SAFE Act will help keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill
The Sunday Gazette’s April 14 article, “SAFE Act notification under fire,” is an unbalanced account of the arguments for and against the governor’s anti-gun law that fails to present the side of those advocates in favor.
The reason the new law is so important for our safety is that individuals with dangerous delusions and hallucinations cannot get into a hospital bed for the care they need in this state. New York has one of the most restrictive involuntary treatment laws in the nation, and this has caused a string of tragedies for families and their mentally ill adult children over the past two decades or more.
At the relatives’ support groups and from the NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness of Schenectady] network of families, I’ve heard endless testimony from parents about the failure of authorities to act when someone they love is behaving dangerously.
Some people, a small percentage of the seriously mentally ill, cannot control their delusions. They are the ones who are going to hurt or kill themselves or someone else. We need laws that help in any way possible to identify them and bring them into treatment.
Without more permissive laws to admit these people into treatment, we witness a long string of tragic and violent episodes involving delusional mentally ill persons. We shudder every time the newspapers report another incomprehensible shooting. Parents across America have pleaded with authorities about the violent [tendencies] of a son or daughter, husband or father, to no avail. The commitment laws block the avenue to treatment, and those individuals finally work out their delusions in ways that none of us want.
Besides this, the SAFE Act strengthens Kendra’s Law, the most important way someone with a history of repeat hospitalization or jailing can get priority for outpatient mental health treatment. Kendra’s is a proven formula for reducing further incidence of violence and hospitalization.
Remember, people in this country are fed up by the lack of good mental health services, and they want action to curb the violence. New York’s SAFE Act will restrict guns for sale, tighten background checks and help identify the small number of people capable of acting on their dangerous delusions.
The writer is co-president of NAMI Schenectady.
Was cop’s road rage really a case of ‘roid’ rage?
All police should be tested for drugs and steroids.
The April 19 Gazette story of Schenectady Det. John Hotaling was sickening. Accused of pulling a gun on two Glenville residents in a fit of road rage, he’s been arrested and suspended and awaits his day in court. But this act of aggression by an officer is not an isolated incident; is it indicative of a larger, more pervasive problem in law enforcement?
It seems as though every few months there’s a new case of assault or misconduct by off-duty, hot-headed police against undeserving victims whose only crime was making the officer angry. I’m not sorry when I say a few bad apples spoil it for the bunch. This is completely unacceptable. They should be in complete control at all times.
Why does this happen at all? One possibility that needs to be explored is drug use in the police force. New York City was home to a major steroid ring involving police several years ago, where the investigation was ground to a halt by the apparent suicide of the pharmacist who had allegedly supplied the law enforcement with steroids illegally. Very convenient, right? So much for that investigation.
Police are the people entrusted to enforce the laws. They work for us, they are not above the law. Make them submit to regular, random and mandatory drug screenings.
Animals held in captivity wouldn’t survive in wild
Re April 22 article, “Sounds of spring: Calls for mates fill the night”: I just would like to clarify a point in the spring peeper article.
The animals I keep permanently are not “pets,” but animals used for education. They are animals that would not survive in the wild for various reasons, such as not native or too badly injured to be released.
It is illegal to keep any reptile or amphibian native to New York state without a special license. They require very specific care and most taken from the wild die in the first year.
I would never take a healthy animal from the wild and keep it captive. It is too cruel to take an animal from its natural habitat and put it in a “box.” Let them stay wild.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.