More violent, mentally ill inmates during lean times
After 40-plus years in corrections, I have realized the 90/10 rule of people in custody applies to the community — 90 percent of inmates are compliant while 10 percent are problematic. The 10 percent create 90 percent of the problems, demanding a majority of the correctional resources.
Neglect of that 10 percent results in victimization, self-harm and in-custody death. Preventing harm in custody requires identifying the 10 percent and a timely intervention.
Communities reflect that same rule. Economic wellbeing impacts resources available to maintain public safety, provide reasonable health care and educate the next generation. Economic downturns challenge the social equilibrium.
This social cliff reduces valuable government resources. Crumbling infrastructure is pushing more dangerous, fragile and needy citizens into the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has reevaluated the need to expend resources for the nonviolent 90 percent. Unfortunately this reduction has resulted in the most dangerous inmates remaining in custody. Violent and mentally ill populations now represent 30 to 40 percent of the incarcerated.
Reductions in public safety, education and behavioral health care will result in unidentified threat and subsequent harm. Institutions will be inundated with primarily violent and mentally ill offenders. Our entitlement is to public safety and the education of our future generation. Our responsibility is to identify those who pose a risk or are vulnerable to a risk and provide reasonable governmental resources to prevent serious harm to our citizens.
Blame godless society, not guns
A couple of letters about the recent tragedy prompted me to respond.
First, to the man who wants all guns to be confiscated: Besides the near impossibility that it could ever happen, history shows that it doesn't work. If we enforced the laws that we have, it would make a difference, but blaming the gun is like blaming the car when a drunken driver kills someone.
Another writer asked where was God. I assume he is referring to God Almighty who we, as a society, have decided best to remove from our schools and public places. It is curious that we decide things like that, but then immediately want to cry out and ask why? Evil feeds on people and societies that don't make God first and foremost in their lives.
All the laws in the world are not going to change humanity. Look at our drug situation and all the laws currently on the books, yet drugs are more abundant than ever. Our self-centered society is the problem. Fixing us is the solution.
Did aliens kidnap McConnell?
Who are you and what did you do with Sen. Mitch McConnell?
In the November, 2009 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, there was an article about the restoration of a major portrait of Henry Clay and its installation in a place of honor in the United States Capitol.
In that article, McConnell spoke to Clay's role in our history and to compromise in government. "The compromises he wrought were life and death issues for the nation, at a time when not everyone was sure that the nation would last. If you are going to be able to govern yourself, you have to learn to compromise. You can either get something, or get nothing; if you want to get something, you have to compromise."
If you don't believe me — and I can certainly see why you might not — search under, "Smithsonian Magazine Henry Clay" and you will find the article.
I can only conclude that either McConnell is no longer interested in the idea of America as a nation that can govern itself, or else that the real McConnell, the one from back in 2009, has been kidnapped by aliens and a weird substitution made for reasons known only to the aliens.
David L. Arnold
Take a chain saw to federal spending
Both parties have already put us over the cliff with $16 billion in overspending. We are already taxed to the hilt and it is going to increase. The government is not short on revenue but is addicted to spending wastefully.
Trying to add taxes to the top 2 percent will only pay for our debts for a few days. That has been a battle cry to divide the country, and it has been successful.
There has not been a budget passed in years and that is part of lawmakers' mandated duties. If they don't pass a budget, spending goes up across the board. They get to spend more without having to pass legislation. Try running a home or a business without a budget and see where it gets you.
You can't spend more than you bring in. That principle is taught in high school. We need to cut spending now and continue until we can balance the budget. We don't need a pair of tweezers to tweak the budget; we need a chain saw. Additionally it was mentioned to raise the debt ceiling. What person in their right mind, if they are deeply in debt, wants to get another credit card so they can spend more?
We need to flood all representatives from both parties with letters and calls to stop this addiction to spending. If we don't, it won't be a cliff we're falling from; it will be a bottomless pit from which there will be no return.
Harry Van Epps
Human life devalued
We grieve and pray for the families in Connecticut. It's difficult to comprehend. Why? The devaluing of human life with abortion, our youth being saturated with violence with no personal consequences from the media and then acting it out in video games would seem to be major contributors. How tragic.
Judson Evan Chalkley, M.D.