Immigrants' children need mental health therapists

It has been encouraging to read that Sarasota County received state funds which it used to contract with outside agencies to provide mental health therapists to elementary and middle schools.

These therapists will help children who have experienced trauma due to violence, family disruptions, etc.

The county schools also will be tracking and trying interventions to help students with chronic absenteeism from school.

Both emotional trauma and chronic absenteeism affect student's educational progress.

I wonder if funds will be provided by our federal government to help the children of immigrants in Mississippi and other states.

These children, who are U.S. citizens, have now experienced emotional trauma. They returned from school to find their parents were not there for them.

Will they return to school and focus on their teacher? Will they be absent from school? Will they withdraw emotionally or will they act out?

How will they feel about a country that does not care for or about them?

Marcia Rutberg, Sarasota

Overpopulation inflicting environmental disasters

In a recent essay, commenting on the United Nations report highlighting the way we extinguish other species, I suggested cutting the world’s population in half, not just to minimize that particular habit of ours but to reverse the countless other environmental catastrophes described in the report, global warming being, arguably, only the most visible and threatening.

And now, virtually every day, we see a new story documenting that gathering storm:

• The new, encyclopedic U.N. report warning us that the world’s food supply is at “dire risk.”

• The imminent extinction of right whales, now down to about 400 remaining creatures. They die because they become entangled in our fishing lines.

• Saturday’s editorial from the Washington Post on Brazil’s determination to decimate the Amazon rain forest — the “world’s lungs” — as fast as it can.

The tie that binds these stories is our addiction to economic growth, which too often depends on population growth, from the tiniest remote hamlet to global markets.

The upbeat or downbeat language of economic journalism is unmistakable: Growth is good, slackening is bad.

But unending growth of living things does not happen in nature. And we’re now being called to pay the piper.

George F. Gitlitz, M.D., Sarasota

Games, umbrellas restricted but assault rifles protected

Do you remember "Jarts,” the lawn dart game? It was fun, but several kids were injured by the darts and one young girl in 1987 died from being struck in the head. Jarts was quickly banned in the U.S.

Recently a boy in Massachusetts got his arm impaled by a wind-blown beach umbrella. Apparently, this has happened several times on American beaches. Nobody has died. Recently, a U.S. senator on TV said that "maybe we need to regulate these beach umbrellas."

What is wrong here? Almost 40,000 Americans die each year from gun violence. Forty thousand! Recently we've seen an uptick in cowardly assault-rifle attacks on innocent Americans, with at least 31 dying this month alone.

You might respect the Second Amendment, but no sane person can believe that the Founding Fathers could have predicted weapons of war, except single-shot muskets, being in the hands of civilians.

This country has no "well regulated militia." We now have a professional military.

And no civilian ever needs access to a weapon of mass destruction like a semiautomatic rifle which has only one purpose: to kill as many humans as possible as quickly as possible.

Ban assault weapons now!

Dan Awalt, Bradenton

Paid-parking problems about process and price

Barbara Peters Smith's “Slice of Sarasota” article was titled "Downtown meter hassle: More about process than price?"

I'd say both, depending on a person's circumstances.

I went to eat at my favorite sandwich shop, the Main Street Bar. Lucky for Ms. Smith, she wasn't buying a parking pass at the same time I was, or she would have seen a very grumpy old man cussing out loud to himself!

Fortunately, unlike Ms. Smith, I didn't have to wait in line for others to pay who were just as clueless as myself.

I used coins, and, while you don't have to pay for a full hour, the directions were confusing about how not to have to pay for a full hour. An acquaintance tried two different meters and reported the same trouble, but was able to figure it out after the second time.

My sandwich cost about $7.50. So, with parking, the price for my sandwich increased 20 percent, with none of that going to the restaurant or waitresses.

Paid parking does affect both low- and middle-income people on tight budgets and is probably hurting the business of small, low-priced restaurants such as the Main Street Bar.

Larry Beck, Osprey