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Letters to the editor

Tiger Woods' return to pro golf; homeowners who invite foreclosure; treating the mentally ill

March 22, 2010

Proven, evidence-based projects, such as the MHA Village in Long Beach, have shown that most ex-patients can be integrated into the community for far less than it costs to institutionalize them. Unfortunately for us all, services for the most vulnerable are the services most often cut.

Legislation exists to treat people who refuse it if they are a danger to themselves or others or are gravely disabled. Laura's Law may reinforce the powers of the state in select cases. But it is not the answer for most with severe mental illness who go untreated. All they require are adequately funded, well-designed community treatment programs.

Joyce Thompson
Los Angeles

Thank you for bringing attention to this serious issue. I strongly support Laura's Law. I live in Orange County, which hasn't yet passed the resolution. This alarms me. I know firsthand the effects an untreated mental illness has on loved ones.

My dad developed a severe mental illness in his 50s that caused him to attempt suicide three times, abandon his wife, spend his life savings and end up homeless on the streets.

We did everything in our power to get Dad help, but he refused treatment. Laura's Law will save other families from the suffering inflicted on ours. I shudder at the thought of becoming mentally ill, not being treated and ending up like my father.

Amanda LaPera
Laguna Hills

Interpretations of history

Re “History, by the book,” Opinion, March 17

Jonathan Zimmerman notes the reaction of the Texas Board of Education to the negative liberal interpretation of America's past. Is American history in general a tale of accomplishments and virtue, or is it one of unspeakable crimes against man and nature?

As I tell my students, the past -- as past -- is indeed dead. History is something that is happening now. There are numerous historical facts that, contrary to the popular notion, do not "speak for themselves."

Were we great pioneers shaping a glorious future, or Indian killers and violators of natural resources? This depends on the historian, which facts he chooses to engage and what interpretation he gives them. His conclusion is contingent on his personality and view of life.

Because the historian does not live in isolation but in society at large, the picture he draws of our past is also very instructive concerning our societal view of ourselves.

Jack Kaczorowski
Los Angeles

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