Leftists can be hateful, too
Like most Americans, I have been following the tragic events in Tucson. No one can dispute that this was the act of a lone, deranged gunman. However, the mainstream media and the left have morphed this into an attack on the free-speech rights of their political opponents.
I’m old enough to remember John Hinckley Jr. and the Reagan shooting. There was no effort by Republicans to benefit politically from the act of that lone, deranged gunman. The same can’t be said for the media and Democratic politicians. They ridiculed Alexander Haig for his remarks immediately after the shooting of President Ronald Reagan. They used the wounding of James Brady to promote their gun-control agenda. As soon as Reagan had recovered, the opposition was as mean-spirited and hateful as ever.
Our political discourse should be more civil. Sadly, I don’t think that it will improve.
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Tea party fueled hate rhetoric
People are saying we have to tone down our political differences, to stop the vitriol, to cool it. But what is amazing about all this is that the politicians who were riding the tide of this scary, angry talk and were passive proponents of it now say we need to calm down on both sides of the aisle.
I did not hear or see any Democrats or liberals saying "reload and put ’em in your sights." It was the tea party at the forefront of this hate rhetoric with Sarah Palin as its cover girl and people taking unconcealed guns to their political rallies as a "symbolic" act. And that was OK? It was unbelievable.
Mental illness the real culprit
Countless charges and counter-charges in the media since the Arizona shootings have been pathetically off the mark, politically self-serving and illogical. Within 12 hours, more-than-sufficient factual background information was available to identify the shooter as seriously mentally ill.
The real story here is the tragic consequences of mental health treatment and services in disarray. Arizona has sent us a crucial message. We must pre-empt devastating effects of a mind gone wild. We need more proactive, sensitive and, when necessary, involuntary treatment of the few potentially dangerous, mentally ill individuals whose psychoses often preclude return to sanity without treatment.
Let’s eliminate hateful dialogue
The tragedy in Tucson is not a call for taking personal guns from the populace. Now is the time for all Americans to finally realize what a hateful dialogue we have going on in politics. Almost every politician or public figure, at one time or another, uses hateful language regarding his or her opponent or the issues they oppose. We have become a dangerous country, partly because of the trend in movies, television and the violent games. Mental illnesses are not the root cause. It is time for our country to come up with a system that will gradually get rid of the current craziness.
Dr. Neal Palafox is cause for hope
What a refreshing breeze of optimism and reasonableness from the new health director-designate, Neal Palafox ("Physician touts prevention," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 7). A health system that integrates ethnicity, religion, geography, healthy lifestyles and housing considerations! What boldness to propose that tax, labor, economic development and education departments consider health impacts in their decisions!
He hit the nail on its head by declaring that prevention and healthy lifestyles pay far greater returns than only treating illness.
Let us hope Dr. Palafox will be able to lead the charge for a holistic, unified and coordinated system of care that finally makes sense in service of the people.
Executive director, Waianae Coast Community Mental Health Center
Make folks pay for poor habits
Recent studies estimate that 75 percent of the $2.47 trillion in annual health care costs come from chronic diseases, many of which can be prevented or delayed by lifestyle changes. Obesity-related medical costs alone account for an estimated $168 billion, and this figure is expected to rise. Add to this the additional costs related to the merely overweight and smokers, and the financial tsunami that awaits us begins to come into focus.
Since education, cajoling, the threat of an early demise, debilitating diseases and self-respect have not helped, other incentives are needed.
Those who choose to debauch their bodies should pay for this choice in terms of higher medical insurance payments that would reflect their higher risks. Most insurance products base their premiums upon risk. Medical insurance should, too.