Mental illness: Compassion needed

I am writing in regard to the recent (Sept. 27) article in Contra Costa Time about a Lafayette police officer shooting and using a Taser on a Lafayette resident that was experiencing a psychotic break.

Sadly, too many police believe acting like Rambo, shooting guns and strong-arm tactics are the way to subdue the mentally ill and keep the world safe. This ignorant approach actually increases danger, alienates the community and cannot be tolerated.

The job of the police is to serve the community and keep it safe. Law enforcement needs to be formally trained to understand and recognize mental illness, and work together with the mentally ill and their love ones to keep them safe as part of a larger supportive community.

Mental illness affects one in every four people. It does not discriminate; it can strike anyone at any time. There are more than 12 million people in the U.S. living with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who experience psychotic breaks.

Recovery is possible, but, like other illnesses, it should be treated with proper medication, therapy and compassion, and not by police running roughshod over citizens.

Robert Siegel

Orinda

'A few minor misstatements'

I don't understand why President Obama is coming under such intense criticism for his "false promises" on Obamacare. All he did was make a few minor misstatements.


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What he meant to say was "If WE like your health insurance plan, you get to keep it," and "insurance premiums FOR OUR TARGET GROUP will go down by an average of $2,500 per year."

As everyone knows, no president writes his own speeches, and President Obama was only reading from his teleprompter.

I also don't understand why many don't believe the president's claims that he first learned through press reports of the "fast and furious" gun-running operation, the fact that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, the IRS's targeting of conservative groups, the NSA's spying on our press and other governments' leaders, or the serious problems with the Obamacare rollout.

The federal government, after all, is a large operation and the president has to delegate a lot to his subordinates, especially since his role as commander-in-chief occupies so much of his time. I have it on good authority that the president drew up the operations plans for the capture of Osama bin Laden, and personally selected the SEAL team members and weapons and directed the rehearsals. Of course, if the operation had failed, Admiral McRaven would have rightfully been court-martialed for not executing the plans properly.

Many readers will disagree with my letter, but that's because they are racist since they can tell from my last name that I am of Chinese heritage.

Bill Lau

Lafayette