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Published: Friday, 5/11/2001

Police shouldn't transport the mentally ill

I was saddened and concerned when I read the May 7 article about training Toledo police officers to deal with the mentally ill in order to prevent another tragedy like the 1999 shooting of John Napier, who was being transported by police to a psychiatric hospital.

In the article, Mr. Napier was described as “mentally disturbed,” but if you read the Aug. 11, 1999, Blade report, you will see that he was described as a quiet and hardworking family man who had no criminal record or history of violence. He is a good example of the type of person who should not be transported by armed police officers, but rather by trained mental health professionals.

I'm thankful that we have a well-trained police force in Toledo, and I know that the officers are fully capable of dealing with a violent individual, but as any mental health professional will tell you, most people who suffer from mental illness are not violent. Common sense will tell you that a paranoid person will become even more unstable when approached by armed, uniformed police officers, and that tax dollars would be better spent by expanding Rescue Mental Health Services, so that it can meet the growing demand for services. Police should only be called for violent individuals.

The Toledo-Lucas County Mental Health Board collects money from two tax levies, but, if you think about it, why should they spend money to transport mentally ill persons in crisis when the police will do it for free? Every minute that police officers spend transporting a nonviolent person to a mental health facility is one less minute that they will be on patrol in your neighborhood. Providing a free taxi service affects the response time of police officers. Think about that the next time you call to report a prowler.

RICHARD ARNOLD

Middlesex Drive

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Why do so many look at me with such contempt? Is it because I can't break what they consider my “nasty habit”?

Or is their look one of pity?

OK. So I do foul the air! It's not illegal to smoke. I have a right, I say. Don't we have freedom of choice? Besides, nobody is going to tell me what to do with my body.

Anyway, we all have to die someday, don't we?

So what if I throw my cigarette butts out the car window? Everybody else litters, don't they? Besides, the butts will eventually disintegrate into the ground.

“But what about those that don't land in the dirt?” you ask.

Oh, you're greatly upset, too, that I emptied my car's ashtray onto the street?

It'll blow away and, anyway, that's why I keep the window open - it's so I can drop the ashes outside.

Why, I remember once I dropped a lit cigarette on my lap and burned a hole in my good suit - ruined it and almost had an accident.

So you think if I'd give up smoking and put the money in a savings account, I could have myself a nice vacation at the end of the year. Well, I'll think about it.

By the way, got a match?

DORIS MEEK

Craigwood Road

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A belated thank you to The Blade for having Hank Harvey cover the LST-325 homecoming in Mobile, Ala. I had met Hank some years before his retirement when I was in the trucking industry in Toledo. We had a long conversation about the LST-325, going back to the problems with the State Department to the completion of the trip into Mobile.

The story that Hank compiled was by far the most accurate of any of the news coverage. More than 5,000 people were on hand for the arrival of the LST-325 into Mobile. Several officers of the United States LST Association based here in Toledo, along with family members, attended the arrival ceremony.

Dan Waterfield from BP Oregon, who helped make the arrangements for the fuel that returned the vessel from Greece, and John Neidermair, Jr., whose father designed the LSTs, were in attendance, as well as other VIPs.

One exciting thing for both of them was they were able to board the LST-325 at the sea buoy and come in with the crew. They were so impressed with the ship and the way the men conducted themselves. They told me it was one of the best times of their lives.

Thanks again to Hank Harvey and his old home “Toledo Blade” for a job well done.

MILAN M. GUNJAK

President

United States LST Association

Oregon

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When a journalist visits a prison to interview some notorious convict, I reject it as improper. I believe such interviews should be stopped. Anyone who has committed a crime and is serving time within our justice system should not be afforded a public audience. My opinion is that, regardless of who it is, convicts should be confined in accordance with the judge's sentence and should not even be given the benefit of answering questions posed by an interviewer.

Now you may be thinking, “Instead of writing to the Readers' Forum, why not write to the TV studio or the individual who conducts this program?”

But I am certain a single letter would have no effect on the situation. Thus, this letter permits me to express my thoughts with the hope that some readers of this letter will agree with this opinion.

OLAN D. SNAVELY

Sylvania

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The North American Earth Liberation Front (ELF, how cute) may or may not get around to taking responsibility for the arson of SUVs (sports utility vehicles) at a Eugene, Ore., auto dealer recently and a similar incident last summer.

ELF seems to believe that it is its right and responsibility to burn down anything that it feels symbolizes any kind of threat to Mother Earth. ELF has done untold damage to what the “unenlightened” foolishly believed was their own property, having bought and paid for it as they did.

Craig Rosebraugh is the unofficial “not really linked with the organization” spokesman for ELF who recently had his offices raided by various governmental agencies. I found it nauseatingly ironic that, when the media approached him for comment (as they always do), he was getting out of his SUV!

Of course, it was a Japanese product. God forbid that he would do anything to support the country where he was born, and continues to run a bakery, despite his cohorts' anti-capitalist philosophy.

PETER M. CROMWELL

Lakeside Drive

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I was disappointed that the new auto-racing movie Driven, by Sylvester Stallone, was only given a two-star rating. The movie, which takes the viewer rapidly around the world, is much better than that. It seems your reviewer got so caught up in criticizing Stallone's persona that he missed the point of the entire film, which is about setting tough goals and garnering the personal strength to see them through.

As for the more mature character Stallone plays, he demonstrates the kind of courage it takes to bounce back after life has led him down a dead-end street. In short, it's the pure fabric of what it is to be a man.

Incredibly, the movie is brought even closer to home with its climactic finish in our neighboring big city, Detroit. Under a bright sun, the cylinder-shaped Renaissance Building is readily recognizable, as is the Tigers' new baseball stadium. In fact, other than the awkwardness of the “ex's,” Stallone's Driven is action-packed, put together well, and is definitely worth seeing. Frankly, it was due a higher rating than given.

STEPHEN J. MOORE

Lewis Avenue

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This is for the Ohio people who have moved to Michigan. I'm so sorry they aren't happy. I didn't force or ask them to move here. We didn't need them here. Why didn't your Mayor Finkbeiner build a barbed-wire barricade at the state line so he could keep them in Toledo?

I'm a senior citizen and my ancestors were one of the two first families in the state. I'm happy here.

CAROLYN NEVER

Lambertville



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