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Terrible tragedy

 
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Marta Elena Díaz García
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Rexistrau: 07 Set 2003
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Llugar: Molleda. Corvera de Asturias

MensaxePublicao: Llu Avi 17, 2012 5:26 am    Asuntu: Terrible tragedy Responder citando

Dear all,

All the world has been shaken by the sad news about the killing of 20 schoolchildren and other 6 people in Connecticut.

I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the Americans and particularly to the families hit by the tragedy.

Marta
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Art
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Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
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Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Llu Avi 17, 2012 10:19 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Thanks, Marta. It is very disturbing that our country has not yet been able to agree to limit access to military-grade weapons and that these weapons are being used to kill innocents. Perhaps this sad incident will give us the motivation to finally do the right thing.

Another failing of our society which was highlighted by this event is that we have shut down most of our in-patient mental hospitals and failed to provide for compensatory in-community services. Many of our mentally ill are homeless and receive very little mental health care. In fact, our military veterans suffer homelessness and suicide at a much higher rate than the general population. (I'm not sure about comparable rates of mental illness.) We can do better than this. The original plan when the mental hospitals were closed was to spend the money saved on community care. That didn't happen. The consequence is that people without health insurance, and even many with health insurance, are neither eligible for government-financed services nor able to pay for it themselves. In most cases, it is possible to improve the quality of life of persons living with mental illness, often with remarkably good results. We all live with the consequences of not providing these services and cruelly stigmatizing our brothers and sisters who have these illnesses.
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Bob
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Rexistrau: 24 Feb 2003
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MensaxePublicao: Llu Avi 17, 2012 11:46 pm    Asuntu: Sandy Hook Elementary School Responder citando

Gracias, Marta, for your kind thoughts, and a heartfelt "amen" to Art's comments.

When I drive from New Haven to visit my brother in Niagara Falls, I usually take a route that brings me within 150 meters or less of the school, Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Bob
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Marta Elena Díaz García
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Rexistrau: 07 Set 2003
Mensaxes: 367
Llugar: Molleda. Corvera de Asturias

MensaxePublicao: Xue Avi 20, 2012 11:05 am    Asuntu: Problems with no easy answer Responder citando

Yes, Art, the problem around mental patients is a issue that affects many countries.

Here, in Spain laws changed around 1985 by closing those institutions where mental patients were interned. The alternative was the Involuntary Outpatient Treatment (IOT) with the aim to improve treatment compliance and to prevent not only the impairment of patients with severe mental illness but also the risk for them and others.

It is not still clear if this type of treatment is good or not. Some believe it does, but others say not.

Some mental patients are not able to decide about their treatments and then, the family has to take the decision. Controversies arise then because rights of the patients have to be considered. I think that it is a very sensitive matter.

And concerning weapons…..I do believe it is so difficult to eradicate as drug dealing. Governments should apply the full extent of the law, but they don’t. Why? Corruption? Politicians involved? May be. I don’t know. But the problem is there….and increasing.

Marta
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Art
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Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
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MensaxePublicao: Xue Avi 20, 2012 11:44 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Thanks for that information, Marta. I hadn't realized that the outpatient treatment was sometimes involuntary. Are there complaints about that?

Are drug dealing and guns an increasing problem in Spain? I remember the early 1980s as a rather tranquil time in Spain, perhaps because the Franco era was barely over.

Here in the US, there appears to be a willingness to tighten up our gun laws and perhaps ease up on our drug laws. There is a limit to how much we can do about guns, largely because so many Americans own guns and they tend to be very emotional about this issue. Oddly, even though we are a rather patriotic country, the argument I hear from the Right is that these private weapons are necessary in order to protect ourselves from the government. I suspect they also think they have to protect themselves from liberals, an idea strikes me as ridiculous. Those of us on the Left are too busy going to movies, checking Facebook, and reading books to be a threat to anyone! Of course, paranoia doesn't have much to do with reality, at least not until the paranoid individual acts on those fears, sometimes using guns. That's when we all feel a little paranoia.

Of course, there are governments in the world that cannot be trusted. And any government will have some corruption. But I don't see the US as having evil intent toward its citizens, although sometimes we do have to protest to get it to back down on issues of privacy and excessive corporate influence. Still, this raises a very difficult question. If an individual's political views cross a line into the realm of mental delusions, should society force that individual to get treatment? Should we require psychiatric assessments before issuing gun licenses and permits? Both ideas strike me as rational but unacceptable because of the great potential for abuse.

On the drug laws, there is much more discussion these days on decriminalizing use and regulating sales and production, especially of marijuana. Some states have already decriminalized marijuana and are setting up structures to regulate production and sales. The federal government continues to prosecute marijuana laws, so this is a serious governmental conflict. I think decriminalization and the new legal distribution is supposed to be for medical use only, but in practice those who aren't sick are also taking advantage of the law. I tend to believe that if we were to end our failed "War on Drugs" and decriminalize all drugs, we would end much of our crime and not increase use. We'd still have to criminalize driving or working under the influence, but that's a simply a safety issue. Some believe that decriminalization would provide legal employment for those now "working" in the drug world. I'm not that optimistic, but there is a great need for employment in our urban areas and for those with very poor educational levels.

Interestingly, there is a very strong association between mental illness and substance abuse, perhaps because those with mental problems use drugs and alcohol to "self-medicate." This also makes me think that decriminalizing drug use and providing better mental health care would contribute greatly to improving the quality of life in the US.
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Marta Elena Díaz García
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Rexistrau: 07 Set 2003
Mensaxes: 367
Llugar: Molleda. Corvera de Asturias

MensaxePublicao: Sab Avi 22, 2012 11:19 am    Asuntu: New way of fun Responder citando

Hi, Art:
I don’t know if I understood you well…. …did you say that in America those on the Right are the ones that have weapons while those on the Left are the ones dedicated to reading, cinema and other social issues?. I do think that any, either being on the Left or the Right, may have weapons, each one having their own justification. Sorry, Art, but the world is not in black and white.

It also surprised me the reason: “protection from the government”. I thought that the first “natural” aim was to protect ourselves from thieves, assailants and so on, but not from the government…..does it mean police? the president? the ministers? the army?....It seems very strange.
Here, there is not the problem with guns as in USA. They are more controlled although, you know, always one may have a gun without police knowledge but the problem is not at worrisome level.

Concerning drugs, I don’t believe that decriminalization is the way. We can buy freely alcohol and the alcoholism problem is not eradicated. In fact, it is a new problem with teenagers. Boys and girls (12-20 y.o.) enjoy with the “botellón” (a big bottle containing alcoholic drinks) , thus introducing themselves not only into the alcohol world but also into the drugs.

Although it is specifically prohibited to sell alcohol to those under 18 y.o., they can buy it in the supermarket and you can see during weekend lot of youngs with supermarket bags full of alcoholic drinks. Do you think these youngs are trying to “self-medicate”? I don’t. The concept of enjoyment has changed. If they don’t get really drunk, the week-end or the fiesta were very, very boring.

I do not agree with the idea in that those “working” in the drug world would accept a conventional work if it would be offered to them. No responsibilities, no duties, no a work schedule, no rules to keep, etc. all these limit their freedom. I think that most of these persons don't give value to the life, nor their nor the others.

Your theories are very courteous, but as we say in Spain, “el papel lo aguanta todo” (the paper withstand anything) that means that in theory it may work, but in practice we have to take into account the human nature.

Marta
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Art
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Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
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MensaxePublicao: Sab Avi 22, 2012 2:04 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

No, I didn't and wouldn't state it in the way you did. There are definitely folks on the Left with weapons (and lot of them) and folks on the Right without, but there is a tendency for weapons owners to tilt toward the Right, especially in how they vote. That shows up clearly in our voting. I also think there is a tendency for those on the Left to not understand other people's need to have a gun. This is why I said that those on the Left and Right are likely to enjoy different forms of entertainment. It's not is though there are crisp dividing lines. These are tendencies. My statement was not a matter of oppositional (black & white) thinking, as you claimed. It's simply the way it is here. You can see the statistics here:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

I don't think it was always this way in the US. When unions were strong, I would guess that a lot of union workers had guns, hunted, and voted Democratic (the party that usually leans to the Left). Of course, unions are much less powerful these days and there are fewer manufacturing jobs. I'm not sure about the timing, but I sense that the rise of automatic weapons along with greater levels of gun violence in the cities, perhaps in the 1960s and 1970s, led to efforts to control guns through limiting the kinds of weapons people could own and who could own them. We had some success with gun registration laws and a temporary ban on assault weapons. The backlash against gun control is probably related to the Democratic loss of the South when the party supported integration and racial equality.

It's a very complex issue, tied in with constitutional issues, social class, racial issues, and probably much more.

There has been a very well-organized effort by the gun industry and conservative organizations like the NRA to eliminate any form of gun control. Their argument has consistently been that guns are good protection and the only way to stop someone with a gun is to use a gun. Another arguments has been that people should be able to have whatever they want at home. "Your home is your castle." They've also said that the best guarantee of a free, democratic government is a well-armed citizenry and that the best defense against crime is a gun.

Many politicians have lost elections because they supported gun control. Republicans (the party that usually tilts to the Right) allied themselves with anti-gun control forces, like the NRA. Many Democrats did, too, but less so. For about four decades, politicians supporting gun control (on either the Right or the Left) have had a very difficult time getting elected or re-elected because the NRA and other groups targeted them for defeat. As a consequence, those who supported gun control have simply been silent. This appears to be changing now.

Yes, it is true that people have guns to protect themselves against thieves, but there is also a strong feeling among some Americans that patriots must be ready to defend themselves against an over-reaching government. I'm not sure how prevalent this is, although it's certainly a minority opinion. I hear about it from people I know who love conspiracy theories and are on the far-Right. There is plenty of info online about this.

The young people who drink so as to not feel bored are self-medicating because they are using the drug (alcohol in the case you mentioned) to feel differently. Maybe in earlier generations, they would have tried a different approach, like learning social skills so they could enjoy a conversation or playing sports. Either of those activities provide a natural chemically-induced high.

You're definitely right, however, that some young people drink so they don't feel bored. (Of course, there are others drinking to feel less anxious, too.) I see this same pattern of drinking to prevent boredom here in the US. It can and does lead to alcoholism and use of other drugs. But we already have a long history of trying to prohibit and criminalize drug use and it isn't working. Drugs are freely available on our streets. Depressingly high percentages of the bored are using them. It's clear that keeping drugs illegal isn't helping. It has turned the bored into criminals with police records, which makes it even more difficult for them to make the transition to a productive adult lifestyle.

What's the solution? It will have to be multifaceted. At the very least, we need education that excites kids about learning, jobs that provide satisfaction to people of any ability level, and social institutions that teach kids social skills so that they can participate in the joy of being in relationship with others. I think we're most lacking behind in the last two and doing fairly well with our schools.

In the US, many schools do a good job of making learning exciting for many of their students. In the good schools, those students who aren't enjoying learning probably have other problems that we need to address. The schools don't have enough resources for that.

As for the last two, the jobs available for the least able are pretty dismal and many of the social institutions that used to form kids are much less strong today, especially the churches. Schools can take on some of this last task of socializing kids, but they'd need a lot more support to do it well. Still, the investment would be worthwhile if it means that these kids will grow up to be healthy and productive.
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Marta Elena Díaz García
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Rexistrau: 07 Set 2003
Mensaxes: 367
Llugar: Molleda. Corvera de Asturias

MensaxePublicao: Sab Avi 22, 2012 3:49 pm    Asuntu: O.K. Responder citando

Hi Art,

Now I understand what you mean about weapons.

It is very sad that teenagers need alcohol to be happy.

Are the reasons the lack of imagination and too many things they really don't need (the new car in the T.V., the new play, the new tablet, the new phone, the new....) ????

Marta
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Bob
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Rexistrau: 24 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 1738
Llugar: Connecticut and Massachusetts

MensaxePublicao: Sab Avi 22, 2012 5:29 pm    Asuntu: What do I need? Responder citando

I'm happy to be at an age( 69) where I really need nothing that I don't already have. There are still toys I want, of course, but nothing I can't happily do without. The sailboat depends on obtaining a mooring space in Rockport. I've been on the waiting list for 14years, but it moves VERY slowly. The Harley motorcycle. an all black soft-tail fat boy. My "little sister" (woman I love with no sexual interest whatsoever) is holding one for me, but it actually belongs to her mother who is in her 80s and has advanced Alzheimer's disease. (Sorry, too hard to explain why an elderly woman has a seriously big Harley.)

Retired from a long and enjoyable career, enrolled in a program leading to an MFA in creative writing, no money worries. Life is good.
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Marta Elena Díaz García
Moderator


Rexistrau: 07 Set 2003
Mensaxes: 367
Llugar: Molleda. Corvera de Asturias

MensaxePublicao: Llu Avi 24, 2012 12:16 pm    Asuntu: The Preppers Responder citando

Hi,

It was a coincidence!. Yesterday I saw a TV program about The Preppers, the arms, the fear for a new world order (government), the end of the world, and some incidents that may be related with the book “The Turner Diaries”. I could understand even better what Art said.

The program really fraightened me, although one of the moderators tried to calm the audience saying that such radical-minded persons were only a minory. I am still affected, really.

Marta.
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4496
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Vie Avi 28, 2012 12:55 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Marta, after seeing The Preppers, you probably understand it better than I do! I'll have to watch for that program.

It is a small minority, but they are visible in the news media because of their willingness to act on their beliefs. Perhaps the man who shot the Danish teenagers on the island of Utoya, the US's Unibomber, the religious zealots who murder abortion clinic doctors, and the Nazi skinheads who attack Blacks, Jews, and gays are all thinking somewhat similarly. It is very disturbing. The good news, however, is that in spite of the gravity of these crimes, not many people will be directly affected by this kind of extremism. Supposedly, we are in a period of history that is safer than ever before:
http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html
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