December 16, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Getting smart on beauty

A little over two years ago, I learned that the personal care products I was using on myself and my family weren’t regulated by our government. I have always been a health-conscious consumer. I eat organic and use less toxic cleaning products, and I thought I was using safe personal care products.

I was wrong.

Currently, the United States bans only 30 ingredients from our personal care products, as opposed to the European Union, which bans over 1,300. Under current regulations, our government does not have the power to recall products, and companies have no requirement to label the ingredients used in their products.

As consumers, we are unable to make informed decisions without companies providing us with the necessary information.

In 2015, I joined Beautycounter, a company founded by a UVM graduate that is devoted to educating consumers on choosing safer personal care products. Our mission is to help get safer products into the hands of everyone. We use the power of education and advocacy to move our mission forward.

I was proud to go to Washington, D.C., last week to add my voice as an advocate for the Personal Care Product Safety Act (PCPSA). We were there asking members of Congress to support the PCPSA by signing on as co-sponsors.

This act would require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients they use and register with the Food and Drug Administration annually.

Under current regulation, we are the guinea pigs, and in my opinion, we all deserve better.

Gillian Smart


Armed schools are safer schools

In a recent report by Vermont Digger about a man accused of plotting a shooting at Fair Haven Union High School, we get a rare glimpse into the mind of a potential school shooter.

“His first target, though, Sawyer told the detective, would have been the school resource officer, Scott Alkinburgh,” the article states. “Sawyer said he would have taken out Alkinburgh first because he was the only person at the school who could possibly have stopped him.”

Here you see how someone with evil intent understands that an armed presence is the only way his attack will be thwarted, that locations with only one armed person are still desirable targets and that until a single armed responder arrives, the targeting of defenseless victims would be easy, quick and unhindered.

Those who target schoolchildren often contemplate their actions for years. They are not crazy and unpredictable. They are methodical, calculating and very predictable. Therefore, their actions are very preventable.

The absolute refusal of the anti-gun mentality to even consider providing more security to our children is incomprehensible.

Gun-free zones are a guarantee to a killer that there will be absolutely no armed resistance. For the would-be Fair Haven shooter, having only one armed guard would not have prevented him from attempting to murder children.

We can address this by protecting our schools with more than one armed person. Having multiple armed faculty would add a layer of uncertainty for an attacker and allow a multiplication of force in defense against an attack. This would also be a great deterrent against future shootings.

Politicians refute this idea with the rhetoric that “more guns aren’t the answer … guns don’t make us safe … teachers shouldn’t have to carry a gun … teachers could shoot a child by mistake … guns in the classroom create tension and stress … even police trained in the use of firearms only have a 13 percent hit ratio.”

The anti-gun mentality uses every excuse to deny our children actual security.

Universal background checks won’t stop a killer. Raising the legal age to buy a firearm won’t stop a killer. Getting a restraining order won’t stop a killer. Locking up your guns won’t stop a killer. Mandatory training courses won’t stop a killer. Raising penalties and fines won’t stop a killer. Active shooter drills won’t stop a killer. Putting up a sign that says “No Firearms Permitted” won’t stop a killer.

Passing 100 new laws will not stop a killer. The anti-gun politicians know this.

If we could save just one child’s life by arming a staff member, it would be worth it.

Bob DePino

Gun Owners of Vermont

Vice president

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