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Transgender column
is off base

To the Bulletin:

I am writing in response to the guest column featured in last week’s paper. It was given such prominence on the commentary page, and was signed by so many people, I felt the need to respond.

I reread the article “Gender Change and a Family’s Undoing” (Page 1, Dec. 7) thinking maybe I got this wrong — maybe the Bulletin wasn’t careful enough in it’s review of the memoir published recently by a local woman.

I looked again but couldn’t find any ‘hate speech’ — all I found was hurt. I felt sad for each member of their broken family. I was moved by the courage Ms. Benvenuto showed in agreeing to talk about her story to her local paper.

In rereading Cerullo and Goodman’s column, it seems that they are upset with Ms. Benvenuto, rather than the author of the article, Steve Pfarrer, but they don’t articulate this distinction. I can’t help feeling that Cerullo and Goodman, and all those who signed their column, aren’t helping in the advancement of trans people’s rights by criticizing the Bulletin.

Lea Douville


Think reuse, reduce
this holiday season

To the Bulletin:

The holiday season is upon us when we spend time with loved ones, share meals and generate copious amounts of trash. Americans generate around one million tons (that’s right!) of trash PER week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Local landfills are closing due to full capacity, making it even more important to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Check out the following ideas.

REDUCE: Reduce packaging by wrapping gifts in newspaper or colorful fabric, a piece of clothing or reusable cloth bags. Give gift certificates of your time and service such as baby-sitting or a home-cooked meal. When shopping, avoid buying items with unnecessary or unrecyclable packaging.

REUSE: Limit new stuff from entering the system by re-gifting items, giving re-conditioned items and shopping at antique and thrift stores. Use popcorn or newspaper as packing materials. Holiday cards can be reused to create a new look and wrapping paper can be used again next year.

RECYCLE: Go to the town website,, for instructions on recycling of holiday-related items.

Did you know that non-metallic wrapping paper is recyclable? Best Buy and Staples accept old electronics to be recycled (even if not purchased there). Most residential trash haulers operate curbside Christmas tree pick-ups (real trees only) for their clients. Amherst Trucking and Duseau Trucking’s tree pick up is on Friday Jan. 11 (snow date 1/18/13). Call your hauler for program details. Amherst and Pelham residents may also take bare trees (real trees only) to the Amherst Transfer Station for processing (no sticker required). For more tree info visit:

Together, we can give a gift to the planet by reducing our carbon foot-print.

Brenda Kennedy Davies


Brenda Kennedy Davies is a member of the town of Amherst Recycling and Refuse Management Committee.

Action should follow
grief in shooting

To the Bulletin:

I, like many across the country and in the international community, am stunned and saddened by the murders of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. As news of the incident continued to unfold through the day, the enormity of the tragedy grew worse. President Obama spoke for the country when he said that, “Our hearts are broken.”

I do not have words to explain what the parents must be feeling at the senseless loss of their children and loved ones’ lives. But as a husband and a father I feel an emotional connection to the families in Newtown. Their loved ones’ lost hopes and dreams are a loss for us all.

In the coming days and weeks many people will come forward with theories and suggestions about how to avoid the next horrific incident. I am obviously not an expert but there are a few things that are clear to me.

The first is that there are too many guns in America and they are too easily obtained. Being able to purchase weapons at gun shows, etc., without a background check is nonsense and should not be allowed. Private citizens don’t need to own large capacity assault weapons. Who are we kidding? Politicians need to step up and be counted in the discussion of a fair and reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Second. Our country needs to focus more resources on mental-health services. As the world becomes more complex...technically, politically, and socially...mental health services need to have the resources to recognize, treat and counsel people most in need.

Finally we should understand that Newtown is our town, too. Keep the people of Newtown in your thoughts and in your heart.

Jose Tolson


Support laws to ban
assault weapons

To the Bulletin:

Like millions of others, I too am speechless, dazed with heartbreak since the massacre at Sandy Hook. I attended several vigils since last Friday.

We’re all heartbroken. President Obama, a father, was clearly stricken with empathetic grief; his statements were beautiful and heartfelt. But will he lead on the “meaningful action” he called for? How many innocent lives have already been taken by gun violence? Who loves their assault weapons more than their own children? If now isn’t the time to demand sane gun policy, then when? Or shall we wait until after the next massacre? Mass shootings, along with the less dramatic yet steady flow of single homicides will continue, until we ban easy access to these armaments.

The dead on Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. were victims of WAR.

When our American forefathers acted to ensure “a well-regulated militia,” they never could have imagined these mass shootings of innocents in the name of Second Amendment “freedoms.” It would have horrified, enraged and revolted them. How can we continue to tolerate the worship of guns over the lives of our friends, neighbors, and children?

Teachers were brave enough to give their lives to try to protect other people’s children. Will politicians be brave enough to protect us from the NRA? The NRA and the gun culture are a cancer on law enforcement, and a cancer on the country.

No civilian should have access to any automatic, high-speed, high-kill weaponry. If we do not act, keep your mourning clothes on; we’ll meet soon enough, at the next vigil.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is bringing legislation to ban assault weapons on Day One of the new Congress. Let’s stand with her, and pressure others in Congress to work for sane gun regulation. It’s no longer enough to cry, light candles, or pray. The greatest tragedy of all would be to avoid our responsibility to our communities. Words of comfort, from high or low, will be meaningless without unified action. I’m in; are you?

Dinah Kudatsky


Sen. Scott Brown
is NRA benefactor

To the Bulletin:

We all know that the National Rifle Association is a huge supporter of easy access to assault weapons, capable of killing large numbers of Americans quickly and efficiently. What some may not know is that these “machine guns” were banned for 10 years during the Clinton era. The Republicans refused to extend that ban in 2004, and made these weapons available to anyone looking to commit mass murder.

Please read the list of the top 20 recipients of NRA contributions in 2012. Former Gov. Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner top the list, no surprise there. But what we need to know is that Sen. Scott Brown was at No. 8 on the list, receiving more NRA money than Michelle Bachman.

Thanks to the wise people of Massachussetts, Brown was fired from his taxpayer-funded job. Still, it is painful to know that we walk among people who supported Brown — and easy access to legal assault weapons.

Nancy Kinney


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