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Americans get sanitized version of Vegas carnage


Published: Sun, October 8, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

Americans get sanitized version of Vegas carnage

No gaping wounds. No shattered limbs or skulls. No pools of blood from severed arteries.

Instead, we hear about the heroic stories of the off-duty EMT who risked his life to get people to safety.

Or the woman who reached for a stranger’s phone to call his family to let them know he was OK.

Or the man who used his pickup truck as a makeshift ambulance, transporting the wounded to the hospital.

And the brave police as they stormed the killer’s lair.

An endless supply of pundits and experts discuss the killer’s psyche and motives.

The president recites the script prepared for every president.

Many ask, “Is it the gun or the person (as if one is less responsible than the other)?”

The latest mass shooting is just another episode in a seemingly endless TV series.

Except that there’s little or no reality. Thanks to the media’s self-censorship, it’s all bloodless, sanitized and normalized.

It’s how we’re expected to deal. It’s the way we’re shielded from the truth, so that we can move on – to the next one. It’s how a massacre becomes another human interest story.

Writer Carol Adams describes the invisible victim of violence as the “absent referent.” If we don’t actually see the physical results of violence, then it’s much easier to dismiss the reality of it.

During the Vietnam War, graphic images of the war were broadcast on an almost nightly basis. These images shocked and sickened the American people, and slowly helped to turn the public against the immoral war.

Today, the media censors such images, begging the question: Why should the survivors be the only ones to be forced to live with this?

Shouldn’t we all share in the pain and grief and trauma that they must endure for the rest of their lives?

If the American people were shown the bloody images, maybe – just maybe – this madness might stop.

In the meantime, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

George Elias, Youngstown

Recovering addict: Too many deprived of help

It seems like every day we lose another beautiful soul to the disease of addiction. It’s crazy to think that it is a common occurrence to hear about another mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa overdosing in front of their kids. These occurrences have happened so often that it is now being referred to as a “heroin epidemic”. The public should be aware and be educated about the signs of drug abuse and that addiction is a disease, and no one grows up with aspirations of becoming an addict.

The number of overdose deaths has risen in Ohio since 2003. Last year 4,050 Ohioans lost their lives to drug addiction. Currently the state is 29th out of 50 and approximately three people die every day due to overdoses. Ohio makes up 10 percent of all daily heroin deaths.

There may be some contributing factors as to why Ohio has been hit particularly hard by the heroin epidemic. One main factor that sticks out is the overcrowding of facilities that can help these people. Many addicts want help but are either turned away for lack of insurance or the facility simply does not have the room to accommodate them. The amount of lives that may be saved if there were more facilities and more people who are sympathetic to the cause could be a game changer.

Addiction doesn’t just affect the poor and desolate or the young or old. Addiction does not discriminate nor does it see race or religion. Doctors can be affected just as much as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. Ohio has seen some dark times and some good times; right now it isn’t what we all know it can be and certain people fall through the cracks.

No one grows up wanting to be an addict, to be called weak or to have the stigma of drug abuse follow them around the rest of their lives. I beg you to not look down upon these people or show them pity, just try to understand the disease, and to walk in their shoes.

Jessica Smith, Struthers

Jessica Smith acknowledges she is a recovering drug addict.

Feds should stop funding skilled nursing facilities

The opioid crisis has affected my life in ways you could not imagine. I have had countless sleepless nights and shed many tears after my fianc had a stroke and had to be admitted into a skilled nursing facility. My fianc had overcome the stroke, but it left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak. The tears were not for my fianc ’s condition, but that his life had been placed into the hands of some of the most unscrupulous doctors that I had ever seen.

First, upon my fianc ’s arrival at an SNF, the first thing the doctor did was to take him off of Tylenol for mild pain and fever and put him on Oxycodone.

He wasn’t in pain but that did not seem to matter to the doctor. And when this matter was brought to the doctor’s attention, he only made excuses until the state had to step in and remove my fianc from being under the care of this doctor.

Now someone might ask why a doctor would want to abuse his patients. Well, the answer is simple. Guaranteed funds from Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of anywhere from $150 a day to upwards of $360 a day or more. This type of money is enough to cause some people to lose their compassion for humanity including doctors and the nurses who are knowingly passing out these drugs. The longer a patient is in one of these facilities the more money the facility gets from the state.

And it’s not likely that patients are going to get the physical therapy they need because in most cases they’re too high on Oxycodone to do anything but lie there.

Another way to stop the opioid epidemic is to stop paying for pain management services. If a client visits his doctor for pain management and the doctor prescribes him some form of narcotic, guess who ends up paying the bill. If you guessed taxpayers, you are right. And we won’t just be paying for the drug prescription costs. In this case we would also be paying for the cost of his office visit, physical therapy sessions and other frivolous functions the doctor claims he performed. How can we be sure in the first place that this person is in pain and not just addicted to the drug? We can’t see pain, so why take a chance?

Finally, this is a perfect scam for any unscrupulous doctor who wants to make a fast buck. Our government should be more prudent with its dollars. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, got it right when he proposed to stop funding these so called SNFs.

Doretha Ervin, Youngstown

Vietnam War TV series will bring tears to eyes

I just finished watch- ing all 10 episodes of Ken Burns’ brilliant documentary “Vietnam,” a powerful, riveting, sometimes disturbing, and often heart-breaking account of this disastrous war from the perspective of both sides.

Every American should watch this masterpiece in its entirety. It focuses on the bravery of the soldiers who were asked to win an unwinnable war; the stupidity and duplicity of the leaders, both military and political; the grief of those families who lost loved ones; and the courage of the Vietnamese people caught in the crossfire of two obdurate armies and their leaders.

Young Americans, many still in their teens, were snatched from civilian life and deposited in a far-off distant land to fight in a war they didn’t understand against a people they did not know. They soon learned that they were not fighting for democracy, freedom, the flag or the national anthem or any other lofty ideal; they were fighting to survive just one more day, then another, and then another, until their 13-month tour was served and they could go home.

Henry E. Miller, Youngstown


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