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I could agree with Nick Magrino’s essay, “Hard Facts About Drugs: We Must Face Mental Illness” (Opnition Exchange, October 1).
Magrino rightly points out our disregard and hypocrisy towards drug addicts and the homeless. “Chronically homeless people are dying on the streets, in parks, and on trains,” he wrote. He goes on to say that the next five years of articles quoting nonprofit executives vaguely hinting at “connecting” the homeless to “services” won’t help the homeless. “Deaf,” he said with justly harsh slurs. – It’s tempting for middle-class suburbanites to deliver goods to strange neighborhoods, but it doesn’t work. ”
Decades ago, the streets of the Twin Cities weren’t filled with people begging on the streets. Our neighborhood, like the Phillips neighborhood where I once lived, was not affected by the rise of Hoovervilles (there is no other word for it). We had a functioning system of state hospitals that provided housing to people with schizophrenia who could not eat or shelter themselves.
This abandonment of the helpless began during the Reagan administration, when federal and state hospitals were closed down using the ridiculous excuse that new drugs would make mental illness “manageable.” The rise in homelessness in the United States was a choice by elected officials and those of us who elected them to turn our backs on people in crisis. The homelessness and drug use epidemics didn’t just happen. It was caused by decisions to withhold care from those in need. Well-housed and fed, we participated in that decision, consciously or not.
It has been said that a society should be judged by how it cares for its poorest and most powerless people. I believe that today’s massacre of the poor, addicts, and homeless will be judged as a crime against humanity.
William J. Steger, St. Paul
Although I have some disagreements with Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty’s philosophy of justice for young offenders, I will acknowledge the fact that she is doing what she promised (“Sentencing is for victims”). “Shocking family” (October 1). But sharing how she came to adopt her philosophy could greatly help her cause. Or the reporter could have led her down that path with her one or two questions.
Specifically: Is there any evidence that her approach (i.e., less harsh sentences) is more effective? Are there any scientific studies showing that recidivism is reduced as a result of her beliefs? In fact, I believe that her approach I quite like the concept of , but I’m also very skeptical, especially about just a bunch of “I think”s that back up her beliefs. The families of the victims deserve to see more science brought to the table. In fact, we all You could be the next victim of a repeat offender on probation.
James Gels, Minnetonka
There’s no shortage of encouragement for suburbanites like me to come back and spend time in downtown Minneapolis. You know what brings me back? bench. A lot of them. I have a disability so I have to sit down sometimes. I’m scared to go there. I’m not afraid of crime. I’m scared of being stranded with nowhere to sit. It’s a disability access issue!
Nancy Wicklund Gonzalez, St. Anthony
David Johnson recommends that “how the University of Minnesota can contribute to improving the health of all Minnesotans should be at the top of that list” (“The task force The focus should be on health, not on health,” Opinion Exchange, October 2).
Providing routine to complex care is already performed by thousands of health care professionals, many of whom are educated at the University of Minnesota. It is often forgotten that the remarkable improvements in the health of Minnesotans are largely due to academic innovations produced in the United States. This ranges from everyday things like the effects of dietary cholesterol on health, to the everyday use of cardiac pacemakers, to the amazing feat of kidney and heart transplants.
University health system facilities are overwhelmed with providing care to so many people in need. The need for more places to provide this care, the need for housing, and the issue of inflation are sociological issues that politicians must address. These are problems that medicine cannot control.
If the university’s medical campus cannot expand, all of its missions, including research and critical care patient care, will be at a standstill.
Mr Johnson hopes his new ‘national health payment model’ will become a magical health and cost panacea. This ignores the cost control failures of the past 50 years that have created insidious measures to ration health care and inflate health costs instead of promoting health.
In contrast, academic research has helped save millions of lives. Not funding the expansion of America’s medical campuses means we will miss out on the academic innovation needed to create millions more healthy patients.
Robert W. Geist, North Oaks
David French’s commentary, “Land of the Lonely, Home of the Friendless” (Opinion Exchange, October 1) seems helpful, but it only provides half the equation for nurturing relationships. Being there for your friends is very important. Another part of the equation is reaching out. Historically, women are much better at reaching out and maintaining relationships than men. Men tend to be passive for a variety of reasons. Part of the reason is that it’s unmanly to reach out for help or comfort. Trying to guess what the other person wants, needs, or would benefit from is a cumbersome process that makes it difficult to proactively reach out and offer support. So my hope is that people can get in touch with their friends when it helps them.
Both parties play an active role in nurturing the relationship. And women seem to be better at this.
Bruce Hermansen, Apple Valley
As someone who is interested in war, politics, and society on a daily basis, there are articles that sometimes make me laugh, remind me of memories, or give me relief. That was the Sunday newspaper column by James Lileks. subject? “My coffee may be weak, but…well, I can’t help it.”
I remembered a time a long time ago when my sister invited her in-laws, who were visiting relatives from a Scandinavian country (I can’t remember which country). She had been told that she likes their coffee very strong, so she bought the strongest ground coffee she could find. When her relatives sat down, she asked if they wanted coffee. “That’s great, please!” they replied. When I looked up after taking my first sip, everyone was sitting at the table in her dining room. The only person who spoke English said, “Can I have instant coffee for her?” Confused, she said and placed it on the table. Visitors took a spoonful of instant coffee and added it to their coffee. What Lilek says is absolutely correct.
Jerry Jacobson, Woodbury