Don’t stigmatize depression
Re “Suicidal behavior seen in co-pilot,” (Page A1, March 31): Those of us working in the mental health field see people diagnosed with depression every day. We are well-versed in this illness. That the pilot who committed the horrendous act recently was apparently once diagnosed with depression is a characteristic as irrelevant as stating he had brown hair or spoke German.
The majority of violent offenders have never sought mental health treatment, and the majority of the people who do seek treatment are not violent. Furthermore, those who commit suicide rarely do so in conjunction with murder. Nationwide, more people die annually from suicide than from murder.
Clearly this pilot was disturbed, and what he did was evil beyond measure. Maybe people should have noticed some signs of odd or even violent behavior. Or perhaps, like many mass murderers, he kept that well-hidden.
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There are practical ways we should try to prevent this atrocity from ever recurring, such as the protocol of having two people in the cockpit at all times. But to use the mental health system as a tool to weed out people with evil propensities or predict someone’s behavior is to stigmatize and condemn anyone seeking treatment as a potential criminal.
Jill M. Lopez, Auburn
Jesus and inclusion
Re “Faith of exclusion is not the only faith there is” (Viewpoints, Leonard Pitts, April 1): Many Christians see Jesus and the world very differently from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his political allies. Central to the Jesus narrative is his radical inclusion of everyone who was typically excluded from respectable society in his time. Jesus lived and worked in Galilee, a community well known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. Jesus used heretical Samaritans and women as role models, and he deliberately ate with sinners, prostitutes and other marginalized people. He sought out lepers and poor people to declare his message of radical inclusion. At every turn, he challenged exclusive religious patriarchy.
Surely everyone has the right to believe as they will and the right to associate with those of like mind, but they cannot use the name of Jesus to exclude. The Bible is clear: exclusionary religion has no place in the community of the followers of Jesus.
Rev. Alan Jones, Carmichael
Law does not discriminate
Re “Indiana’s Pence sets back national GOP” (Editorial, March 31): The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not, as The Bee contends, “codify discrimination against gays.”
The Indiana law would provide guidance to state courts, directing them to balance religious freedom against competing interests under the same legal standard that applies throughout most of the land. It is anything but a license to discriminate, and it should not be mischaracterized on that basis.
The bill would establish a general legal standard, the “compelling interest” test, for evaluating laws and governmental practices that impose substantial burdens on the exercise of religion. This same test already is federal law.
The federal law was passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. While The Bee acknowledges that 19 states have a religious freedom act, 10 other states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar strict scrutiny level of protection.
Edward Speegle, Gold River
The simple truth
Re “Censorship of evil idea is wrong” (Capitol & California, Dan Walters, March 27): I can’t believe Dan Walters is so blinded by ideology he can’t see the simple truth: It is illegal to make a contract for a criminal purpose, and that’s not suppression of free speech. Likewise, it should be illegal to make a law for a criminal purpose.
William S. Caple, Sacramento
Water conservation is a joke
I called the Sacramento Suburban Water District on Monday to report the apartment complex across the street had their sprinklers on in the middle of the afternoon. I was told that watering on Monday was prohibited and they would look into it.
On Tuesday, the sprinklers were on again at the same time. When I called Tuesday, I was told I needed to provide the address to the apartment complex – something the person on Monday was able to look up on her own. Further, I was told the apartment complex may be on a Tuesday watering schedule, although watering during the day is also prohibited. Then I was told that Sac Suburban had increased allowed watering days from two days a week to three. Lastly, I was told they employ one person to enforce water conservation at this time.
If the average person trying to do the right thing by reporting water waste gets this kind of run-around, why bother?
Margaret Williams, Sacramento
Expensive traffic ticket
I recently received my first traffic ticket in 50 years when I was caught by a camera after stopping at a three-way red light at 16th and W streets at 4:20 a.m. and safely turning left. I don’t dispute the ticket but was shocked that the cost was almost $600. I was able to pay, but this is an unusual and unjust cost for a first-time offender, a cost that would create serious consequences for most families or elderly, consequences that might include going hungry, loss of housing or even imprisonment, if unpaid. A progressive fine beginning at a lower amount or sliding scale based on income would be fair. Fines are to correct drivers, not be a revenue source for the city.
Carol A. Voyles, Sacramento
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