Letters to the Editor

Sparse mental help, Gov. should apologize and more from readers

Cartoon to the Editor by Rick Maynard, Lexington
Cartoon to the Editor by Rick Maynard, Lexington

UK mental help sparse

It’s comical that the University of Kentucky has “recognize[d] the need for a better dialogue surrounding mental health” by posting a list of services offered almost exclusively by its overcrowded and understaffed Counseling Center. While the administration may wash its hands of recent suicides by encouraging students to “get the services they need,” it is not invested in effectively providing them.

I can appreciate that there are limitations to a university counseling center, but it is infuriating that the university should promote this list without appreciating the reality of its offerings. If a student in crisis flies under the radar of the Community of Concern but seeks immediate help, they can wait during drop-in hours and hope to be seen before the center closes, or visit the “relaxation room,” which offers light boxes, coloring pages and a massage chair.

In my experience, students are either palmed off to group therapy or do without counseling because they are unable to contort their schedules to the few openings. If they manage to schedule “free” once-a-week individual counseling (covered by ever-increasing tuition fees), they are entitled to only 10 appointments a year. This cap forces students to ration their appointments or convince their therapist of an extraordinary reason for an extension.

Perhaps UK should invest less in expensive renovations and more in improving the mental health services they are funneling students into. If they want to avoid the next tragedy, they should save their platitudes and actually put their money where their mouth is.

A. Lovejoy, Lexington

Bevin should apologize

Gov. Matt Bevin’s pronouncement in which he expressed concern that Kentucky’s children are becoming wimps caught my undivided attention. He based his view on decisions by school administrators to protect our children from a clear danger they would face if they had to go forth in near-zero temperatures to wait for a bus or walk to school. Considering that a wimp is defined as a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person led me to wonder what was the governor thinking, if in fact he was.

My seven-year-old grandchild would not be allowed by his parents to stand by the side of the road in near sub-zero temperature waiting for a bus to arrive. This is just common sense, perhaps a quality the governor lacks.

This is another example of the governor’s bullying. He loves to call an individual or classes of people names while standing behind the glare of lights of a news crew.

Our children, Kentucky’s future, are not weak, cowardly or unadventurous. If Bevin finds joy in acting as a bully, allow me to suggest he find a World Wrestling Entertainment event and ply his favorite sport in a ring.

He needs to apologize to our children.

Ron McBride, Nicholasville

A cold day…

On our recent days with sub-zero wind chill, how long did Gov. Matt Bevin stand on a corner waiting for the bus?

T. Kerby Neill, Lexington

Research before surgery

I have been permanently injured by a doctor. I will have pain the rest of my life. This doctor failed in his mandated duty to give me the opportunity for informed consent and denied me the right to determine what happens to my own body.

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death. There is not enough oversight, the medical industry polices itself, and the guilty often go free. There are some things you can do to protect yourself:

1. Never agree to a surgery without a second or even a third opinion. Do your own research.

2. Insist on a comprehensive informed consent in writing signed by you and the doctor, including the doctor’s experience in performing the procedure.

3. The hospital consent form is a weapon to be used against you, if necessary. You have the right to cross out anything you are uncomfortable with. If it states something that is untrue, call it to someone’s attention.

4. If something goes wrong, secretly video conversations with the physician. That is legal under Kentucky law.

5. Understand you will not find a lawyer to represent you unless you have a highly winnable case.

Nina Reidmiller, Lexington

What constituents?

Excerpt from a recent Herald-Leader news story:

“The protesters, including unpaid federal employees from around Central Kentucky, were trying to deliver a letter to McConnell’s staff demanding that the Senate Republican Leader reopen the government. But McConnell’s staff locked the office’s glass door and refused to open it.

“McConnell’s staff was meeting with constituents inside the office during the protest, McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said later.”

In Sen. Mitch McConnell’s world, those people outside the door with real problems are not constituents. Only the people inside the locked door, who no doubt came with their checkbooks ready, are considered constituents. McConnell is a full-time fundraiser and his constituents consist of only those willing to give him donations. The bigger the donation, the more influential the constituent.

Those of you who vote for McConnell for standing up for “Kentucky values” better realize that he doesn’t care at all about the livelihood of the average Kentuckian. He only cares about the success of the Republican Party, even if that means putting thousands of Kentucky citizens out of work. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what Mitch can do for you, ask what you can do to fund Mitch’s re-election.”

Kevin Kline, Lexington

Shed no tax tears for rich

Thank you for the opinion piece from the Chicago Tribune about the 60 Minutes interview with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her take on progressive taxes.

I missed it but had heard that it wasn’t easy to understand what she was describing. I think I know why. For years and years we’ve been told that the rich work hard to make their money and that the government has no right to it.

The rich get richer by many means other than working hard, and not all of their methods are honest or fair, nor have they ever been. But all that aside, many of us bought into that view even though we knew that our solid middle class was built on progressive taxation.

A progressive tax does not mean someone is taking away all the millionaire earns. Millionaires and billionaires would pay tax on sums over a certain threshold -- currently $10 million.

When you live from paycheck to paycheck and still pay taxes, you don’t need to feel sorry for the poor millionaire. They pay a much smaller percentage than we do. Polls show that people are beginning once more to like the idea of progressive taxation. Is Kentucky listening?

Sara M. Porter, Midway

Do immigration correctly

What other country allows aliens to walk in and remain without going through a process, be it a work visa, etc.? Crusade into Russia, China or Korea and see how that goes for you.

If people want to enter the United States legally, I’m all for them. Most of us are here thanks to immigration; but let’s do it right, vetting applicants and offering a pathway to citizenship.

Once they become United States’ citizens they will be eligible to all the rights and privileges afforded all Americans.

Ron Mobley, Versailles