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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Parenting is a non-issue regarding mental illness

Michael Ramirez, a conservative political cartoonist, typically likes to use his talents to criticize any policy or idea that leans even slightly to the left. However, his cartoon reprinted in The News on Jan. 17 presents an interesting dichotomy within his own political philosophy.

He simplifies the dilemma of gun violence, brought to the forefront of the national psyche with the Tucson shootings, into a problem of parenting versus the availability of guns. I can certainly agree that better parenting across the nation will lower the incidence of all types of violence, as well as many other dilemmas.

How does Ramirez propose we, as a nation of diverse ideas and beliefs, get this better parenting to come about? Regulations? Licensing? Taxation to create government programs to assist parents? No, there will be none of that, because that would be in violation of the tenets of the conservative philosophy. I guess it will occur via osmosis from the good parents to the bad as those good old conservative values spread throughout the land. In the meantime, let's arm ourselves to the teeth to protect ourselves from all those "results of bad parenting."

Think about it. If licensing and regulating one of these rights (being parents/owning guns) is the solution to the dilemma of gun violence, which is the easier to accomplish?

Also, as one who was in administration of mental health services for almost 20 years -- if the Tucson shooter suffers from schizophrenia or any other serious mental illness, parenting is a non-issue, because these illnesses have physiological causes. Lack of mental health treatment is an entirely different dilemma. I hope Ramirez will never have to be the parent who watches his child succumb to one of these devastating illnesses.

John Marschke

Niagara Falls

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Honest people seem to be few and far between today

Here we go again -- another case of someone stealing from his church. We continually read reports of people committing fraud upon or stealing from their employers, churches, unions, etc. Why do their victims not have a system of control over their finances? If Diogenes was around now, his lantern would be burned out long before he could, if ever, find an honest man.

Mildred Orrange

Kenmore

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Council deserves praise for opposing 'fracking'

I could not help but shake my head in disbelief when I read the Jan. 13 letter, "DEC prohibits local laws banning hydrofracking." The writer forgot to identify himself as an attorney. I have a few questions. Does he have a crystal ball? How does he know that no gas drilling would take place in an urban area like Buffalo? Which gas drilling company does his law firm represent? Simply because the lack of regulation was initiated during the Bush administration does not mean that companies should be allowed to do whatever they want, all in the name of profit, at the risk of the aquifer in Western New York. Why would he support this potential risk to the health and welfare of his family, neighbors and friends?

The only statement he made that was somewhat accurate was that "The DEC, which has the authority to regulate natural gas development, is currently finalizing its environmental impact statement governing such activities." The DEC is understaffed and underfunded thanks to our former governor. I applaud the Common Council for its stand. If the aquifer is contaminated by fracking chemicals, as has happened in several other parts of the country, the water will remain highly toxic, never to be restored to its pristine condition. The water could no longer be used for drinking, bathing or farming.

I have a well in Wales, as do all families and businesses in our community. We have no municipal water available to us. We are a right-to-farm community. If we allow the gas companies to come in and pour millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the Marcellus shale, it is very possible that these chemicals will affect, if not destroy, our water supply and that of neighboring communities, including Buffalo. Municipal water supply for Wales would cost $10 million. Will he and his firm cover that bill if he is wrong?

John M. Carlone, D.C.

East Aurora

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Navy acted properly in removing Honors

It is no surprise to me that the Navy relieved Capt. Owen Honors of his command. The military always does what is most expedient. Let me remind you that during a time of war, every military branch has discharged honorable service members in a range of ranks, regardless of the adverse impact of their loss on combat effectiveness, simply because they are homosexual. It follows that Honors is equally expendable.

Honors may have forgotten that he is not the Navy. He serves the Navy. I am sure the Navy was aware of his activities but felt compelled to take action once it became public. Fairness is irrelevant in the military. Honors knows the drill. He should "suck it up and drive on."

As for the potential impact of his behavior on his crew, I wonder how many service members on that ship felt vulnerable in such a hostile, unprofessional work environment. Imagine knowing that the people who are responsible for your safety don't have your back. What was the effect on their morale? A good leader creates unity without bullying or sexual harassment. His actions were not just politically incorrect; they were abusive and illegal in any other workplace. He is unsuitable for command.

Janeene Thrun

Orchard Park

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Can Collins show me what I'm doing wrong?

Perhaps Chris Collins could show us irresponsible, struggling families how to pull up our bootstraps? I find it extremely difficult to afford to work when average child day care costs exceed $860 a month for one child. I am a single mom with one child. On a salary of $28,000, my take-home pay is $880 every two weeks. As you can see, child care expenses take half of my net monthly income.

Health insurance and student loans take another chunk. My portion of my employer-sponsored health insurance is more than $100 a month, however, with co-pays and deductibles, I had more than $3,000 in health care expenses last year. My student loan payment is $100 a month and will take another 10 years to pay off. How do I pay for basic necessities with what is left over? How do I pay for rent, utilities, car insurance and gasoline, not to mention buy food, diapers, clothes, etc? What am I not doing right?

Given that Collins decided to significantly cut the child day care subsidy, what suggestions does he have for the working poor who struggle harder and harder every day to make ends meet? Not that the quality of life of Erie County citizens matters to him, obviously. He should hide his head in shame.

Michele Howard

Lancaster

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