Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on UK’s mental health task force, ‘Non Sequitur’ comic and abortion

UK looking at student mental health

UK has appointed a task force to study mental health in the wake of two student suicides.
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UK has appointed a task force to study mental health in the wake of two student suicides.

UK task force raises questions

The announcement of a mental health task force at the University of Kentucky has left me with more questions than answers. While I am pleased that UK has moved away from touting its “extensive” list of mental health services, I worry officials still aren’t seeing the bigger picture.

Counseling center director Mary Bolin’s comments felt dismissive: anxious students “think” they need individual therapy, and stressed high-achievers just can’t handle “common life experiences.” How can yoga and massage substitute for individualized therapy in creating healthier reactions to failure? How could increasing staff not help extend the restrictive 10 annual appointments for students who are genuinely suffering? How is a 91 percent increase in visits acceptable when not everyone who needs help even makes it through the doors?

The campus community is hurting, but the recent tragedies are only the tip of the iceberg. The Feb. 22 Herald-Leader article (“‘We are hurting.’ Student deaths prompt mental health task force at UK.”) notes that UK students track with national averages of anxiety and depression, but isn’t that a disappointment for the state’s flagship university? Why would we want to be “just as” anxious and depressed as the nation when the national suicide rate is skyrocketing?

UK has the opportunity to set a higher standard for mental health services, but I fear they will use this task force to save face and justify existing practices and infrastructure.

A. Lovejoy, Lexington

Lucke, Eblen ‘guardians and heroes’

The city and the state suffered a huge loss with the retirement of two of the Herald-Leader’s star staffers. Jamie Lucke has served on the editorial board with distinction for years. Her editorials and columns exemplified truth in reporting. She sought out and shone a light into dark corners of the commonwealth where transgressors and troublemakers worked hard to stuff their pockets at the expense of fellow citizens. The poor, the troubled and the disadvantaged were often alerted by her insightful reporting and exposure of malefactors.

Likewise, Tom Eblen has been a jewel who penned column after column exposing wrongdoers. His insights and reports of shady deals put us on guard. While he often incurred the wrath of those he exposed, he never misrepresented or backed down from his findings. His writing was a great example of fair and balanced reporting.

These two journalists represented the best of their trade and repeatedly demonstrated that a free press is essential to a functioning democracy. They were never “enemies of the people”, as our president has characterized the media. Both were guardians and heroes of our community, our state and our nation. Their voices will be missed and exceedingly hard to replace.

Jack C. Blanton, Lexington

Birds of a feather …

The question “Why is Trump drawn to bad men?” was asked by writer Dana Milbank in a Herald Leader op-ed on March 1. The answer is: good seeks good; bad seeks bad; like seeks like.

Look at nature. Sunflower seeds grow sunflowers. Other seeds grow their kind. Wild animals seek their kind. Domestic animals act the same way. Dogs and cats seek their kind. Chickens seek chickens. Turkeys seek turkeys. Like seeks like.

What is your answer to the question?

Ann Allison, Lexington

Dropping comic not so funny

I gave up my subscription for financial reasons years ago. I have never subscribed since because of the declining content-to-cost ratio (honestly, it takes longer to do the Monday Sudoku than to read the paper cover to cover). And now I have to wonder whether I should bother reading the Herald-Leader ever again. You dropped “Non Sequitur”, possibly the best comic in your pages, for a sophomoric prank that, frankly, I did not notice. I read that Sunday edition and did not see the profane phrase. Surely there is some way of keeping the comic while censuring the artist. A fine, perhaps? Temporary suspension? I have to wonder if the Herald-Leader is afraid of offending a certain political sect that doesn’t like it anyway and probably doesn’t read papers.

In any event, I do not support overreaction or cowardice. Whichever led to this unamusing funnies decision, I suggest the person who made the choice kindly take the in-comic suggestion that caused the ruckus and apply it personally.

Robert Pratt, Lexington

Still a great comic

To me, a moderate, lifelong registered Republican, “Non Sequitur” was wrong to post a cartoon cursing anyone, much less a president. But, “Non Sequitur” is funny and one of the best cartoons available.

Please reconsider and bring “Non Sequitur” back.

Also, reconsider rehiring the six or so proof readers; they are badly needed for all the Herald-Leader departments.

Roy Wilson, Lexington

Corporate victim?

I was disappointed to read in the Feb. 12 edition that the Herald-Leader was dropping Non Sequitur. Assuming the Herald-Leader had received complaints, I decided to go online to get more information on the issue. Much to my surprise, I found the the exact or near verbatim statement in papers such as the Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, Sacramento Bee and Wichita Eagle.

Not knowing whether these were just a mass stroke of common inspiration, I decided to dig some more. Much to my surprise, I found all these papers, the Herald-Leader included, were part of the McClatchy chain. So I wonder, was the Herald responding to local complaints and making a local decision or responding to directions from “daddy”?

It would have been much more truthful if the Herald-Leader had said it was removing the strip on orders from corporate.

William Cheves, Nicholasville

Choose to stop abortions

In a Feb. 24 Herald-Leader commentary, Teri Carter opposed two bills before the Kentucky legislature that would put restrictions on unfettered abortion. She thinks the bills are attempts to weaken, and then finally eliminate, abortions on demand. She cites one “hard” case” to support the view that abortions on demand should not be tampered with, implying most abortions are necessary rather than chosen. She believes that abortion is an inviolable human right. I believe this “right” was established by corrupting our law — the Supreme Court cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

In the 20th century, three intelligentsias have let loose radical ideologies upon our civilization. All three are defined by their belief that some human beings can be destroyed for the convenience of other human beings.

Communism destroyed at least 100 million “bourgeoisie” (owners) in favor of “proletarians” (workers). Nazism destroyed 12.5 million Jews and other marginalized people in favor of “Aryans.” The third ideology, “right of choice”, has so far destroyed at least 60 million unborn children in America alone. These victims, having first been declared non-persons outside the protection of law, were given no “choice”.

Our real freedom of choice is to reverse this carnage.

Paul David Nelson, Lexington

A different ‘world view’

Teri Carter begins a thoughtful commentary in the Feb. 24 Herald-Leader by reflecting on several legislative bills and asking if they are consistent with a “world picture”. It’s a useful and insightful approach to discussing problems. I would use the words “world view”, which involve how our assumptions and biases can influence our thoughts and behavior.

What if we started with a scientific approach to this problem? With this world view, we’d analyze the facts, look at the stakeholders and seek a reasoned consensus. Science clearly defines what’s occurring during the birth process. What starts out as a small clump of cells turns into a toddler, a teenager, and frequently, a grandparent. Science tells us that the cells, from the beginning, are a genetically unique human being.

So, when we talk about abortion, we should consider the stakeholders: the mother (of course), the unborn baby and the father, at a minimum. With science as our guide and a careful definition of terms, we are able to define the problem more clearly. With this world view, we could approach an expectant mother and seek to lovingly help her with whatever problems she faces. However, we would never encourage harm to any stakeholder.

Gary Gapp, Richmond

Step on up, men

It’s been interesting to see so many men writing to express their feelings against abortion. It got me to thinking that, because it takes two people to create a life, it is important to impose restrictions on men’s lives when it comes to an unwanted pregnancy.

First, men need to lobby the state legislature to pass a bill requiring males 13 years and older to receive a reversible vasectomy. This way the male will prevent a pregnancy and be able to reverse the procedure if he chooses. Secondly, men need to ensure females have access to free birth control beginning at the age 13. Thirdly, if an unwanted pregnancy occurs, the male who impregnated the woman needs to be brought to account -- if the woman’s choice is going to be restricted, then the man’s choice needs to be restricted as well. Fourth, if the female determines she will not get an abortion as originally planned, the man needs to be willing to adopt the child when it is born and take full responsibility for the child.

There is no reason why the female should be burdened with the entire responsibility of an unwanted pregnancy. It is only fair.

Linda D. Hall, Lexington

Lecture unappreciated

In a March 4 Herald-Leader op-ed piece, Blake Hall, a resident of the Kenwick neighborhood, sought to instruct Pensacola Park residents on Lexington’s need to grow and change. Ironically, Hall sits across town in an area that hasn’t seen anything like the growth our neighborhood has experienced.

Bordered on the south by the Southland commercial corridor and on the east by the Nicholasville Road, Pensacola Park is an island of calm in a sea of traffic and noise. What unites us is the way we value the structural and design integrity and the human scale of our neighborhood.

Others can argue square-footage requirements and zoning regulations. These are critical topics, yet a discussion of them alone misses what is happening in Pensacola Park. Is it really necessary to eat away at a long-established neighborhood with cheaply built townhomes, when the opportunity presents itself to support building in an efficient, sustainable, and beautiful way? We welcome our city’s growth and cheer on thoughtful approaches to planning and building. And we shake our heads in frustration at someone on the other side of town telling us to “come to grips.”

What we cannot abide is a lazy, unsustainable approach to creating density.

Linda Connolly, Lexington