Letters for March 16, 2006

No empathy for Hook
“Singing with the bluebird of happiness,” (Right Hook, March 2):

Sorry, Mr. Lafferty, but the real reason why conservatives are happier than liberals is that empathy requires an active imagination.

Myopia is the primary source of conservative happiness.

Liberals, on the other hand, see through the myth of “the self-made man,” and so take less pleasure in their successes because they take less credit for them.

It’s called humility. You should try it out sometime.

Joe Beverly

Tweekers suck
“The meth menace,” (Cover story, March 9):

As usual, you have outdone any other paper in this area. Thank you for printing a great and informative article about the ongoing problem with meth in our big little city. I am a nurse who works at a local hospital, and at least once a week, I have a patient who may have been brought in for an injury, but also has a secondary diagnosis of doing meth.

I am so sick of this drug and what it does to people and those around them, especially the children. The patients I see are difficult to help because of their resistance to medications, their aggressive behavior, and they are in denial. My first profession was as a dental assistant, and I saw many people with rotten teeth from this horrible pollutant. I can only hope that people continue to educate themselves and others and not turn away from the facts. Just reading the ingredients of what goes in to making this slop should deter one from ever going near it. Run away as fast as you can.

Terri Vinson, RN
via e-mail

Think before you file
“You’re going broke,” (Cover story, March 2):

R.V. Scheide’s article about being broke and filing bankruptcy hit home for me. Years ago, I filed bankruptcy when a credit card company sued me for three times the amount I owed them.

At the time, I could barely meet my basic living expenses, and a wage garnishment would have rendered me homeless. The so-called bankruptcy reform act is designed to further burden folks who work hard and hardly make ends meet while fattening the profit margin of huge corporations.

Under these circumstances, a “screw the bastards” sentiment might be justified, but beware the far-reaching consequences of filing bankruptcy.

Although bankruptcy is a legal right and not a crime, the amount you ultimately pay as the result of exercising this “right” can go far beyond the amount of bills you can’t pay. As Mr. Scheide noted, your credit history will reflect the bankruptcy for 10 years.

But that’s only the beginning of your post-bankruptcy nightmare. Creditors who have charged off balances due to your filing bankruptcy may add negative information to your credit report. “Who cares?” you might ask. “Thank godalmighty, I’m free at last.” You have sworn off plastic and are now debt free. Free at last, indeed.

Not quite. Many employers now gain access to credit reports and use the arbitrary system of credit scoring to determine if you are worthy of employment. No one investigates the circumstances leading to your bankruptcy. Your character, creditworthi- ness, employability and more are judged based on the fact that you exercised your legal right to file for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy may be the only alternative when you must decide between paying rent and feeding your family or paying creditors who’ve hijacked your last cent by adding fees, late charges and legal fees to what you already can’t pay them. However, it’s important to understand how filing bankruptcy can impact your life far beyond your present financial woes.

Karen Lawson
via e-mail