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Letters: What Do You Think?

This week: U.S.’s Real Malaise Is Militarism; Morse “Got Decision Right”; Save Allis Mansion; and Fiscal Cliff Notes

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

U.S.’s Real Malaise Is Militarism

In response to the letters in last week’s Advocate regarding mental illness as a focal point of recent gun violence: As a therapeutic counselor, I know that mental health and mental illness, semantically as well as experientially, is a broad and volatile issue rife with its own incongruities, biases and downright fallacies. Trying to make it a matter of bureaucratic efficiency for any reason risks its own unique brand of tyranny. The Soviet Union demonstrated the horrors of the therapeutic state in no uncertain terms.

An overarching mental illness which is readily accessible to scientific scrutiny is the cultural pathology in which the continued malaise of militarism remains one of the chief components of our hero system in the U.S. The chance of this getting addressed meaningfully is almost nil.

Meanwhile, relegating the larger pathology to one of individual illness is totally ineffectual at best, and stringently authoritarian at worst.   

Kevin J. Smith
Turners Falls      

*

Morse “Got Decision Right”

So Holyoke won’t be getting a casino (“Morse Remorse,” January 3, 2013). Personally, I would have liked to have a casino constructed and successfully operating here in my home town, but the casino investors would not have been able to meet my criteria for allowing the construction even to begin, let alone for day-to-day operations. An industry that comes to town with a lot of negative baggage would have to jump some pretty high hurdles before construction and keep jumping more hurdles every day it’s open.

After the back-and-forth, or flip-flopping, at least the mayor got the decision right in the end. At the end of the day, that’s the best outcome of all the serious proposals at this time.

Patrick Carroll
Holyoke

*

Save Allis Mansion

What is a landmark? To many it is a historical building, place or area that is notable and recognized for its importance to a community or the country. It is something universally acknowledged and appreciated.

For others, a landmark is simply a place that is familiar, that we take note of each day, and when we see it, it helps us know where we are. The Allis Mansion on the campus of Mercy Hospital, as you travel up the hill on Carew Street, is truly a landmark in both meanings of the word. The Allis Mansion was the home of a prominent local person, an architectural gem, and then the home of the House of Mercy, a very well respected hospital that served the community. The place of birth for thousands of Springfield residents was in its soon-to be-destroyed Maternity Hospital building. Every day thousands of people heading to and from work in Hungry Hill, Chicopee, East Springfield and other neighborhoods pass by this imposing mansion and can’t help but notice it in the bend in the road. They may not even think about it, but when it is gone, they will miss it. They will wonder what happened, and how such a grand house and landmark in the City of Springfield could be allowed to be torn down. They will not be happy.

It is not too late to save this landmark. It is the responsibility of Mercy Hospital and its parent, the Sisters of Providence Health Systems, to stop this demolition, restore and repurpose this building.

James Boone
Springfield

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Fiscal Cliff Notes

At the eleventh hour, Congress and President Obama reached a deal to address the fiscal cliff. As our analysis shows, the deal focused on tax revenue and included a number of changes to the tax code, including a permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts on income below $450,000 for families and below $400,000 for individuals.

This deal left major issues unresolved, including the debt ceiling, the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and a final version of a budget to fund the federal government in the current fiscal year.

Some lawmakers sought reductions in Social Security benefits and a higher eligibility age for the Medicare program as part of fiscal cliff negotiations.

No changes were made to Social Security or Medicare benefits. Eligible Americans will continue to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits as normal.

Lawmakers are likely to take up these issues in 2013.

For more information on the major issues involved in the Fiscal Cliff, see the National Priorities Project’s The Fiscal Cliff Deal at http://nationalpriorities.org/en/analysis/2013/fiscal-cliff-deal/.

National Priorities Project
Northampton

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In response to Kevin Smith:

I think we are all aware of the success rate in treatment of the violently mentally ill, even by those who claim the understand it, the cure rate is low. But where is the evidence that “militarism” was the motivation of the mass shooters? Most of the characters that they seem to be copying are also lone gunmen.

I am not advocating locking up all of the mentally ill, just the violent mentally ill. In most cases there were warning signs, and other lesser acts which lead up to the violence which should not have been ignored.

Posted by Robert Underwood on 1.17.13 at 14:59
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