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None September 4th, 2012

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Devil or angel?

I am usually very impressed with your Daily Show/Colbert Report approach to Chicken-Fried News. A little humor goes a long way toward feeding us hardhitting facts on occasion. I was taken aback, however, by the bitter comment in Chicken-Fried News’ “Gored to death” (Oklahoma Gazette, Aug. 8).

It is a given that Timothy McVeigh was insane when he detonated a truck bomb at the Murrah Federal Building. But what is the backstory here?

Timothy was a brilliant (if shy) fellow who was awarded “most promising computer programmer” when he graduated from high school and went on to earn a Bronze Star in the first Gulf War. Somewhere in there, the wheels definitely came off poor Timothy’s wagon. What happened?

Could there be any similarity with the recent shooter in Wisconsin? What about the active Army psychiatrist shooter in Fort Hood, Texas? Think post-traumatic stress disorder might be involved with these guys? What about the Aurora, Colo., shooting? James Holmes has a degree in neuroscience with highest honors (graduating in the top 1 percent); he worked with needy children and was on track for a doctorate before his wheels came off.

What went wrong with Gabby Giffords’ shooter in Arizona?

On and on. What the hell is going on? Why do bright young men fly off the track so badly? Why all the hate? Why is there no one there to catch them before they fall? What can we learn from these tragic people? How can we apply that knowledge to help prevent further tragedies?

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper, are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

Rather than shutting these poor souls away in closets until we can kill them as some sort of vengeance, how about putting CSI-quality psychiatric tools to work and mentally dissect these broken souls? Figure out how and why they tick, and then apply that knowledge in the treatment of people found to have a similar personality and circumstances. This would do amazing things toward the abatement of violent behavior. I hear there is a lot of PTSD going around.

I would be proud to be buried next to Gore Vidal, who was described as a “radical anti-imperialist.” I would think a lot of folks these days would also take that honor. What Gore saw in Timothy before his fall is just another tragic picture of how far down Timothy fell.

There is way too much fear and loathing going around in the press, government and politics. Keep it light and keep punching out the facts — hard and humorous!

Rather than demonizing anyone, why not stir up a fun-based morality story like where Gore is sitting down with Timothy and chewing him out in the great hereafter. It will be a good chewing, you can bet.

—Paul Wellman Oklahoma City

Free health care!

Health care is a sham.

Oh, parts of it are needed. But its backbone is a distraction to keep our eyes off the pickpocket.

For example, one night I was “feeling ill” — almost as if I had died for a minute there. So I called 911, thinking (in my mass-media-fed mind) that was the thing to do. The ambulance came, loaded me in, put some water in my bloodstream (I just hadn’t been drinking enough) and took me to the hospital to lie down for a few hours.

A week or so later, I got the insurance bill in the mail, expecting that they had charged $10 to $50 to $100, right?

Wrong! The charge was something closer to the neighborhood of $2,000!

Health care should be like most churches: free, with a persistent suggestion to donate. Get health care to be like that, and the payment plans will fall in line.

—J. Hubbard Oklahoma City

It doesn’t add up

More than 30% of Oklahomans have no insurance at all. The ones who do, such as tens of thousands of state employees, pay $1,300-plus per family in monthly premiums. The plans pay so little in benefits that the cost of most modern medical procedures exceeds their budgetary reach.

There are 49 modern and developing countries that greatly exceed the U.S. in health outcomes such as greater life expectancy, longer healthy life expectancy, lower infant mortality and lower maternal mortality.

They achieve this at a fraction of the U.S. cost; 48 of these 49 countries do this by having governmental health plans as a major portion of their health care system.

Contrary to claims that a government health plan would bankrupt the U.S., many of these countries are faring economically better in the current recession, with lower unemployment than the U.S. and greater economic growth than either the U.S. or Oklahoma.

This directly affects all Oklahomans, likely more so than any other issue we currently face.

In short, many if not most of the claims made by the two editorial guest columnists in the Aug. 8 Gazette (“Point: Disaster is ahead for Obamacare,” Mike Brake;

“Counterpoint: Oklahoma needs the ACA,” Craig W. Jones) are either false or huge distortions of the true facts. Sadly, neither columnist addressed the real Oklahoma health issue: gaining universal coverage at a reduced cost.

Your publication could choose to set the demographic facts straight concerning health care, since yours is the only Oklahoma news source that might have the courage to do so. Lacking your publication, Oklahomans have no ready source for factual demographic information concerning health care, so they continue to be grossly misinformed.

If Oklahomans elected representatives think that governmental health care is so bad, why don’t they act on their beliefs and cancel the Cadillac government health plans they currently enjoy, which have premiums paid for entirely by Oklahoma taxpayers, as tens of thousands of their constituent petitioners have requested?

—Jesse Fuchs Norman

Fuchs is a professional demographer.

 
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