Letters for May 14, 2015
About those bros
Re “The bros among us” (Cover story, by Howard Hardee, May 7):
It seems to me that some of the unpleasant and obnoxious behavior that we see coming from the young men noted in your story may be related to the right dudes being in the right place at the wrong time.
Judging by the late-model cars, disposable income, and available time that many of these guys possess, it is quite possible that they have, in effect, been “bribed” by their parents to attend college when, in fact, they would much rather be somewhere else.
Most young males, irrespective of IQ, do not take naturally to classrooms, books and intellectual pursuits and would benefit by having those activities postponed for a few years while they explore the world a bit and engage in activities that are more physical and hands-on. Working on a ranch, in a factory, or on a construction site could satisfy this need while also allowing the necessary maturation of emotional and cognitive intelligence to take place.
Behavioral scientists now know that the frontal cortex; the part of the brain that has to do with judgment and impulse control, does not mature in males until the mid-20s. It makes sense for parents and society at large not to push young men to engage in academic pursuits until the requisite levels of quiescence and intellectual curiosity are in place.
Howard Hardee describes “bros” as a subculture of college men, ranging from the amiably aimless to sinister sociopaths, apparently unconstrained by conscience.
So, what’s the root cause of this phenomenon? Whence cometh the bros?
A grand experiment is underway: The family, which was traditionally an engine of socialization, is being transformed into a slave of commerce—24/7. Most bros have been raised in a world of material extravagance and emotional destitution. Jesus said it well enough: “You cannot be the slave of two masters.”
My heart goes out to the bros. They didn’t ask to be born into a culture that made consumer capitalism its god. If we find this disturbing—these young men acting like self-indulgent gangsta assholes—we might look at our dominant value-system, which validates an array of “socially acceptable” versions of this behavior.
(I recently noticed a boy, in the company of what appeared to be his grandparents, eating an entire restaurant meal while never once looking up from his iPhone. For this—which was nothing less than witnessing a bro in training—the blame is squarely on the grandparents, and all of us.)
A vet’s take
Re “Kent State: Memories of a dark day” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, May 7):
While students were sitting in a college corridor “protesting” the war, yet again as a way of cutting class, my unit, the 834th Air Division, was earning a Presidential Unit Citation for helping to relieve the siege at Dak Seang in Vietnam. Three of our C-7 Caribous got shot down and almost all sustained battle damage.
Nobody’s heard of Dak Seang, but now everybody’s heard of Jaime O’Neill sitting in a college corridor waiting for somebody to bring him a sandwich. The left-wing press always idolizes itself and seeks to perpetuate its own mythology. The truth about Vietnam may never be known with such a myopic press.
I will say this: The old sarges who had been through Korea told us, “We’re not supposed to win.” We needed North Vietnam as a buffer. If we won the Vietnam War, that would be like putting the state of Texas on Red China’s border. And that was too dicey.
PG&E’s false narrative
Re “Tree stand” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, April 30):
The meeting held by PG&E to further communicate with the public on their highly publicized tree removal has done more harm than good. Although they repeatedly claim to have learned a lot after the Oroville tree incident, they were still insincere to residents who attended the meeting.
But the worst thing about this “forum” was the fact PG&E continued to defend their Pipeline Pathways Project in reference to the San Bruno incident. The company’s representatives are acting as if tree roots were the problem when, in reality, the explosion was caused by faulty welding in the pipelines. If they are worried about safety, they need to point a finger at themselves before destroying trees and being disrespectful to communities along the way.
An overlooked issue
Re “Baby blues, averted” (Healthlines, by Robert Speer, May 7):
This story not only had a disempowering tone (please don’t use the phrase “scarred for life” in a parenting article), but also contained factual errors (postpartum depression vs. baby blues). The inspiring Embracing Motherhood summit that took place last Saturday deserved a better promotion. Most new mothers experience the baby blues—two to three weeks of feeling sad, lonely and out of sorts—that require no treatment. If these feelings persist longer than three weeks, it is probably postpartum depression, which won’t go away on its own, but is treatable.
PPD affects 15 percent to 20 percent of all new mothers, including me, and is more common than gestational diabetes, yet mental health services remain sparse for people affected. While it’s true there aren’t adequate PPD services in our community, Chico contains a thriving population of people who care about maternal mental health.
I have benefited from many services, and because of this amazing community, I am able to cope. Because PPD is an issue that is often overlooked, I would love to see CN&R follow up with a story addressing services available in Chico.
Millions saved by vaccines
Re “Sparring over the syringe” (Cover story, by Allen Stellar, April 30) and “Vaccines save lives” (Editorial, May 7):
I appreciated your thoughtful editorial and article about vaccines. Here is our family’s true story. The couple in our family who did not get vaccines were young marrieds, 21 and 24, when they had their first baby at home. Great celebration because the baby turned out to be babies; a boy and girl, twins! No complications. So much joy for the next year.
As the babies started to take their first steps, they both caught whooping cough from their dad, who brought it home from work. They had access to a doctor, followed instructions carefully and their son pulled through, but they lost their baby girl. It was in Shasta County, in 1902.
My grandparents were the young couple and the vaccine (for pertussis) was not yet invented. I tell this story to people who discuss vaccines, because it was such sorrow for my grandparents, and that vaccine has saved millions of children world-wide since then. It does to this day. That’s a miracle.
As I approach a significant milestone in my life—age 65 and impending retirement after 34 years as a registered nurse—I become aware of a closely related milestone in our national life: the 50th anniversary of the Medicare program on July 30 of this year. Aside from playing a big part in making a secure retirement possible for me and tens of millions of other Americans, Medicare also transformed American health care and my own profession.
Fifty years ago, there was little that could be done for many of the major diseases we treat effectively today. Cardiac surgery barely existed, cancer treatment was primitive, dialysis was in its infancy and available only to a few. Intensive care units were a new concept. Fifty years ago, science and medicine were on the brink of a transformation. But the very people who had the greatest need for many of the new therapies had no way to pay for them.
And thus, with great political struggle—and over fierce opposition from conservatives and the medical establishment of the time—the Medicare program was born. Where would we be without it?
Let’s protect it, improve it, and extend it to everyone!
Cheers all around
Re “Where there’s a Will” (Scene, by Carey Wilson, April 23):
What a fabulous performance this past week that each of The Will Rogers Follies’ cast members gave to all—their songs, choreography, music, sets, costumes, just everything that went into this “straight from Broadway” spring musical production. Of course, this is also due to the direction of our own Chico State theater genius, Tim Allen McDonald, who came here from New York.
Watching each scene composed of some musical theater students, some choral and some drama students, made me realize how great the professionals—the teachers—are who give of their talents to the obviously talented students. And I just must call out “our Will,” Eric Dobson, an economics major who learned how to rope, play the harmonica and the guitar and to sing like a pro. Wow! What a remarkable performance.
Cheers to all who gave this extraordinary musical gift to Chico.
Keep the gates shut
Re “Unlocking the park” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, March 26):
The summer gate schedule for access to Upper Bidwell Park beyond Horseshoe Lake should be maintained as last year; open Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday through Thursday.
Our beloved park is scarred, littered and trampled. Most of the damage is not from malice. There simply are many users and little staffing and funds for maintenance; the park is being loved to death. Allowing daily vehicular traffic sounds good on the surface. Who doesn’t want unfettered access? But, more cars also bring numerous negative effects: road maintenance costs; erosion and sedimentation; more partying, and with that cigarette butts and beer cans littering the swimming holes; greater risk of fire.
It’s senseless to spend money upgrading the road and increasing traffic when we can’t curb the degradation already happening under current use. The park is fragile. It needs care. It needs to rest and regenerate. Limiting vehicular traffic to two days a week is inconvenient. Yet, don’t we all want the park to thrive into perpetuity? The existing gate schedule is common sense protection of the quality of life that a healthy Bidwell Park gives to Chico.
Re “Sparring over the syringe” (Cover story, by Allan Stellar, April 30) and “The bros among us” (Cover story, by Howard Hardee, May 7):
The past two cover stories have caused me to question if I want to pick up CN&R anymore. Biased journalism and irrelevant journalism. Completely and utterly disappointed!
It has come to my attention that pregnancy discrimination is a problem that does not have much attention. Pregnant women are discriminated against daily; in 2013, 5,342 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed. Women are to be protected and treated equally under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which states that pregnant women should be able to receive all of the benefits during maternity leave as other workers who are disabled. Although there are laws in place, not every employer follows them and many pregnant women end up not receiving the benefits they should be provided with.
I strongly believe that one way to counter this sort of discrimination is by spreading awareness. The public needs to be educated about this barrier.
Learn more about euthanasia
Re “A better way to die” (Cover story, by Melinda Welsh, Feb. 19):
A very controversial and newer topic to the U.S.—euthanasia, the option for someone to end their own life. This issue has come to light due to a woman named Brittany Maynard. Suffering from terminal brain cancer, she made the decision to move to Oregon to end her life. It is hard to say this should not be allowed; as a healthy human, I have never experienced the absolute heartbreaking things that those like Maynard go through. They did not choose to be unhealthy or in pain. However, they should have a choice knowing when their way of life is not enjoyable anymore.
The book Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, is a novel that dives deep into this issue—showcasing the mind of someone making this decision, as well as that of his loved ones. It allows readers to make their own decision about euthanasia as they read through the book, and also gives them a much better understanding and knowledge of why someone may want to undergo this treatment.