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Union workers deserve credit for productivity



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Union workers deserve credit for productivity

EDITOR:

The editorial concerning GM Lordstown Assembly and the strides that have been made in improving productivity mentioned management's role in the process but unfortunately left out the main link in the chain. Of course, that is the workers, the members of United Auto Workers Local 1112. You won`t get productivity without producing and that is what the thousands of women and men at Lordstown have been doing daily.

Through their efforts, the future does appear bright, which is a point that should never be omitted.

TIM O'HARA

Youngstown

Serious mental illness should preclude execution

EDITOR:

As "Ohio's Voice on Mental Illness," NAMI Ohio (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Ohio) has been asked to take a position in regard to the execution of J.D. Scott, a person whom both the prosecution and the defense in the case agree suffers from a serious neurobiological illness -- schizophrenia.

NAMI Ohio has no position in regard to the death penalty itself.

However, when it comes to executing an individual who has been correctly diagnosed as having a serious mental illness, NAMI Ohio's position is that, given the ravages of serious brain disorders, the fact that these illnesses are no-fault diseases, and the fact that these disorders severely distort the sufferers judgment, to execute such an individual constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment" because the individual is being punished for an illness.

Serious mental illnesses are not nebulous entities whose existence is open to debate and conjecture. They are distinct, diagnosable and treatable diseases, with structural and biochemical manifestations in the organ of the brain. Violent crime is not a symptom of any of the major mental illness. Studies have shown that persons with serious brain disorders are much more likely to be victims of crime instead of perpetrators.

However, these illnesses, when untreated, can sometimes cause the sufferer, when caught up in the severe delusional states of the illness, to commit acts that fall within the purview of the criminal justice system.

Given that there exist alternative sentencing options, such as life in prison, it is the position of NAMI Ohio that such options are a more humane way to respond to cases such as J.D. Scott's.

NAMI Ohio is not unaware of the temptation to justify every violent or heinous crime on the basis of the perpetrator's "mental illness." Such crimes do not, in and of themselves and on the basis of their severity, implicate the presence of a serious brain disorder. That type of thinking is responsible for the stigma that equates serious brain disorders with violent and criminal behavior.

On June 14 a severely disabled man was executed. We must ask ourselves: was this an act of a civil society?

TERRY RUSSELL

Columbus

X The writer is NAMI's executive director.

Protect the reservoir

EDITOR:

The greatest asset to the Mahoning Valley and the least protected is Meander Reservoir. Thousands of trucks daily traveling I-76 cross over the reservoir carrying pesticides, industrial chemicals and radioactive waste. It takes just one truck to roll over the 3-foot-high guard rail, and we have a catastrophic event to deal with. Think our monthly water bill is high now -- just wait until we have to absorb the cost of cleaning up a hazardous spill.

If the state can fund sound walls to be built along state routes to protect citizens from noise pollution, certainly we can have a wall to protect our drinking water. I must insist that our local, state and federal elected officials find the means to build this wall. Our future depends on it.

JAMES A. FOLKWEIN

Austintown




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