Hurdles for pediatricians

In reference to your September article “Pediatricians urged to screen more closely for mental health problems,” the idea is very commendable. However, the biggest hurdle, I believe, is getting the parents to accept it, given the stigma associated with mental illness, not to mention whether the parents themselves are mentally stable and may be the cause of the child’s illness because they may be living in an environment that fosters the illness.

How is it possible to overcome the parental hurdle? Even if the parents are mentally stable, they may be reluctant to acknowledge that their children have a mental illness and may blame themselves. If the parents themselves are mentally unstable, that’s another issue in itself.

Biju Lukose, MD
Tampa, Fla.

A letter on a letter

This letter is in response to the letter submitted by Gary B. Brumback in the September issue ("Taking it to the Supreme Court"). Dr. Brumback disagrees with the contention that the court’s decision that corporations should be granted free speech as authorized by the First Amendment is, in Brumback’s view, “infamous.” Free speech is not only appropriate for individuals, but is appropriate, as well, for groups, institutions and organizations, including corporations. That corporations have the financial muscle to exert powerful — even overwhelming — influence is beside the point. The disparity between the individual’s limited resources and the corporation’s infinitely deep pockets can and should be addressed in a way that does not deny to a corporation its constitutionally granted free-speech rights. Free speech is a right, as the court’s ruling decreed (Jan. 21), accessible to corporate bodies and not exclusively to individuals. That a corporation may derisively be referred to as a “fat cat” does in no way, shape or form characterize it as an entity within our culture and laws that is beyond First Amendment protection.

Next, regarding Brumback’s affirmation of the Second Amendment’s alleged authorization for the individual to bear arms, an authorization that is wrongly, in my judgment, widely held to be lawful is, I believe, according to the interpretation of many, including me, flawed on the basis that the founding fathers asserted that the right to bear arms was a right to be enjoyed by militias, where it should be noted that individuals were not mentioned, only militias. The bearing of arms willy-nilly by individuals, has, tragically, caused countless deaths intentionally and accidentally, including deaths, lamentably, of young children, among countless others.

Robert Perloff, PhD,
University of Pittsburgh

Please send letters to Sara Martin, Monitor editor. Letters should be no more than 250 words and may be edited.