Cuomo’s gun law only applies to mentally ill who are dangerous
Your opinion writer, Daniel Weaver, goes ballistic against Gov. Cuomo’s gun law, comparing the governor to a fascist leader who would make the trains run on time [Jan. 27 Gazette].
Weaver also has weird ideas that Cuomo got the bill rammed through because [by mixing gun control with increased control of the mentally ill] he “was trying to appease legislators who support the NRA,” and passage of the SAFE Act “has only increased the stigma of mental illness.” Both assumptions are wrong.
Weaver fails to look at the wording in the law and understand its intent. The fact is there is a small fringe of very dangerous people among the psychiatrically ill who pose a serious threat to the rest of society. These individuals are the ones most likely to carry out rampage killings like the shooting of Connecticut schoolchildren, or push people in front of subway trains in New York City. It’s the intent of the law for doctors and therapists to intercept those delusional people who present to them with expressions so psychotic and threatening they have to be reported.
The wording in the law makes clear we are not talking about random expressions of those being interviewed: “Mental health professionals will be required to report to mental health officials when there is reason to believe a patient is likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to themselves or others.”
State and federal laws already establish the duty of professionals to report individuals who threaten direct harm to others, stemming from the Tarasoff law in California in 1976. That case established that “protection of the confidential character of patient-psychotherapist communications must yield to the extent to which disclosure is essential to avert danger to others.” In other words, the practitioner has a duty to the intended victim as well as the patient, and the duty to save a life is paramount.
Whether the new law will deter some people from coming in for an interview isn’t clear. It’s not as crucial as saving a life.
The writer is co-president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Schenectady.
What does future hold for scouts who are different?
As a Boy Scout from a local troop, I have been following the story involving the ban of gay members in scouting by reading both David Crary’s Jan. 29 article, “Boy Scouts considering end to no-gays policy,” and the Jan. 30 article, “Move to allow gays casts doubt on Boy Scouts’ future.”
A few years ago when I learned that gays are excluded from the Boy Scouts of America [BSA], I became disappointed in the organization that I have belonged to for nearly a decade. I am let down that the group that filled my childhood with teachings on tolerance, patience and good citizenship is only now considering ending their ban on one of the groups of people they have excluded from participating in scouting for the past century.
I wonder if the BSA’s consideration to repeal the policy is truly a moral change of heart for its top national leaders, or a tactic to get back the donations cut off by the companies that are in protest to the ban. I would like to think it’s the former.
The other group that has always been excluded from scouting is atheists, people who don’t believe in any god. As an atheist scout, I am lucky to belong to a more tolerant and lenient troop, but I still sometimes feel like I don’t belong and that I have to hide that part of myself; something that I can relate to gay scouts.
Although being an atheist has not hurt my progression through the ranks thus far, I am uncertain how it may impact me if I were to reach Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting.
In a way, I am unsatisfied that the ban will only be lifted for the gay scouts, but I am glad for them, and I am optimistic that this will be a step in the direction of opportunity for all who are looking to join scouting.
Sch’dy getting nowhere with rental certificates
Re Feb. 10 article,“Rental inspection changes pulled for revision”: The city of Schenectady is beating a dead horse when it comes to the rental certificate law or getting more out of the taxpayer.
The rental certificate ordinance was adopted more than 20 years ago to raise revenue and provide a better quality life for tenants and neighborhoods. An inspection was $250. Since then, less than 25 percent of all rental units are in compliance. The only real compliance is the public assistance tenants, who must provide a rental certificate from the landlord.
The only good thing about having a rental certificate is if you end up with a bad tenant, have a crime committed on your property or have a fire. This law really has done nothing to improve the city overall. Over the years with little compliance, the city required all landlords to register with the city. Example: give phone number, home address and appoint a manager if you live outside of the county. Again this brought very little results.
Then the city raised the fee to $50 and required even landlords who live in the building to get a rental certificate. After that, they required all landlords who apply for a rental certificate to provide proof of at least $25,000 in insurance. You can probably guess what happened there.
Now the city wants to hit all the units of six or more annually for $250 plus $25 per unit. That’s like all the restaurants in the area started serving bad food and then raising their prices. After meeting with the new landlord group SLIC [Schenectady Landlords Influencing Change], more time will be spent “tweaking” this proposal after much opposition.
We do not have a safety epidemic. Schenectady really has a problem with foresight! The city severely needs to address its “tax fairness,” spending, revenue from the state, and attracting investors and families who want to live their dream in this city. Doesn’t this mayor get it?
I urge all city residents to call the mayor and City Council and let your voice be heard!
The writer is a Schenectady landlord.
Better uses for donor $$ than promoting betting
Re Feb. 8 article, “Big race bet promotion set” [sponsored by Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson]: I just have to express my anger. Granted this couple has been very giving and generous to the city of Saratoga Springs. But come on — giving money away for four weeks to gamble at the Raceway?
If they want to “blow money,” I can think of a lot of ways. There are many churches that provide year-round to the needy. Food pantries, homeless shelters and hospice homes all run on donations. I am sure that each of us must know a family who would love to have this kind of money to spend.
School clothes in September, fill up the cupboards and freezer for a month. Pick any family and give of yourself. Take them shopping and you will see how much they appreciate the much-needed expenses paid.
What kind of a example are we setting for our youth, and possibly encouraging a gambling addition?
Stories of sacrifice and selfishness in Amsterdam
If newspapers are history, then the Feb. 7 edition revealed Amsterdam at its worst and at its best.
One “son” [David Smith] was seen taking everything he could get [“Partners guilty in fraud case”]; another, [Dr. Thomas Catena] giving everything he can give [“Cantena’s Africa medical work cited”].
The rest of us fall in the middle, but we can learn from both.
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