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Nov. 17 Letters to the Editor

Back mental illness bill

Thanks for the BDN editorial in support of Sen. John Nutting’s bill, LD 1360, which would provide a system, with safeguards for the rights of the individual involved, ensuring that those with serious mental illness get treatment before acting out in criminal ways.

Since persons with schizophrenia regularly have a lack of awareness of their illness (it’s part of the illness itself), they have a right to expect society to protect them from catastrophic actions against themselves or others over which they have little control.

While I fully support patient’s rights to refuse medications in normal situations, I also believe there are brain dysfunctions in severe mental illness that deny that individual the ability to respond as a normal person.

When we realize that the Los Angeles County Jail is the country’s largest psychiatric facility, we know how sick our mental health system is.

Let’s treat before we incarcerate those with mental illness. John Nutting’s bill is a compassionate step in that direction.

James Gill



Gays’ money not spent

In the wake of the Nov. 3 vote, I’m sorry to those couples planning on their same-sex weddings who will now put them off or travel elsewhere to exchange vows.

Even in a recession, people still get married, some more fabulously than others, so I’m also sorry to the businesses that will be losing money as a result of the loss of these weddings: wedding planners, caterers, photographers, jewelers, banquet halls, wedding singers, deejays, bands, karaoke operators, hairdressers, businesses that sell potential wedding gifts both small and large, limo drivers, town offices selling marriage licenses, cake makers, businesses that sell wedding dresses, businesses that rent tuxes, tables, chairs, and tents; party supply stores, ice sculptors, invitation suppliers (post offices), and businesses that sell champagne.

And of course these couples are more likely to buy local, so I’m sorry farmers and fishermen. I’m sorry to the hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, which will lose the business of these couples’ out-of-state family and friends along with the restaurants and fast-food establishments that would have benefited.

Gay money spends the same as straight. Make sure to thank your neighbors who made this economic decision for you and your employees while limiting the civil rights of these couples.

Lois-Ann Kuntz

East Machias


The Israel exception

At the Fort Hood memorial service, President Obama said, “No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving God looks upon them with favor.”

Why didn’t we hear such words when Israel (with American-financed weapons) bombed and killed more than a thousand people in Lebanon in 2006 and more than 1,000 Gaza residents in 2008? Why does the murder of thousands get so much less (corporate) American media coverage than the murders of 13?

Why does the U.S. so staunchly support Israel even as it continues its decades-long, cynical and systematic, theft of Palestinian lands — in the name of God?

When we decide to face these questions unflinchingly, we will know why some Muslims may hate us, and why an aggressive and acquisitive Israel is the biggest (internal and external) threat to America’s safety.

Melodie Greene



Handle with care

For those who are having a tough time responding positively to efforts at health care reform, it might be helpful to remember other occasions which aroused conservatives’ concern. Those would include the struggles for women’s equal rights, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, desegregating schools, equal employment opportunity and for the enactment of occupational health and safety laws.

Our struggle now is to extricate ourselves from ever increasing health care insurance premiums and to free the 47 million of us who can’t afford them. We all stand witness to many of our citizens made vulnerable for lack of assistance in meeting a basic human need.

Some things to consider: Estimates put those without the means to afford health care as increasing at a rate of 1.5 million per year. The number of those unable to afford health care in the U.S. is equivalent to the entire populations of California and Illinois.

Sixty-three percent of American doctors support health care reform; an additional 10 percent support a single-payer plan.

Let’s continue to urge our congressional representatives to help us in waging another struggle for American liberty, that of wresting ourselves free from corporate tyranny by supporting a health care public option. As citizen Tom Paine said, when truth appears, humans see their species “not with an inhuman eye, but as a kindred.” Just now, our kindred need care!

Mary Elizabeth Phillips



Clinic at Wal-Mart

Why all the fuss about the need to “rewrite the whole [health care] bill?” Sen. Collins says “there is considerable unease about the impact of this bill.” In the foggy background of all these professed worries by our legislators is the BDN’s Nov. 10 front page story headlined: “Clinic at Wal-Mart opens.”

Once Wal-Mart has succeeded in its continuous, countrywide campaign to eliminate its retail competitors, it can concentrate its efforts, countrywide, on providing a commensurate quality of health care, as described in the above-mentioned story.

Costs will come zooming down, as its no-nonsense retailing know-how is applied to primary care patients, leaving the relatively small core of tertiary care individuals to be admitted to the reduced numbers of hospitals and specialists which will be needed.

See! The problem can be solved adequately just by waiting patiently until Wal-Mart has worked its magic and costs have been — you should excuse the expression — cut to the bone.

That’s ridiculous? Look at the retailing picture emerging and contemplate more than your navel.

Robert C. Dick


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