Dial 2-1-1 to get connected with local services

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have concerns about the panhandlers we have in the cities. Do our community agencies offer any help to these people? Are they ever referred to where they can get help? It seems we have enough community agencies that could offer some assistance. — No name, no town.

ANSWER: There have been people around Lewiston and Auburn standing at intersections with various signs asking for money. It’s impossible to know each individual’s circumstance, whether they are new in town or already receiving services, but if you are able to offer them some advice, you can tell them that anyone can dial 2-1-1 to get access to whatever local service they may need. The state of Maine, The Opportunity Alliance and Maine’s United Ways partnered to provide this toll-free helpline. Whether they need food, shelter, mental health assistance, substance abuse detox or counseling, dialing this number will get them connected with someone who can offer help.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Why don’t police aim at the legs to disable rather than kill? — No name, Waterford.

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ANSWER: An article on abcnews.com (tinyurl.com/hvml39c) quotes David Klinger, a professor of criminology and criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, saying that “shooting to injure or maim someone wouldn’t stop an aggressive subject, and officers are trying to stop the threat to their life, or the life of their partner or a citizen.” He adds that, “If someone’s life is in jeopardy, shooting to maim or injure will have little effect on the actions of the individual who is trying to kill.” Klinger added that if an officer aims at anything other than the torso area, the odds that they will miss increase greatly.

Another article on forcescience.org (tinyurl.com/kmaqp9v) says that a suspect can move their lower arms and hands faster than an officer can react and pull a trigger, let alone aim and hit the intended moving target. The upper arm is full of spots that if hit could cause the suspect to bleed out in minutes. Legs have a lot of spots that if hit could do the same thing. Often when an officer hits an upper arm or leg, it can still result in a fatality. And if a suspect intends to kill, shooting them in the leg won’t take the gun out their hands and stop them from shooting back.

That said, there are a lot of variables in every situation. These are just the reasons and facts behind why police officers are not trained to “aim to wound.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I recently read a request in Sun Spots for unwanted wedding gowns. They were being used to make attire for little angels on their way to heaven. Could anyone who has the contact for this subject please forward the information to gailz007@aol.com. — Gail, no town.

ANSWER: The NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown® Program takes donated wedding dresses and refashions them into burial gowns for infants. It is a national program but they can be requested at any hospital. For more information about donating your gown, contact angelgown@nicuhelpinghands.org.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com, tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.

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