September 1, 2013

Letters to the editor: Force won't make Riverview safer

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click image to enlarge

“Staff, training, time and optimism” help establish the kind of ties between patients and caregivers that ensure safety at places like Riverview Psychiatric Center, above, says a former employee of the state psychiatric facility.

2004 Kennebec Journal File Photo/Joe Phelan

Southern courts in cases like Wyatt v. Aderholt (1974) addressed these issues in the 1970s. They reasoned that loss of a person's liberty without "due process" was constitutionally impermissible.

After all, these people were not convicted of any crime -- their loss of liberty must be shown to be necessary. Their disability must be diagnosed; a plan of treatment must be developed; and they must be housed in "least restrictive settings" commensurate with their condition. This reasoning spread quickly across the country.

Mr. Fogg's call for the return of Pineland shows a dangerous level of ignorance. So, too, does his rant against liberals for not fully supporting gun rights but fully supporting deinstitutionalization.

The facts are: Both gun rights and deinstitutionalization are constitutionally protected rights. Both of these rights may be reasonably regulated -- guns annually kill far more people than deinstitutionalized people do.

Mr. Fogg also ignores the fact that the Pinelands of America were disgraceful jungles. Old and young, men and women, dangerous and harmless were kept in overcrowded communal settings where they ate, slept and existed without regard for their dignity or long-term well-being. That's over -- it should be.

Now if we would be safe, we need to adequately fund the community-based mental health care facilities that were an integral part of deinstitutionalization. Are you listening, Mr. Fogg, Mr. LePage?

Orlando E. Delogu


Comics fan not laughing at Sunday section changes

No! Don't do that to our comics section! You are ruining it -- taking all the pleasure out of it. I have been reading the "funnies" all my life; they are important to me. I can't believe the effect, the negative effect of the ghastly changes of the last two Sundays.

If you want to have advertising on the last page, I can accept that. And if you want to add an inner page with new comics lifted from the pages of the daily Press Herald, that is acceptable, too. But please do not mess around with your original layout -- mixing up old and new, reducing sizes, making everything look cheap and horrid.

I can accept letting "Garfield" go -- though I like the mice -- and "Fred Basset" would be no loss. I'll even throw in "Close to Home" (I never liked that). All the other originals should be given the full space they had. They are masterpieces!

As far as I am concerned you can cut all those new ones: "Hagar the Horrible," "Sally Forth," "Hi and Lois," "Frank and Ernest," "Shoe," "The Lockhorns." They are all pathetic. They are all awful.

If you cut all those dreadful new strips (listed above) that you have added, there should be room to add the other new ones (from the daily paper) on the extra page. Those are all excellent. And there should be room to put things back the way they were, and present them again with size and dignity.

Please consider this. No! Rather, please do this, I beg you!

Dahlov Ipcar


Nonviolent approach key to resolving Syrian conflict

Proposals for U.S. military intervention in Syria are a dangerous mistake. 

Do we know that the Syrian government is responsible for gas attacks against Syrian people? Remember "weapons of mass destruction," where evidence was fabricated to justify what the U.S. government wanted to do? 

But even if the Assad regime did release the gas, military intervention will only escalate the violence in the country -- more suffering and more death.

When the nonviolent opposition to Assad turned to armed resistance, the death count shot up astronomically. Almost always, increasing violence doesn't resolve a conflict; it simply accelerates it.

If we want to end the conflict in Syria and enable Syrians to live together in peace, we need to cut off weapons and ammunition supplies from all sources, use nonviolent methods to challenge the conflicts and negotiate to bring the sides together.

I hope all Maine people will speak out against U.S. military intervention and in support of nonviolent conflict resolution.

Larry Dansinger


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