a gun show.

However, I see this law as a bad idea. Now, if it was just for legislators, that would be one thing, but opening it up to ANYONE with a concealed carry permit opens a hole in security. The general public shouldn’t be allowed to be armed in the state house.

Two Fruits

The jest of the article was that the perpetrator was a Legislator that would be directly affected by the bill regarding the State House. One could ask why should just the Legislators and not the public? If the legislator in question was carrying his .22 in the state house the public would want to defend themselves, no?
The legislators can be armed but the public can't. Try passing that by the NRA lobbyists!
A background check and an "interview" doesn't give me, and many others, a safe feeling in that environment.
Guns are NOT needed during debates!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Guns are NOT needed during

"Guns are NOT needed during debates!". Quite true, Gary, but they sure have settled a few.

Only In Times Gone By

The dueling days are gone Paul. We have 21st century problems to deal with now.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Gary, would you REALLY walk

Gary, would you REALLY walk through Boston's Combat Zone unarmed? Why you'd be there in the first place is not important. 0O:-)

Hey, funny you asked. I have,

Hey, funny you asked. I have, many times. Walking or riding, alone and with others, and we never carried any weapons. Back in the 70's & 80's. Things were rough there then, nothing like it is now. Believe what you want but it was one of the safest places in Boston. Police on every corner. I worked downtown Boston and it's suburbs for a number of years and you learned quick where you shouldn't go and where you could. No one I knew ever had a need for a weapon. You see, I was born and raised just north of Boston but been in Maine since 1976. A president once said " you have nothing to fear ... but fear itself". That and some common sense and reasoning prevents you from having to frequently look over your shoulder. I believe in that. People get hung up in things "perceived" and miss out on a lot of things. Now .... why was I there :)
What any able bodied man liked looking at!!! I also passed through on business just to get a glance! A girl named Cheyenne, late 70's or early 80's, was a favorite and she saved enough to go to college and raise a great family. Please don't ask any more questions like that ....I've said enuf !!!!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Cheyenne, eh? Trips from

Cheyenne, eh?
Trips from Lowell to the "Burley" (The Old Howard)in Boston were special treats when we were really too young to get in, but slipping the ticket guy an extra $5 (money worthy of consideration back then) would always get us in and choice seats to boot. And your right, none of us was packing heat in those days, but all of us had a weapon of "self-defense" of one sort or another. Those were the days.

You and I share some awesome

You and I share some awesome times don't we. And, we were neighbors .. Haverhill here. Wasn't the Howard where a politician got in some trouble? I think Chesty Morgan was a regular there and she ended up marrying a MLB umpire. He died of a heart attack...... wonder why??? We ought to have a beer sometime and see if we ever crossed paths? Of course I don't allow weapons tho, careful! Time to wrap up this thread. The suns out and my garden needs planting, have a good one!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Haverhill...I bought my first

Haverhill...I bought my first new car,ever, at Jaffarian Motors in Haverhill. A 1961 Volvo PV544 2-door fastback sedan. Cost me $2800. Back then very few people knew how to tune the twin SU carburetors in those things. They were either 100% right or 100% wrong; there was no middle ground. But, when the carbs were properly synchronized, didn't that baby fly. A beer or two would be fun.

We were into Chevy's & Fords

We were into Chevy's & Fords and I was driving a 54 Plymouth nosed and decked in '61, although one of us bought an Isetta and rolled the damn thing! Multiple carbs and fuel injection were quite the challenge. There was a place in Lawrence that specialized in them if I remember right. Jaffarian's is still around however the original owner passed away last year I think and his wife passed this year. How's sometime in afternoon next week?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Being currently engaged in

Being currently engaged in gainful (but legal) enterprise 5 days a week, 35 weeks a year, (a pirate's gotta eat), a weekday afternoon is not usually possible for me, but I'm certain we can work something out.
My car as a kid was a customized '52 Chevy 2-door hardtop coupe. Had 9 coats of Sierra Gold hand rubbed lacquer, split manifold, duals, '55 Plymouth taillights, lowered 2". Used oil, but looked good. It was more form over function but loved it and it kept me broke. I'd like ten bucks for every time I was chase out of Lawrence; a long story, and yes, it had to do with girls.

Terry Donald's picture

This guy is a poster boy for

This guy is a poster boy for more strict controls on handguns. Let's see, his co-workers even police saw that his behavior had become erratic over a period of weeks, even months? He had been talking about weapons during this "behavior". Even the police were assigned to watch him, orders had been written barring him from at least one office in the state house. A supervisor had attempted to intervene with his wife, even minister? But no where along the way did anyone ask, does this guy have a gun? If someone had any sense up there and had asked this question, would there have been legal recourse to take those weapons away? What if his mental issues were progressive? What if the victim in the incident at Dunkin had just run away, not summoned police? Would the next incident have involved his weapon being fired? Government has a duty to attempt to protect it's citizens from harm.

Jim Cyr's picture

Ignorant reaction!

Mr. Rhoades,we hope you get swamped with letters explaining "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" Do you not understand what "Inalienable Rights" are? Who are you to determine what "Rights" are necessary and which are not? Inalienable are Inalienable!
Tell those people that got mugged in the city park this past year they don't need to protect themselves! Your government controlling view point is "FOOLISH"

 's picture

Perhaps you should return to

Perhaps you should return to school, Mr. Cyr, and learn the difference between 'inalienable' rights and 'constitutional' rights. One is always bestowed by God, the other can be bestowed by idiots.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Ahh...a voice of reason.

Ahh...a voice of reason.

The "Rights"

WHEN will you people stop hiding behind that? That "right" is not absolute. The "right" was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. Get used to it. Get caught up on the Supreme Court.

PAUL MATTSON's picture

IGNORANT HEADLINE

With record gun sales and permits to carry issued, the FBI reported just yesterday violent crime is at a 40 year low! That is a fact not a politically motivated rant.

IGNORANT ??

Your comment has no relevance to this discussion, whatsoever. Try using some good reasoning.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Mr. Mattson's comment has no

Mr. Mattson's comment has no relevance to this discussion, whatsoever, because YOU happen to disagree with it. You, Mr. David, have just lost your credibility on the subject.

I might have lost "It" but here's more for general principle

When it comes to trying to have a conversation regarding gun and gun controls I'm concerned with what is best for us here in Maine. Stating facts that are on a national average and facts that pertain to other states does not mean they have to apply here, and usually don't. It's not that I don't care what happens in other states, I do. Lets take care of us at home here first and foremost

Paul, my comments are

Paul, my comments are regarding Maine and the issue in Waterville. I stand by my credibility.

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