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Express Yourself

These aren’t the days

ALAN HUFF

Williamsport

As I look back at growing up in the 1970s and remember thinking how the 21st Century sounded like so much science fiction.

But here we are heading into its third decade and, forget fiction, it’s really scary! Why are they still worried about blood?

We all bleed red, so what’s the problem? People will still continue to be at times mad at strangers, friends, and loved ones. We should all strive for a good life, raise our families and grow old gracefully.

Tragically, however, every day it’s another murder or mass shooting. Recently incredibly, a native Texan shoots mostly Hispanics due to hatred of those he considered mutts.

The 2019 Little League World Series will no doubt increase and upgrade security.

Hopefully when I’m dust in the wind, my grandchildren will never look back on these times as “the good old days.”

Our lieutenant governor

wants to legalize pot

ROMUALD ANDRAKA

Trout Run

Among American teenagers, the drug’s “daily use has become as or more popular than daily cigarette smoking,” according to the National Institute of Health’s 2017 Monitoring the Future study.

We’ve successfully demonized cigarettes while new laws send kids the message that marijuana is harmless.

Yet we’ve known for more than a decade of the link between marijuana and psychosis, depression and schizophrenia.

In 2007, the prestigious medical journal Lancet recanted its previous benign view of marijuana, citing studies showing “an increase in risk of psychosis of about 40 percent.”

A seminal long-term study of 50,465 Swedish army conscripts found those who had tried marijuana by age 18 had 2.4 times the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia in the following 15 years than those who had never used the drug.

Heavy users were 6.7 times more likely to be admitted to a hospital for schizophrenia.

Another study, of 1,037 people in New Zealand, found those who used cannabis at ages 15 and 18 had higher rates of psychotic symptoms at age 26 than non-users.

A 2011 study in the British Medical Journal of 2,000 teenagers found those who smoked marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis as those who didn’t.

Another BMJ study estimated that 13 percent of cases of schizophrenia could be averted if all cannabis use were prevented …

Young people and those with a genetic predisposition are most at risk, particularly during adolescence, when the brain is exquisitely vulnerable.

The evidence of harm is overwhelming, and it defies logic to think that legalizing marijuana won’t increase the harm.

And yet marijuana activists pretend there is no problem, and baby-boomer lawmakers, perhaps recalling their own youthful toking, ignore the science.

To make matters worse, the marijuana sold at legal dispensaries today is five times more potent than the pot of the 1970s and ’80s, according to a thoroughly researched new book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson: “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Violence and Mental Health.”

Berenson reports that the first four states to legalize marijuana, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have seen “sharp increases” in violent crime since 2014.

If we care about mental illness, which has been spiking up at an alarming rate in recent years among young people, especially teenage boys, we should care about the convincing evidence of marijuana-induced psychosis.

We didn’t have to wait for three mass shootings in two weeks to know that young males are in crisis.

Youth suicide is at an all-time high and rates of serious mental illness in this country are on the rise, especially among people aged 18 to 25, the cohort most likely to use marijuana.

Young people born in 1999, the birth year of the El Paso shooter, were 50 percent more likely than those born in 1985 to report feeling “serious psychological distress” in the previous month, according to an alarming study published this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

With all we know, it’s time to put the brakes on marijuana legalization before it’s too late.

In my opinion, if Pennsylvania legalizes pot, the revenue derived from it should all go to cover the increased law enforcement and mental health costs that will result for legal pot.

What is or isn’t?

JOHN T. KOVICH

Williamsport

Area newspapers recently published a report of a meeting in Washington Township, Lycoming County.

The discussion centered on horse droppings by horses and other horses pulling Amish buggies. These issues were being considered for a township ordinance calling for restrictions.

A few questions come to my mind.

Are horse droppings biodegradable? Are cigarettes thrown out of a car window a health hazard or are only the filters?

What about people who spit out their window, a health hazard or not? What about disposable diapers flung out the car window?

How about fruit with one or two bites out of it, a health hazard or not?

How about wrappers from a fast food place with a partially eaten burger or french fries, a health hazard or not? What about an 18-wheeler driving through on occasion, a damage to the roads? How about farm tractors? How about freezing rain, a hazard or not?

Now consider winter snow, a hazard or not? Of course is burning of papers, plastic or whatever a hazard to health or not?

How about people who barbecue outside? How about spreading chemical to kill weeds or insects on one’s lawn, a health hazard or not? How about loud music? How about spring spreading of manure or chemical fertilizer, a health hazard or not?

There are many annoyances around us daily, should these be changed?

In America everyone has rights until it infringes on me; then my rights are gone forever.

Are the Amish a religious minority? You be the judge.

The ills of our society

JOHN E. BACKMAN

Blossburg

It is the educational system which bears much of the blame for our society’s social ills.

Over the past 50 years, it has morphed into a system where there are no losers, God is not real, Christian values are optional or prohibited, and everybody wins, etc. The system has now indoctrinated children, parents as well as some grandparents with these beliefs.

When a youngster emerges from this system, he/she is often not prepared for the realities of life. Is it really any wonder why some confused minds break under these stresses?

Inclusion started in the 1980s. The original goal of bringing mentally handicapped children into the public classroom seemed good, but the programs soon morphed into “Any child can learn if we pour enough resources into the child/classroom.” I remember, as a caseworker, when this good-looking, high functioning mentally retarded 21-year-old gal came to me in tears saying, “They won’t hire me but I have a high school diploma, see.”

Her spirit was not crushed until after the educational system could no longer fund her stay in school at public expense.

But crushed it was.

Teachers are not the problem. Teachers teach that which they are told to teach. Besides, most of them were also indoctrinated by the “system.”

In order to “fix” our society, perhaps we should reinsert into public schools those values which the elite administrators of our school districts removed.

They say they do it to prevent court cases. I say, put the pledge back; put God back; put personal responsibility back. Do not allow administrators to apply their one-sided “separation of church and state” beliefs. The second amendment has two statements.

The first about Congress making no law establishing religion and the second “nor prevent the free exercise thereof.”

Besides, at what point in time did school administrators become elected government officials? Let us go to court. One female Supreme Court Justice “gets it.”

She opined that every court case settled offends someone. All school board members and public justice should realize that almost any decision will offend someone, and they might be replaced at election time. I believe our society is worth the fight.

Lastly, I spent a good portion of my life ensuring a person’s rights, among which has always been the right to be offensive unless said actions violate a law. When did someone else’s druthers become so strong as to require a behavioral change on my part?

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