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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 01:41 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.

WHEN CIVIL RIGHTS TRUMP TREATMENT 
Dr. Alex J. Spadoni hit the nail on the head in his recent commentary on treatment for the mentally ill [“Letters,” May 17], but he told only half of the story. Everything he said about treatment (or lack thereof) for mentally ill adults applies in spades to mentally ill children as well.
The same civil libertarians who hamstrung mental-health professionals, all in the name of “privacy rights,” did the same thing to parents of mentally ill children. In other words, the law is based on the premise that a mentally ill 12-year-old is capable of making decisions in his own best interests and his parents are not. Mentally ill children who are at least 12 years of age can refuse treatment, can refuse medication no matter how severe their illness, can refuse parental access to needed information, and can even prevent the Department of Professional Regulation from investigating possible cases of malpractice. They can be committed only in extreme cases, and usually the commitments last for a day or two or two weeks at the most. Once they get out, the family is back to square one. It is a nightmare that liberal civil libertarians have either ignored or downright encouraged. Why do they do this? Are they so obsessed with privacy that they’ll destroy children and families in order to protect it? I believe the answer is even more sinister. Liberals and civil libertarians hate families, and they especially hate responsible parents. By giving all the rights to children and taking away legitimate parental rights, they further the cause of undermining the family and the idea that parental rights outweigh the rights of minors.
So the next time you liberal Illinois Times readers make out a check to the ACLU, remember all of those parents out there who are trying to get treatment for their mentally ill children. Then consider how you would feel if your child had cancer and the ACLU said you could not get your child hospitalized until the cancer was terminal. You’d be justifiably outraged. Well, what the ACLU wouldn’t think of doing to children with cancer, it was eager to do to children with mental illness.
Robert Huck
Springfield 

HER LETTER WAS FOR THE BIRDS Jean Stable’s May 17 letter, titled “What I learned from the birds,” was long and interesting. I’m sorry that her experience with the birds did not work out. I know some people who put out bird feeders, and they did not have the problems she described. I do take issue with Stable’s specious generalizations regarding human nature and, in particular, her comments about how people take advantage of government programs. This is argument by analogy, not by facts. Stables writes, “This is a country that punishes those who work, try to get an education, try to take care of themselves.” If that were true, I’d be in bad shape right now. We know that a high-school graduate earns more money than a high-school dropout, and those who pursue post secondary education earn even more. That doesn’t sound like punishment to me. There are people who abuse government social programs, but that doesn’t mean we should end those programs for everybody. When poor people receive aid, it can create opportunities in their lives, which can enable them to attain educational and career goals. Rent subsidies mean that someone has a place to sleep and is therefore well rested to perform on the job. Food stamps can sometimes make the difference between eating and not eating, and when children suffer from malnutrition they are unable to perform in school. I can go on and on with these examples.
Are birds really like us? People have the capacity to set goals, plan ahead, and be ambitious. For all that I know, birds seem only capable of thinking about their next meal, although perhaps someday someone will prove me wrong. I guess what I really wanted to say is that when you compare apples and oranges — or, in this case, certain bird species with humans, you can get faulty results. Martin Celnick Springfield
GAMBLING ADDITION WILL SPREAD In spite of people’s cry for relief from exorbitant gasoline prices and energy bills, legislators have found time to vote on a gambling bill. House Bill 1124 will legalize video gambling in bars. That may sound harmless to some, but it is not. Children have grown up playing video games. Adding the element of cash and prizes will make the activity even more attractive to young adults. Many will become addicted to gambling. HB 1124 legalizes gambling on video games “simulating contests” in bars, restaurants, convenience stores, bowling alleys, and truck stops. HB 1124 defines a bona fide contest as being between two or more individuals. Hundreds of thousands of such “contests” could be played each year in every community statewide. While HB 1124 states that card games are not included, this type of gambling will expand in increments. Gambling interests will come back each year until video poker is legalized in every community. HB 1124 will make it impossible to police these establishments to determine if illegal gambling is going on. Gamblers will expect a “payout” on all video machines in bars, convenience stores, bowling alleys, restaurants, and truck stops. Video-machine gambling is very addictive. Research has shown that gamblers take more risks and gamble longer when they are drinking alcohol. Anita Bedell Executive director Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems Springfield
ARM THE POPULATION TO CUT CRIME The Illinois liberal-controlled government of Democrats is at it again. Senate Bill 1007 is just another anti-gun-agenda item to curtail gun ownership. The events in Virginia are sad, to say the least; however, if Seung-Hui Cho only had 10-round clips, do you honestly believe the outcome would have been any different? The event transpired only because the system that you [the government] put in place failed. His mental-health status was in question but not raised to a level of being in the national database. This tragedy was fully preventable without any new laws; simply enforce what you have. When will you learn, law-abiding gun owners do not perform acts like this? More laws are only going to hamper law-abiding citizens, not the criminals that will ignore your laws as they do now. With Illinois and our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, being the only two states in the U.S. without concealed-carry weapon permits, how long do you honestly believe it will be until our state become the crime capital of the U.S.? Even the staunch liberals in Washington, D.C., have finally come to their senses and begun going against the anti-gun movement. Maybe the politicians were tired of being outgunned in their own homes by criminals. There is only one real solution — Illinois with a CCW-permit status equal to that of Florida or Texas. Only then will you see a drop in crime. Bill Day Martinsville
SJ-R HAS BETRAYED ITS LEGACY The ownership of the local State Journal-Register has changed hands. But the familiar quotations that adorn the top of the opinion page remain. One, on loyalty, is from Lincoln in 1864. The other, on community service, is from the paper’s publisher in 1881. Those stated ideals of civic duty and trust have been tarnished by the new management and the firing of nine SJ-R employees [R.L. Nave, “Paper cuts,” May 17]. One in particular, Paul Povse, has been well-known to SJ-R readers for decades. Beyond his professionalism and long service to the paper, Paul Povse has been a goodwill ambassador for his employer. His engaged involvement in this community, ever affable and encouraging, has, in effect, enhanced the reputation of his newspaper for 37 years. When a distant management has so little regard for its employees, how will it then regard our community? Jim Huston Springfield
CORRECTION A recent story [Dusty Rhodes, “Raising a stink,” May 17] erroneously stated that Bob Young mentioned his plans for a hog farm at a fire board meeting. Young himself was not at the meeting; neighbors who oppose Young’s plan learned of it through another person present at the meeting.
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