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Mentally ill are not criminals

Glenn Shipman Jr.'s death (Patient dies after being restrained, Dec. 4) is simply one more in a growing legacy of failures by those charged to serve and protect in North America, now long touted as the most advanced civilization of all time.

In October, we saw (literally, accessible worldwide on YouTube) the killing of a clearly mentally disturbed Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver, British Columbia, International Airport.

And last year James P. Chasse Jr., another schizophrenic man, died after an encounter with police, who, according to Willamette Week, claimed he was 'doing something suspicious or acting just, um, odd.'

There are other examples, too. Such incidents are becoming all too common, and, in every such case, mentally disturbed people are being dealt with as lethally dangerous criminals, even though in every case unarmed, essentially by those presumably professionally trained to serve and protect.

Were it not so tragic, it would be a farcical drama. Were it not so pathetically reflective of the ubiquitous failure of so-called education in North America, it could be analyzed as intentional terrorization of the citizenry.

At the end of the day, it's simply one more example of a civilization at the precipice of its fall.

Serious artists now are telling this story more frequently by the day. Major media (present company not excluded) are essentially ignoring it, choosing to pump fatuous feel-good glitz and fluff, which fits the tenor of the epoch perfectly.

The cities are burning, Idols are singing and everyone's dancing with the stars … awesome!

Jackie T. Gabel

Southeast Portland

Officer is helping to clean up Old Town

I commend officer Jeff Myers (Old Town porn shop feels heat, Nov. 30) - and I am by no means always in support of the Portland police.

It is about time someone did something about the crime, drugs and prostitution in Old Town. I remember the 'XXX' sign of years ago. It was an eyesore for a city to blatantly advertise such filth in such a historically rich, ethnically vibrant neighborhood.

This area is unsafe and dangerous at all hours and cries to be revitalized - it is long overdue.

Instead of Old Town being a haven for criminals and drug dealers, let's create an environment where law-abiding folks can safely enter without fear and, in turn, create and support businesses that promote a healthier, cleaner neighborhood.

Mark Uhrich

Northeast Portland