Letters for July 21, 2005

Don’t trust your head to amateurs

Re “Don’t trust your head to the meds” (SN&R Guest comment, July 14):

The old adage regarding a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing applies to this Guest comment. It certainly appears that Mr. Patton himself has not had any experience with psychiatry or psychiatric drugs, and he’s not a health-care professional.

Who is Tom Cruise to refer to psychiatry as a pseudoscience? (I’m taking for granted he really said that, because I don’t know firsthand.) Should I consult him instead of seeing my doctor if I get an infection that won’t heal?

Perhaps psychiatric drugs are over-prescribed today, and perhaps psychiatry is not an exact science, but I know from my own experience that had I not been treated with an antidepressant 15 years ago, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be writing this response. That’s all the evidence I need.

Gary Voytek

SN&R is fair and balanced!

Re “Don’t trust your head to the meds” (SN&R Guest comment, July 14):

Interesting that the same issue of SN&R that runs a Guest comment in support of Tom Cruise’s anti-psychiatry crusade—written by a shill for the Scientologist-backed Citizens Commission on Human Rights—also contains two references to how crazy Tom Cruise is [“The King: a medical tribute” by Jonathan Kiefer, SN&R Night&day; and “TomCruiseIsNuts.com” by Kel Munger, SN&R In the mix].

Surely, no one can accuse SN&R of not covering all sides of an issue.

Jan Kynd

One cartoon is worth his 100 words

Re “Cartoon” by Kloss (SN&R Opinion, July 7):

It’s obvious from Kloss’ knee-jerk cartoons that he understands little about politics. But his latest scatterbrained disaster has forced me to write.

What the hell is the message he is trying to impart? It shows Dick Cheney holding a leash on a monkey version of George Bush. Is he saying Cheney is controlling Bush? That he’s really the president? I never heard this one before.

Also, it has monkey-Bush eating a banana named “war.” Is he saying that Bush is eating Iraq? Or is he trying to say that America is consuming Iraq for monetary gain? If so, I guess he doesn’t understand that Iraq is costing us money—lots of it. And the small amount of oil we are getting wouldn’t pay for 1 percent of the tab.

Then Cheney has an “Exxon heart pump” badge on his belt. I have no clue what this means. Exxon has no involvement whatsoever in Iraq.

Kloss obviously has no clue. He just montages liberal images and hopes a message will emerge.

Hal Jordan

Quit using and take responsibility

Re “ER in an RV” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R Cover, June 30):

If I had read this article years ago, I would have felt sorry for the addicts like Denise. But after nearly 18 years of being clean and sober, I cannot imagine why people like Denise choose to waste their lives on drugs!

For almost 20 years I drank like a fish. And before you addicts say, “Yeah, but you weren’t hooked on drugs,” I have two things to say. One: Alcohol is a drug itself. Yes, it’s legal for those of us over 21 to buy, but it still alters the state of your mind. Two: Being a friend of Bill W.’s, I know many who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. As a drunk, I was treated like crap, also. And why not? I was contributing nothing to society! I didn’t work or go to school. I just drank like a fish and depended on the taxpayers for my government check.

If these addicts want to continue to be treated badly, [let them] keep using. But if they want respect, they have to learn to respect themselves first by not keeping drug dealers in business. If you say you can’t quit because you live around dealers, then you’re taking the easy way out. When I quit, I lived in North Sacramento, and you cannot believe how many bars, liquor stores and places to buy booze are in that area.

I ask people like Denise to do themselves a favor: Stop using and call Narcotics Anonymous for help. You’ll be surprised at how much your life will change.

Sharon J.

Paying the price for what addicts us

Re “The smoking gun” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, June 30):

During the Vietnam era (1968), I ran the “slop chest” (canteen) on a passenger ship’s run between San Francisco and Manila. Major brands were all we sold. Filter tips were $1.50 a carton, and non-filter tips were $1.25. No sales tax aboard ships.

When I drove a cab in the late 1960s and the 1970s, I made extra money smoking the cheapest cigars while driving, because often the fares would offer me a dollar to put the cigar out. A cab driver has a captive audience!

An understanding of why we are in the Iraq quagmire is easily explained: We live in a country where people will pay any price for cigarettes and oil.

W. Bain

Guilty based on clothing color—or skin color

Re “Round up the hood!” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, June 23):

The indiscriminate classification of young men of color as gang members is reprehensible. What constitutes a gang, gang member or gang affiliate appears to be based predominantly upon skin color. This standard of practice must cease.

Meanwhile, specific groups of people continue to be profiled, targeted and overzealously pursued at the expense of their civil rights. Without adequate investigation of information provided by the authorities, the press contributes to the persecution of accused persons by reporting unsubstantiated allegations as fact. This pretrial persecution can negatively sway public opinion. Unfortunately, “the accused” may accept a plea bargain rather than face a “jury of peers” influenced by skewed press releases, whether guilty or not. Select prosecution witnesses are used at the expense of the judicial system’s integrity even when they have extensive criminal records or underlying motives to provide less than credible statements and testimony about “the accused.”

My son was wrongfully identified as a “known and/or validated gang member” by Yolo County authorities, and, without further investigation, the newspapers printed that information. Being labeled a gang member can cost more than freedoms of speech, travel and association. He is not, nor has he ever been, a gang member. The deputy district attorney conceded this fact; however, the newspapers have yet to print a retraction. Meanwhile, my son has spent 14 months in the county jail—without bail—awaiting trial for allegedly committing “gang related” crimes.

I will not compromise my son’s case by disclosing the myriad inconsistencies involving his arrest and prosecution. However, it is this personal experience that motivated me and my family to hold a candlelight vigil and march in the city of Davis on June 11. It was organized to peaceably protest institutional racism and gang profiling in this—and any—county. West Sacramento is not alone in this discriminatory practice.

While the press was not present, more than 60 concerned citizens attended to support our stance. My family and I want to express our gratitude to them and to the civil-rights organizations that participated. We were a cohesive, culturally diverse group. Future events have been planned to heighten social awareness, and we welcome all supporters.

Barbara Ann McPherson

No oil, no culture

Re “Oil apocalypse” by Kel Munger (SN&R Words, June 23):

The review of these two books will do a great job of building a fire under people to not think peak oil and the coming energy crisis is a hollow threat, and it was helpful to bring in the positive things we can do.

Sure, we have had warnings about peak oil before, which have been ignored. If there had been a warning about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or the recent tsunami, or Mount St. Helens, people might have ignored those, too, thinking, “I’ve heard that before.”

The people in ancient Crete abandoned their island, and it was a mystery for millennia, until recently a fellow figured out that the water table dropped within the same timeframe as some earthquake activity. No water, no culture!

The same could be said of our dependence on oil.

Lauren Ayers