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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 09:12 am

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
STRANGE KIND OF CHRISTIANITY In the story “Shelter force” [Lawrence Crossett, March 1], you quote the Rev. Scott Payne as saying, “Homelessness is not about the lack of a home. . . . Homelessness is about a lack of values and ethics in a person’s upbringing, which alienates them from themselves, their families, the community — and leaves them to seek support from strangers.”
What a strange thing for a Christian to say, particularly a Christian preacher! Christ himself was homeless (Matthew 25: 36). Christ also said we should not judge others, lest we be judged ourselves, and this certainly sounds like a judgment call to me! Of course, I’m being judgmental here, too. I’m not perfect, either. Many of our homeless have mental-illness issues. I’m storing the possessions of two homeless friends in my basement right now. Both are alcoholics, but their alcoholism masks underlying mental-health problems, like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and clinical depression. The one friend is now employed after attending quite a few AA meetings and soon to have a permanent residence, but without treatment for his depression he will surely hit the bottle again and be on the street once more. The other friend, who is developmentally disabled and gets an SSI check, has bipolar disorder and hears voices (schizophrenia). The system wants to send her to alcohol treatment, but without treatment for her schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, she, too, won’t be sober long and will be without a home again. I don’t take too kindly to the Rev. Payne’s judgmental views about my unfortunate friends, neither of whom he has met. The one friend’s family is quite normal, even though she is by no means “normal” herself; the other friend’s parents were, as he says, “just as nuts as I am.” He didn’t choose his parents, and nobody chooses to be ill. Many of our homeless are war veterans. That these poor men and women can’t get help is a stain on our society. Next time you see that “support the troops” ribbon on your car, think about helping the homeless, because many of them were the troops! I would urge the Rev. Payne and all others dealing with the homeless to try to be less judgmental of the poor souls he is caring for and to try to find at least one psychotherapist willing to join his staff. With treatment, both of my friends could lead normal, productive lives. The problem is, and I suspect this may be [the case] for many other homeless people as well, that treatment for these disabling diseases is not available to them.
Steve McGrew

FIGHT FOR FREEDOM WAGED HERE Letter writers nowadays seem compelled to choose intentionally inflammatory language that contributes nothing to political discourse, or they choose pejorative, often hateful labeling for those who have the effrontery to possess differing views. In his letter of March 8, Steve Rossman used C.K. Chesterton to bolster his vitriolic condemnation of [letter writers] Anne Logue and Troy Gorda. Apropos of Bush-Cheney and their madcap Iraqi invasion, Chesterton also noted: “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
As for the 3,190 American soldiers killed in action, Rossman’s cavalier dismissal of their sacrifice — because they “all volunteered to go overseas and fight for freedom” — is unseemly and denies reality. Having spent more than two decades in the service of this nation, I can assure Rossman no one “volunteers” to be cannon (or IED) fodder in an illegal, unjustified war that’s clearly not winnable and now seems truly endless. Truth be told, the real “fight for freedom” is being waged not in Iraq but in America, where our Constitution and civil liberties continue to suffer methodical attacks and destruction by the Bush-Cheney cabal — all in the name of power and greed.
Doug Hagan

ANOTHER WAY TO RECYCLE Another method of recycling that’s known only to a handful of people in the Springfield area is an organization called Freecycle [see Walt Zyznieuski, “Recycle city,” March 8]. Springfield has a local Freecycle chapter (go to groups.yahoo.-com/group/FreecycleSpfldIL/) with more than 1,500 members. Freecycle keeps items out of landfills with the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
People join by obtaining a Yahoo! ID and e-mailing the Springfield Freecycle moderators for inclusion. Membership is free, and the only prerequisites are that you must live or work in Springfield and your first post must be an offer. If you have an item you no longer use or were thinking about throwing away, you just post an offer on Freecycle and wait for replies. Freecycle also offers valuable links to other methods of recycling and disposal of unwanted items in the Springfield area.
I would encourage everyone to check out www.Freecycle.org and consider joining their local Freecycle chapter. Kevin Johnson Chatham
SPRINGFIELD IS NOT DOING ITS PART Walt Zyznieuski’s feature “Recycle city,” published in the March 8 issue, was a great educational piece; however, I think he takes a much too optimistic view in that “Springfield’s doing its part to reduce, reuse, and recycle.” In my experience, there’s so much more to be done. Like Wynne Coplea and Walt, I initiated a recycling program at my workplace. It wasn’t that my co-workers and the building owner hadn’t been willing before. They were just unaware of available services. Two friends of mine who recently purchased houses have begun recycling, only after I informed them they were already paying for the service along with their garbage fee. As for myself, I haul my own recyclables to Lake Area Recycling because I live in a townhouse complex where we pay for Dumpster service and apparently are not eligible for recycle pickup. I assume this is also the case at most, if not all, townhouse and apartment complexes in Springfield. That’s a lot of households unable to recycle unless they have the knowledge of available resources, space to store recyclables, and most importantly the motivation to haul it themselves. If I’m missing out on a more convenient setup, please let me know. I also wonder where I can recycle my glass. My parents living in Sherman are also unable to leave glass in their recycle bin anymore. I wonder what’s changed in the past few years to make glass unacceptable. I do see the ads in Illinois Times, but Freecycle, a Yahoo group I belong to, is how I generally stay in the know on local hazardous waste, large appliance and furniture, and yard waste pickups. I am usually the one to inform my friends and family when these events are taking place. It might just be that my eyes and ears are always open for such services, but I think that more publicity and education could help push some people’s eyes open. This letter is not meant to criticize Wynne Coplea or the job she’s done. I can only imagine the bureaucracy, closed-mindedness, and limited financial resources she has had to maneuver around to get Springfield this far. With the recent devastation at F&W Resources, I would hope Springfield’s other waste and recycling companies will step up and make sure local businesses and residents are able to maintain their usual recycling routine. And maybe even a couple billion-dollar companies, like Waste Management and Allied Waste, could step in and help fund an educational push to recycle. People can’t be expected to act on something they don’t know is out there. Springfield is not doing its part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I don’t have the answer but education and advertising could be a start.
Katherine Jones

A CLEAR PLAN FOR VICTORY In response to Donald E. Hadden’s letter, which was published in the March 8 issue: President Johnson has a clear plan for victory in Vietnam that begins with training Vietnamese forces so they can defend their country and fight the communists. We are making tremendous progress towards this objective. Withdrawing from Vietnam, as communists in Washington propose, would send a dangerous signal to our enemies that we cut and run when the going gets tough. President Johnson is offering a clear strategy to win, not a political quick fix.
John Kenealy
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