- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 16, 2001

Bomb plot against Arab Americans no reflection of Jewish attitudes

As a Jew, I react with particular disgust and revulsion over seemingly credible allegations of a plot by Jewish Defense League (JDL) members to bomb Arab Americans and Arab-American facilities in the United States.

If those charged with this act are found guilty, they should be allotted the harshest penalty permissible by law. Their acts constitute terrorism that is every bit as reprehensible as the monstrous attacks of September 11.

It is important for the world to know that Jewish fanaticism in the mold of what has been fostered through the years by the JDL consumes only a minuscule number of us.

Those who would seek to victimize innocents of any group are anathema to the fundamental elements of Judaism; to us, they are pariahs.


OREN M. SPIEGLER

Pittsburgh

Small penalty for infanticide is tragic, but hardly surprising

Deroy Murdock's Dec. 11 Commentary piece, "Small victims, small penalties," shows understandable disbelief and fury over the punishments increasingly accorded perpetrators of infanticide.

Personally, though, I find the trivialization of the murder of a child nine, 10 or 20 months after his or her conception no more shocking than the trivialization of the murder of a child one, two, three or five months after conception.

Does anyone doubt that leniency toward the former crime is, in fact, a consequence of leniency toward the latter, and does anyone doubt that the scale of this disregard for life will grow?


LARRY E. STANFEL

Alexandria

Safety not a fair trade-off for hunters' idea of fun

The hunting community has access to free advertising and promotion through outdoor writers such as The Washington Times' very own Gene Mueller, who used his latest column not only to advertise National Rifle Association stocking stuffer videos, but also to denigrate a series of public service commercials that the Fund for Animals is running ("Fund for Animals' deer commercials are disingenuous," Sports, Dec. 12). The commercials give motorists tips on how to avoid car collisions with deer during hunting season.

Mr. Mueller has a problem with the advertisements because the fund does not sugercoat hunting season, but rather rightly portrays it as the deadly sport that it is. The commercials point out that accidents increase during hunting season when hunters are chasing the animals. Erie Insurance Co. reports that deer-and-vehicle collisions are five times higher than normal on both the opening day of buck season and doe season. This is a serious public safety issue that should not be shot down by hunters such as Mr. Mueller.

Hunters love to portray themselves as saintly, altruistic saviors of wildlife, who never trespass, never drink and save the world from deer overpopulation. They have Mr. Mueller to promote them that way. Thankfully, the animals and nonhunters can depend on organizations such as ours to portray the ugly side of hunting.

Along with the loss of millions of animal lives, hunting also impacts people. We get daily calls from people who cannot get hunters off their property. They are victims of harassment, and not a hunting season passes without the tragic loss of human life due to careless hunters. If the advertisements help save human and animal lives alike, then they are working.

Mr. Mueller and his hunting cronies will undoubtedly continue to hunt for recreation, but concerned citizens will soon recognize that their safety is not a fair trade-off for someone else's idea of fun.


HEIDI PRESCOTT

National Director

The Fund for Animals

Silver Spring

Homosexual rights group intolerant of Salvation Army

I am saddened to read that Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, or P-FLAG, is discriminating against the Salvation Army in such an extreme manner ("P-FLAG targets Salvation Army," Dec. 10).

Evidently, P-FLAG has decided to harass the Salvation Army and cause monetary damage to its good cause because P-FLAG members have opposing beliefs. That P-FLAG would go to the extent of printing fake money to put in Salvation Army kettles demonstrates P-FLAG's intolerance for anyone who holds a different point of view. Where's the tolerance here? I urge P-FLAG to show compassion to everyone, including those who do not agree with P-FLAG's doctrine.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), a nonprofit group representing family members and friends of homosexuals and lesbians, promotes unconditional love of gay men and women without demanding that any American affirm or accept homosexual behavior.

We urge P-FLAG to rethink its dangerous policy of intolerance. We want the Salvation Army and the needy they serve to know that not all families of homosexuals approve of P-FLAG's hostile act.


REGINA GRIGGS

National Director

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX)

Alexandria

Mental illnesses are real'

A Dec. 9 Commentary column in The Washington Times focused on the parity of mental illness and questioned the reality of mental illness, ostensibly arguing against parity with the premise that mental illness does not exist as a medically treatable disorder ("Thumbs on the parity scale for psychiatrists," Dec. 9).

I encourage anyone who doubts the reality of mental illness to talk with a parent of a child with schizophrenia or manic depression. Mental illnesses are real, treatable brain diseases that require diagnosis and treatment by trained physicians.

The editorial is a slap in the face at those among us who have mental illnesses. It essentially says that people with mental illness do not deserve appropriate medical treatment. An astounding 98 percent of private health insurance plans discriminate against patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses by requiring benefits unequal to those of other physical illnesses, such as higher co-payments or allowing fewer doctor visits. Parity laws are meant to prevent health insurance plans from discriminating against individuals suffering with mental illnesses.

It is astonishing that people still revert to the Dark Ages to perpetuate the stigma associated with mental illness. It is time to recognize that mental illnesses are real and that they respond to appropriate medical treatment.


DR. RICHARD K. HARDING

President

American Psychiatric Association

Washington

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