Slings and Arrows
Editor: Referring to the article, "If Hamlet Had Prozac," (Nov. 27) Diane Oklata Wood should do more research before she gazes into the science of psycopharmacology and condemns those suffering from clinical depression as people trying to escape life's sorrows by taking a pill. Anti-depressants do not alter one's awareness, leading depressed individuals to believe the world is a wonderful place. Drugs like Prozac synthesize chemicals in the human brain that allow for normal brain functioning.
People who have clinical depression don't "get happy" after taking Prozac. They return to a normal emotional state where they can function with all those who don't suffer from unusual brain chemistry. Believe me, taking Prozac does not exempt anyone from the pain of living. Death, divorce, separation, economic misfortune, disease are the experiences that motivate the human race to change. Prozac and other anti-depressant medications have restored those incapacitated by depression so they can take positive steps to change when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune come their way.
Prayers for the Lawmakers
Editor: In regard to members of the Maryland General Assembly bemoaning the fact that their salary increase is a law that cannot be changed, so be it.
But please let the legislators pay the $20,000 for coffee and bottled water out of their own pockets, as everyone else does, and pay clergy to open their sessions themselves.
This brand of thinking is one of the things that has gotten this state into the financial mess it is in now.
Wake up and smell the coffee; at least they should have paid for it.
Editor: I firmly believe in both fiscal responsibility and separation church and state. But I fear our legislators have gone too far in both areas by cutting out the chaplain's stipend for opening prayers ("State Can't Even Afford Prayers," The Sun, Dec. 4).
After years of watching its members' antics, I've concluded that, if ever there was an organization which needed guidance from the Almighty, it would have to be the Maryland General Assembly.
David L. Spivey.
City That Can Do
Editor: Thank you, thank you, for your editorial of Nov. 23, "Keeping City Libraries Open." I have been deeply disturbed by the mayor's proposed budget cuts affecting libraries and am greatly relieved to hear of alternative budget measures, i.e. city cable, the Mayor's Commission on Art and culture, festival and parades.
Most importantly, the "can do" spirit of volunteerism is alive and well. As always, necessity is the mother of invention. All of Baltimore's children deserve their books. We must not deny them the opportunity that Enoch Pratt made available so many years ago. These children are our responsibility and our future. Let's first put our priorities in order. Then we have a good shot at being the "City That Reads."
arbara P. Katz
Editor: I said goodbye to my neighborhood librarian recently. A year veteran of the Pratt system and a valued resource for my family and community, she is one of over 40 library employees being laid off. And she's the only librarian at our branch.
''Baltimore: The City That Reads.'' I can't imagine a more noble goal.
''Baltimore: The City With Unimaginably Deep Problems.'' And they are worsening.
What is the long-term cure? Undoubtedly, education. But we're closing our troubled school system for a week. And the other key element in our city's educational and intellectual life, the library, is being decimated.
I read in your newspaper that the mayor has asked the library's director to determine how many branches a city of our size needs. Being concerned with our troubled city's future, the answer may be more branches than we have now . . . and certainly the funds necessary to operate them properly and reach out to our young people.
Now is the time for the city government to clearly outline its priorities, because Enoch Pratt's gift to us all is being crippled.
And it's time for more individual and community support of the library, a gift we have taken for granted for too long.
Joseph C. Sullivan.
Editor: In the "City That Reads," the Enoch Pratt Free Library has been an innovating, creative institution that has provided successful partnerships with schools, literacy and G.E.D. classes. The library promotes a love of reading and is a valuable source for research for all of the citizens of the state.
The Pratt system receives about 1 percent of the total city budget, but their layoffs amount to 8 percent. The library was already under-staffed. The loss of 41 employees is very serious.
Enoch Pratt Free Library has been more seriously affected than any other city agency.