Money can pay bills and buy things but it does not erase pain and memory (“Abuse payout didn’t ease victim’s rocky path,” Sept. 1). The primary way money will help clergy sexual abuse victims is if they use the money to pay for therapy. Therapy is expensive, but it can be helpful.
I was abused by a relative when I was 8. I had insurance that helped pay for the therapy for a few years. I now pay the cost out of my own funds, but it is worth it. I’m 74, and even after the therapy I have occasional flashbacks. But I know how to handle them. My body still holds the memories. The pain is still there, and when I flash back, I feel the full impact. There are times when I sadly think about the abuse. I don’t attempt to repress the memories. I let them come, and they do go away until another day.
Those do-good idiots who say that time heals all wounds don’t know what they are talking about. Since I accept and acknowledge the abuse and the aftermath, I sometimes can be a person who helps other men who were abused. We share a fellowship that changed our lives, usually not for the better. Also, I found that I needed to forgive the person. He had been dead for several years, but it helped.
Robert Gamble, Minneapolis
TAXES AND SPENDING
Name a problem, and some folks just want to throw money at it
A Sept. 1 letter writer asked those who are concerned about the disadvantage of the black community if they were willing to pay more taxes to address the problem. Raising taxes is not going to have any effect on the racial attitudes that are present in this country. The writer also commented that anyone not willing to raise their voice in support of the black community may as well vote Republican, implying that members of that party do not care about the issue. I am a fiscal conservative who has a lifelong record of helping and supporting black people when I have the chance, and I deplore any instance of racial prejudice. I resent the implication that those of my political persuasion are less concerned than liberals on this issue. Jesus did not teach his disciples to send their money to Rome so the Romans would help the poor; Jesus taught his disciples to help the poor. He would say the same today. You do not have to send your money to Washington in the vain hope that Washington will help the minority communities; do what you can on your own behalf to help the people of any race or color who are disadvantaged.
Gerard Olson, Bloomington
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I find it both fascinating and disturbing that American society continues the shift from personal to collective responsibility for most every aspect of life. An Aug. 31 letter writer suggests that instead of following the “cumbersome” process of tax credits to mitigate the cost of school supplies, others should absorb whatever costs are required to subsidize public education. Of course, the layers of six-figure-salary administrators and district pensions might be a culprit rather than the backpack supplies of students.
When did it become not the responsibility of parents to provide the basic tools of education: paper, pencils, crayons, Kleenex, snack, lunch money, etc.? For me, a former single parent of grade-school children, the safety nets (read: safety nets, not “system”) of subsidized lunches and after-school care were temporary blessings from which I worked hard to free my family. Why is it society’s responsibility for the choice (read: choice) others make to procreate? Perhaps government should stick its busy little fingers into birth control instead of subsidization and entitlement programs. Funding backpacks of schoolchildren is a microcosm of this planet’s macrocosm environmental and social disaster: its population. Before we repeatedly look to others to solve problems at point C, perhaps we should start with the problem at point A.
Vicki Roberts, Eden Prairie
There is more damage being done than is acknowledged
I write to add my voice to recent letters and commentaries about the ramped-up airplane noise in the southwest metro area. As a physician scientist, I am interested in interactions between the brain and the immune system. During more than three decades of my career, a large body of scientific evidence emerged showing that stress impairs the immune system — an immunodeficiency that can increase the risk of certain types of infection and malignancy. And loud noise — in the range of the 140 decibels generated by an airplane flying 100 feet overhead — is used as a stressor in animal models.
Most of the medical attention on the effects of noise on health has been focused on hearing loss. (Even the FAA agrees that noise levels above 85 decibels are associated with damage to the inner ear.) Obviously, there is a lot more to health than good hearing. Environmental-impact statements need to examine more broadly the impact of the loss of peace and quiet on health and well-being. Clearly, it is time for the medical profession to sound off on this issue!
Phillip Peterson, Minneapolis
Walker was alive during the Cold War era; does he understand it?
My father, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1967, was born in the midst of World War II. His father was nearly killed fighting for Germany in a war he disagreed with, and didn’t live long enough to see reunification. I remember what it’s like to look across a border at heavily armed guards staring coldly back and wonder which of us was more afraid. I’d like to ask Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who wants us to consider building a wall between the U.S. and Canada (“Walker: Northern wall is a legit idea,” Aug. 31) what his justification is, beyond perceived threats of terrorism, for further fortifying our borders. If he thinks he is entitled to do so simply because his family has been here longer, I’d like to tell him what it was like to cross through the Iron Curtain in Cold War-era Europe and look back at the other side. Even though I knew I would be able to get back in (or out?), even as a kid, it was clearly wrong that others didn’t have the freedom I did. The scars of divided Germany still show despite the demolition of the wall. Do we really want to live in a nation that walls others out and ourselves in?
Chris Bubser, Minneapolis
POLICE AND THE USE OF FORCE
The nightstick: A better way to subdue a dangerous person?
Whatever happened to the police officer’s nightstick/baton as a method of controlling a potentially harmful individual? As we regularly hear about police encounters with unarmed people or people brandishing knives that end up with officers shooting the person, and then witness the public outcry about such incidents, it makes me wonder if officers are even taught how to use this valuable piece of equipment.
As a young officer in the 1970s, I was taught how to use my nightstick as a defensive deterrent — an option for controlling possible or imminent violent behavior. Police officers are paid to put themselves in harm’s way and, in my opinion, should be willing to take a personal risk by withholding the use of deadly force in situations such as mentioned earlier in favor of trying to use their nightstick to incapacitate such a potentially dangerous person first. Better to possibly break someone’s arm than end their life, in my opinion, and I’m sure in the opinion of the public, the person, the person’s family, the officer, the officer’s family and the police department.
Tom Unstad, Lakeville