Forum on addiction

eye-opening for teen

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s 78th Public Square. As soon as my grandfather and I arrived, I saw swarms of McShin Foundation addiction survivors in matching T-shirts. The whole night was eye-opening for me.

At school, we are required to learn about illegal and dangerous drugs and their effects, but nothing will educate you more than seeing and hearing real-life stories from people residing in your neighborhood and attending your church.

I commend those who have been able to receive help from the McShin Foundation and concerned public officials. I pray for those who are still suffering from addiction.

Callie Clements.


Death penalty no longer

a deterrent to crime

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

When I lived in London in the 1950s, I happened to meet and talk with a Scotland Yard police inspector. In brash Yank fashion, I asked him if he didn’t think his police officers should carry guns. “Absolutely not!” he said. “We lack training in their use, and would probably shoot each other. We know our career criminals. If a criminal with a gun cornered a policeman, the cop would advance, waggling a finger, saying, ‘Don’t shoot, Joe, you’ll swing!’ The death penalty is our most potent weapon against major crime.”

That weapon is gone now, and Britain is plagued by criminals using knives. Our problem is not the method, but the user.

Howard S. Browne.


Health care attack ads

are doing a disservice

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Recently, I have seen television ads attacking “Medicare for All.” They are the work of a group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The ads feature a woman with a daughter with special needs, another with a “regular mom” and some with “man in the street” interviews. They repeat all the dog whistles, and I expect some gullible souls will buy into the idea that extending health care to all will raise both taxes and health care costs while denying care to those with pre-existing conditions. It is tripe. The best thing to happen to me has been Medicare.

I have been insured by a Medicare Advantage plan for the past five years. When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia a year ago, I was terrified of going bankrupt and so was my husband. I was treated at an in-network, world-renowned cancer center here in Richmond and the total out-of-pocket cost was a little more than $1,000. That covered everything. Any question about the quality of my care should be answered by the fact that I don’t have leukemia now; I’m healthy and re-engaged in my life.

This week, I had a lumbar MRI. I had one six years ago, and that one cost me a fortune. The employer-provided health insurance required me to first undergo six physical therapy visits, each with a $45 co-pay. Then I paid a $250 co-pay at the door and when insurance still refused to pay more than a pittance, I had to shell out another $600 — for just one MRI. This year, my co-pay was $5. That’s it, just $5. I have no deductibles, no minimum to pay out before insurance steps in.

You have to wonder, why would Sen. McConnell and his backers be so opposed to health care coverage like that for anyone who wants and needs it? They certainly don’t have the best interests of Americans at heart.

Sheila Berry.

North Chesterfield.

American blackface worse

than Trudeau’s brownface

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

What Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did nearly 20 years ago was wrong and demonstrated poor judgment as well as a total lack of racial sensitivity. One should never mock an entire race of people, ever, but especially based on something as superficial as pigmentation.

Having said that, there is just no “equating” what Trudeau did with white Americans dressing in blackface, no matter the context. The systematic dehumanization of black Africans for the financial benefit of white Americans has a specific identity and heinous character. Today, we use the sanitized term “slavery,” but there is just no comparison between the two. End of story.

Tom Bowe.


Northam energy plan

called ‘impossible’

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order on Virginia’s energy future and renewable energy is either an act of absolute ignorance or childish naivete. The notion that the commonwealth will be “powered by renewable energy sources” and “electricity will be produced from carbon-free sources” is factually impossible. I am referring specifically to wind and solar power, which have erroneously presented to the American public as “clean” and devoid of “carbon footprints.”

In her editorial, Deputy Opinions Editor Robin Beres mentioned the notion that omitting nuclear from Virginia’s energy future is not wise, of which I totally concur.

The 2022 goal of 3,000 megawatts of energy would require a total of 4 square miles of land for nuclear. Wind would require 480 square miles and solar farms about 100.

The materials needed for wind turbines, such as steel for the structures and cement for the bases, produce carbon emissions during production. How then is wind a clean, renewable energy source?

Solar panels, which are necessary for solar power, are made up of many toxic materials, many of which are rare earth metals that are not renewable. Both wind and sunshine are intermittent and not as reliable as nuclear.

Wind and solar power must be conserved with batteries that also require rare earth metals such as lithium, graphite and cobalt.

Political leaders need to get real with our future energy production. It should not be an either-or scenario. Efficiency and availability are necessary factors that must be considered for energy usage.

To “mandate” a particular goal for energy more than a generation from now is nonsense.

The U.S. has become the world’s great energy producer and exporter through the free enterprise system and I have confidence that energy production in 2050 will far surpass wind and solar for efficiency and environmental impact.

Alan Pillow.

Glen Allen.

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