Letters To The Editor


August 23, 2007

Learning to handle crises of mentally ill

The fatal shooting of a suicidal young man suffering from a bipolar disorder is one example of the kind of tragedies that occur throughout the country when police officers are not given the tools to prepare them to deal with persons with serious mental illness who are in crisis ("Suicidal man fatally shot by police," Aug. 20).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has long advocated that more police officers be trained to be members of Crisis Intervention Teams who know how to respond properly to the mentally ill.

CIT training gives police officers 40 hours of specialized instruction, including lessons about mental illnesses that teach officers to understand that mental illness is not a crime but a disease.

There are some CIT-trained officers in the Baltimore area.

But, clearly, we need more of this kind of training in Baltimore and throughout the state.

Lynn H. Albizo

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maryland.

Gaming could revive Pimlico Race Course

Instead of just focusing on slots, the General Assembly should contemplate the bigger picture ("Two distinct questions," editorial, Aug. 16).

If the state wants to raise dollars for its expenses and to preserve the historic Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, it needs to think outside the box and do more than neighboring states do for racing.

We shouldn't just think about slots but about gaming in general - including card games, roulette, craps and, of course, horse racing.

Let's put this all in one venue at Pimlico Race Course - and do it in an upscale, tasteful way that everyone can enjoy.

Just think how Pimlico could be restored to its past elegance by such a renovation, one that would keep the second jewel of the Triple Crown at its original site.

Some people say, "Who gives a darn about horse racing?"

Well, I care and so should anyone who loves history, horses, the life of racing and the preservation of open space.

Pimlico is the second-oldest race track operating in America.

The Preakness started in 1873, two years before the first Kentucky Derby. It is the only Triple Crown race still run at its original track, and it puts Baltimore on the map.

The city and the state should capitalize on the history, tradition, goodwill and income that can be generated by Preakness and the race track.

The alternative would be to admit that the state doesn't care about the income produced by the Preakness.

And if the state signals that it doesn't value the racing industry, there won't be one.

Betsy Hayes


The writer owns race horses stabled at Pimlico Race Course.

Isn't state lottery enough gambling?

I wholeheartedly agree that saving horse racing in Maryland and legalizing slots are very different issues ("Two distinct questions," editorial, Aug. 16).

Personally, I don't care if the racing industry continues in the state. But I do care about the dangers of slots.

How can we ignore the negative effects of gambling? Isn't the state-run lottery enough gambling, especially as its sales last year topped $1.5 billion?

Just think about the negative social consequences of gambling on individuals and families in the state - and multiply those many times over if slots become legal in Maryland.

Do we really want to go the way other states have gone and make our state's fiscal health depend on an addiction?

I certainly don't.

Judi Keys


Outsourcing jobs imperils our health

Maybe if American businesses had kept their manufacturing plants in the United States instead of moving production to China ("Rising Tide of Unsafe Imports," Aug. 15), we wouldn't be so fearful for our health and that of our children and pets.

P. Ditzel

Glen Burnie

Fatty foods raise the risk of cancer

As a registered dietitian, I am thrilled that the President's Cancer Panel is finally addressing the impact of obesity on the risk of cancer ("Cancer panel urges raising tobacco taxes," Aug. 17).

This message desperately needs to be heard on Capitol Hill, where Congress continues to subsidize foods that contribute to an increased risk of obesity, cancer and other diseases.

The government still spends billions of dollars funding the production and consumption of sugary foods and high-fat meat and dairy products that contribute to obesity. And obesity is a serious risk factor for cancer.

Fatty foods can also boost the hormones that cause cancer cells to grow. In fact, studies have shown that people who regularly eat red or processed meat are up to 50 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than those who avoid meat.

Following a plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best defenses against cancer. But these healthy foods receive less than 1 percent of federal food subsidies.

Congress can do a lot more to help Americans prevent cancer, and it should start by cutting subsidies for unhealthy foods.

Jennifer K. Reilly


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