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Mental illness, a bill to help healing, and more: letters to the editor

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz responds to questions about the killings related to Juan David Ortiz on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 at the Webb County Sheriff’s office. The Laredo Morning Times via AP Danny Zaragoza
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz responds to questions about the killings related to Juan David Ortiz on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 at the Webb County Sheriff’s office. The Laredo Morning Times via AP Danny Zaragoza

‘Essential for healing’

The hearts of all decent and honorable people were broken by the revelations contained in the Grand Jury Report on six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The injuries and humiliations sustained by hundreds of children are horrific enough. That the abominations were performed under the camouflage of faith makes the disgrace infinitely worse.

Faith might be a matter of choice, but trust is not. Trust is earned. And in the case of the Catholic church, trust has been violated so often, and by so many, that it no longer exists. The church’s notion -- indeed, its expectation -- that it be trusted to supervise its own rehabilitation is preposterous. For an institution which espouses the values of confession, contrition, and penance to presume to advance itself directly from criminal activity to absolution is outrageous, even insulting.

Essential for healing is the amendment to House Bill 261, which includes the civil window allowing the retroactive prosecution of sexual predators by their victims. Should such prosecution result in financial hardships for the church, as claimed by opponents of the proposed legislation, so be it.

We are at a time in which the damage and disgrace inflicted upon society by the Catholic church exceeds the amount of service performed in its name. That’s the definition of obsolescence. In placing this retroactive ability into the hands of the survivors of generations of abominations, possibly they can succeed in subduing admitted child molesters where the police, the judicial system, the legislators, and especially the church have failed. - Carl G. Schultz, Johnstown, PA

The impact of mental illness

With the debate over regulation at the U.S. border constantly in the media, the CDT article “$2.5M bond set for Border Patrol agent in killings of 4,” caught my eye. I thought about how this story is damaging the reputation of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and felt satisfied knowing that many Americans will sympathize with the victims and argue Border Patrol agents are unfit to hold their jobs.

Can you guess where I stand on the border debate? Each of the four victims was shot to death by Ortiz, legally carrying a firearm. It seems the story weaves themes of the debate over possession of firearms as well.

But then I stopped and considered how mentally ill Juan David Ortiz is. He is a serial killer not a Border Patrol agent. He passed a background screening and completed a structured interview with a board of BPAs, who in the interview, evaluated his decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, and maturity level, among other qualifications.

We can’t pin this on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or who is right or wrong in the debate over possession of firearms. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, we must remember that approximately one in five adults in the U.S suffer from mental illness and that there can be long delays, sometimes decades, between the first appearance of symptoms and when people seek help. - Cailyn McCutcheon, State College, PA

‘Protecting the species’

I am writing to express my sincere satisfaction with the recent article “Big Cats in Pennsylvania: Mountain Lions or Bobcats,” which seemed too good to be true for a Penn State University Nittany Lion. I think it’s important to not only write about species living in the wilderness around us for many reasons, such as safety concerns, but it’s also an important piece because it sheds light on the fact that species are going extinct because of human interference.....

This goes to show that my generation has suffered the consequences of the actions from past generations. We will never know what it is like to have mountain lions roaming around us, unless this article speaks the truth and they are returning, but it is important to think about the way we are treating nature and those that live within it.

This article speaks volumes for the protection of what species we do have left living in this area. I hope the mountain lions are returning for my generation and the next generation’s sake. - Katherine Lippincott, State College, PA