- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 30, 2004

The importance of trust

Many thanks to Tony Blankley for reprinting his excellent Nov. 15, 2000, Op-Ed, (“Democracy in peril,” Op-Ed, Wednesday), in which he wrote, “The streams of relativism, irony, ignorance, ridicule, ahistoricism, media fatuity, excessive lawyering, hyper-partisanship and power-lust have formed a mighty river of deconstruction that — before our teared eyes — is washing away, at a frightening pace, 200 years of American self-government.”

I recently participated in a postmortem by the National Center for Critical Incident Analysis on the March 11 Madrid terrorist attack. The organization concluded that the most important lesson that we can learn from that attack is that there was a breakdown in trust between the government and the governed.

We must resolve that the upcoming election will not result in a breakdown of trust between the people and their government. Such trust is essential to preserving democracy in America, Spain or elsewhere in the world.



LT. GEN. EDWARD L. ROWNY Army (retired)

Former special adviser

to President Reagan

Washington

Kerry playing for the cameras

Casey Anderson and Americans for Gun Safety miss the mark in the letter to the editor “On Bush and Kerry on guns” (Thursday).

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, has voted more than 50 times against law-abiding gun owners in the past 20 years.

Mr. Kerry voted to close off hundreds of thousands of acres to hunting in California’s Mojave Desert. He’s even gone so far as to vote to ban much ammunition used by deer hunters. His so-called Sportsman’s Bill of Rights is a pathetic last-minute attempt during the campaign to hide his record.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals supports Mr. Kerry. This is the same group that tells parents not to give milk to their children because it promotes cruelty to animals. Are we to believe this radical anti-hunting group would back a true “hunter,” as Mr. Kerry claims to be?

As we’ve seen through the years, the timing of the gun-control lobby is shameless. Days after the September 11 attacks, anti-gun politicians attempted to exploit our national tragedy to further their anti-gun sentiments. Mr. Kerry was one of those politicians.

Mr. Kerry earned his National Rifle Association “F” rating through anti-gun votes and public statements. The NRA is nonpartisan; we support hundreds of Democratic candidates at the federal, state and local levels, but we will never endorse a candidate who opposes law-abiding gun owners and hunters.

Like a child dressed up for Halloween, Mr. Kerry’s costume choice this year is camouflage. He’s playing “hunter” for the camera — but not for America. Gun owners and hunters will see through his disguise Nov. 2.

CHRIS W. COX

Executive director

Institute for Legislative Action

National Rifle Association

Fairfax

Go slow on mental health screening

Michael F. Hogan’s letter (“Long-term study needed,” Oct. 21) accuses Sheldon Richman of misstatements and “misrepresentations” in his Oct. 17 forum (“Bush’s Brave New World”). I contend that the misrepresentations are not coming from Mr. Richman, but from Mr. Hogan.

Despite Mr. Hogan’s protestations to the contrary, the New Freedom Commission (NFC) clearly wants universal mental health screening, recommending “screening for mental disorders … across the life span.”

Mr. Hogan himself admits that he wants universal screening but that there are problems with it. Psychiatric Times noted, “Hogan himself has strong feelings about the need for much more thorough screening of children. But he acknowledged that ‘science and public opinion’ have not advanced to the point where universal mental health screening is acceptable.”

There is much agreement that screening is scientifically unsupportable. The authors of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual call mental health diagnostic criteria “subjective” and “social constructions.”

The NFC treatment recommendations include lauding the Texas Medication Algorithm Project that is used in other states and pushed by Mr. Hogan in Ohio.

This is despite the fact that members of TMAP were heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry to recommend drugs like the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. SSRIs are more expensive, not effective in children in 19 of 22 studies, and have severe side effects, including suicidal thoughts and attempts. The suicidality combined with lack of effectiveness caused the Food and Drug Administration to finally require this month its strongest drug warnings, although such data has long been available. While laudable that the NFC calls for study of the long-term effects of psychotropic drugs, nowhere does it mention any of these other problems.

Both Mr. Hogan and the NFC are rightly concerned about suicide. However, suicide is never once mentioned as a possible side effect of the drugs recommended.

The report also fails to mention the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force study showing that screening is useless in preventing suicide.

Mr. Hogan is right that the commission never calls for mandatory treatment. However, neither he nor the report acknowledge or condemn the numerous instances of coercion across the nation.

These incidents where parents have been threatened and charged with child abuse for refusing medication have inspired more than 20 state legislatures and the Congress to introduce or pass measures to prohibit coercion.

Mr. Hogan’s support of voluntary programs and parental consent rings hollow, as well. The phrase “parental consent” appears once and the word “voluntary” appears not at all in the NFC report. But if he truly is in favor of voluntary parental consent, then he should soundly endorse Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s bill, the Let Parents Raise their Kid’s Act, HR 5236.

Given the very real problems of already existing coercion, subjective criteria, dangerous and ineffective medication, and the failure of screening to prevent suicide, none of which are covered in the NFC report, Congress would be wise to withhold the $44 million requested for state grants to implement the NFC recommendations.

Whatever good may come from the other recommendations is completely overshadowed by the loss of freedom and damage that would come from labeling and drugging potentially millions of children based on these unsupportable screening and treatment programs.

DR. KAREN R. EFFREM

Alliance for Human Research Protection Board of Directors

International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology Board of Directors

Plymouth,Minn.

Russian Jewish support for Bush

In response to Michael Taube’s view that Jewish support for President Bush is growing (“The roots of a switch,” Op-Ed, Thursday), the trend is even more pronounced among Russian Jewish voters in the United States.

In an October survey by the American Jewish Committee of registered Russian Jewish voters in the United States, 56 percent of those surveyed indicated they would vote for President Bush, only 18 percent for John Kerry.

This contrasts dramatically with the group’s September survey of American Jews at large showing only 24 percent support for Bush, 69 percent for Mr. Kerry. For those who experienced the horrors of communism and anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union, a whopping 84 percent of Russian Jews in the United States approve of the way the U.S. government is handling the war on terror, twice the 42 percent approval rating of American Jews at large in another survey. Communities of Russian Jewish voters in major cities in Ohio and Florida could have an impact on this election.

JIM MELNICK

Hartwood, Va.

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