I drafted this letter a week ago but for whatever reason never got around to sending it. Now in the wake of the tragic loss of a popular personality, suicide is on the tongues of everyone. So I thought it best to get this out now before it falls into that pile of “letters I never sent.”
Our community knows as well as any that suicide takes an enormous toll on families, friends, co-workers, schools and entire communities. We can’t afford to stand by and watch this preventable public health issue take more lives in our community — It’s time to take action.
On April 18, 2011 I woke up and found that my 26-year-old son had taken his own life while we slept. Anthony was never diagnosed with any type of mental health illness, but in retrospect and only now as I educate myself I will say that he probably had some type of anxiety disorder. Anthony was that person that everyone loved to be around. He was fun and funny, compassionate and empathetic, lovable and kind. He was the one people leaned on for support. But no one knew about the heartache behind the laughter and the jokes.
We as a society need to do more to remove the stigma attached with any disorders of the brain. We need to treat mental illness like all other illness. We need to call out, reach out and support the needs of those who may not even know they have a need or don’t know where to turn. Since Anthony’s death I walk in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks to honor my beautiful boy’s memory and to support the work of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
During the months of September and October the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Hudson Valley Chapter will conduct six Out of the Darkness Community Walks all across our counties, including one locally, to raise vital funds for prevention research and education and just as important, raise awareness about suicide.
To learn more or register for the Ulster-Dutchess County Walk or any of the six Hudson Valley walks, please visit https://www.afsp.org/hudsonvalley.
Can you hear me now?
“Progress is a nice word. But change is a motivator. And change has its enemies”-Robert Kennedy
Progress is why we moved to Saugerties. We believed we found a place where my family could grow. My neighborhood, our community is changing. We are a combination of generation X and Y. Saugerties, ready or not here we come. We value our families, community, volunteering,
Individual freedoms, we fight for what’s right, speak against corruption, have tolerance, and above it all believe that all people are entitled to their individual rights!
So what happens when you come face to face with the reality that those values may be challenged or worse … taken away? We come together!
The town is attempting to pass a noise law. Let’s make it clear in no way am I saying we shouldn’t have a law, but that law should not compromise or take away our rights in our homes or businesses. Did you know that a noise would have to continually sound for eight hours at a rate of 85 decibels in order to affect your hearing? Eight hours! Who will be paid to sit outside a residence for eight hours to collect data of a constant rate? Not only would the law as written be very difficult to enforce, it’s going to cost tax payers money, waste police time, and give our police and elected officials too much control over what we do in our homes. Do I really need a variance to have a birthday party, run my business, for my child to play an instrument, or to allow my children play outside? If you say no think again .. .kids playing would exceed the proposed 72 dB.
Just last month the concert that was held raised over $60,000 for the town, which helped reduce the municipal debt. The point … it was music, sound, noise … but my 10-year-old’s saxophone, nine-year-old’s clarinet, or seven-year-old’s drums are harmful to our community? How is that so, possibly because there no money to be made for the town at this point? I guess I better get my check book ready to the tune of $250 or enjoy looking good in orange! No — Saugerties, what’s harmful is not allowing this progress, entrepreneur spirit for entertainers and artist alike. What’s harmful is allowing those not for the evolving change be allowed to bully those around them to be silent! Are you listening, those elected officials that are pushing this law? I don’t think you hear us!
Ha! Whatever happened to love thy neighbor? Or better yet respecting a “chain of command”? Those who want silence, have you ever tried to speak with the “noisy neighbor”? I bet not! Just harass the police and those families raising their families who are bringing progress to this town. Let our children be children, let them play! And in the words of Quit Riot, “Come on feel the noise,” we’re already here!
Assertions without evidence
I am always interested in Donna Greco’s letters to Saugerties Times because she reveals herself more fully then in her columns, though her logic remains the same in both. So it is no surprise that her diatribe (ST 7/31/14) about Beth Murphy’s critique of her column should include her usual rude and vitriolic response (for another even more intemperate missive see ST 5/22/14). In this current letter she even introduces some humor accusing Beth of being vitriolic in her correction of Ms. Greco’s reasoning. I suppose that, when one speaks with the voice of God, any person who might correct or disagree is offering the greatest of insults.
The problem with Greco’s presentations are often that she offers her comments as revealed truth when all they appear to be are the usual drivel from Fox News commentators and the big fat liar, hired spokespersons for corporate plutocrats. For instance, where is the proof that receivers of “entitlement” funds belong to any particular party and how they vote in any case? As for her argument, she doesn’t even tell us what these “entitlement” funds are. Are they food stamps, SSI payments, Medicare, unemployment payments, earned income tax credits; what are they? She says these receivers of assistance have foisted the payment of them off onto the middle class — and it seems that she thinks that the middle class is composed principally of Republicans — which dutifully pays the bills. Well, I think I qualify as middle class and I’m no Republican. And in her absolutistic way, she doesn’t even take up the argument that it is corporate interests working largely, though woefully not exclusively, through the Republican Party to shift the tax burden away from the rich onto the middle class. Starting in the 1970s Republicans have spearheaded this effort on the part of the rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Another perspective that Ms. Greco ignores is the vast program of welfare for the rich. For instance, Walmart and other large companies direct their employees to apply for welfare in order to bring themselves up to or slightly above poverty level. Fortune estimates that this amounts to, along with other tax subsidies, $7.8 billion a year as a subsidy for the corporation. This is almost exactly the same amount that Walmart spent last year in buying back their stock, thus further enriching the Walton family. In her remarks against increasing the minimum wage Greco says that to do so would increase the cost of goods and services, further hurting the poor. Well, not so in the case of Walmart. With profits of $17 billion they could just reduce their profit to $9 billion, or just not buy back their stock. In fact in November 2013 Fortune carried a story which argued that Walmart could give its employees a 50 percent raise while still producing a substantial profit all without raising prices. In another publication, a similar analysis was made for McDonald’s which concluded they also could raise wages by 50 percent without raising prices and still make a reasonable profit for shareholders.
To put her thinking in a local context, it is clear that Donna Greco wants to eliminate any kind of aid, except possibly job training, to poor or low income persons. So I have to wonder about a story in the Saugerties Times which appeared on the same day as her letter in which it stated that 43 percent of students in the Saugerties School District are on a free or reduced lunch program. It seems that Ms. Greco’s position would be to take these benefits away from these children. I suppose she would advance the position that a little hunger would sharpen the mind?
Finally, with all of Greco’s disputation it seems evident to me that she presents generalities without any kind of evidence and these are the same old assumptions and assertions created by the rich to turn the not rich against one another in order for the former to continue to amass obscene wealth instead of paying their fair share of taxes in solving the important economic and social problems of our society.