Mail May 14-20, 2008 

Tough Topic, but Thanks

I wish to thank BW, High Country News and Ray Ring for the article, "My Crazy Brother," (BW, Features, April 30, 2008). The teaser on the bottom of the cover page, "Suicide in the West" grabbed my attention. I am 28 years old and the article's topic, which is rarely talked of and usually suprressed, of Western male suicidal tendencies, really made me think. I sat down and wrote the names of people that I was close to who committed suicide and the list came to eight, seven of them friends and one of them a relative. This doesn't include friends who died while performing "suicidal stunts."

They were all male, all talented athletes, seven of eight were professional rodeo cowboys and they all killed themselves with guns. The story of each is the same; everybody knew there was something wrong but it is typically left up to the iconic Western male to "kill their own snakes," so action by others on their behalf is rarely initiated. Nobody ever thinks that because their buddy, son or brother is having a rough go of it that one day he will just shoot himself in the head, but the reality is it happens all the time. Perhaps it is mental, environmental or the fact that Western males take everything to the extreme: sport, drinking, fighting and sometimes, taking their lives.

This is a tragic phenomenon in the West. I hope this article sheds some light on the subject and further research into where mental-health programs are failing. Thanks, BW, for the unbiased publication and the tenacity to publish media that isn't slanted and actually serves an informative purpose.

—Chip Giles, Caldwell

Wise Up

Talk about self-centered and indulged: Your 66-year-old smoking dad dies, and you turn it into a reason to attack the Boise City Council (BW, Mail, "Get A Spine, Council," April 2, 2008). How backwards is that? You want them to "look at the facts and stop with their pathetic excuses," well you better realize that it was your old man who smoked them coffin nails, all by himself. I doubt that any of the city council members stopped by his place on their way home and forced him to smoke a single cigarette. As you said, "smoking is an unacceptable and intolerable form of suicide," and something has to be done.

Well, I guess whatever it was that you did or didn't do obviously did not work. The Boise City Council had absolutely nothing to do with your dad's passing. He chose to do that. Just like the alcoholic that pours another drink. It's called choice, and he didn't think enough of you to choose differently.

I am really offended that you think you have the right to control what others do to themselves. What little ray of sunshine gave you the invisble crown and scepter to rule over the rest of society?

The last time I checked, here in America, we have individual choice. Just like the choice that you have to not go to a bar that has smokers in it. Wow, what a concept. Don't patronize a smoker's bar. I am pretty sure there is at least one bar in Boise that is smoke-free, which should be their choice. If there is not one, well, then maybe you ought to open one up. Just an idea. It is a free country.

So as for me "stand(ing) up for your (my) beliefs," well I think I made my opinion clear. Good luck getting on with your life. It's your choice now.

—Tony Little, Nampa

Come On, Obama

As I hope you all know, we are getting down into the nitty gritty of the Democratric nomination contest. Most likely, superdelegates will be deciding our candidate, something that understandably scares many Americans. The thought of having an election process taken out of our hands is frightening, even with assurances from many superdelegates that they will respect the wishes of the American voters. You may wonder as I do what can we do to make sure our Democratic candidate is really who the people stood up to be counted for? We need to send the message to these superdelegates that they must, as in any situation, turn to the facts. I include for your consideration: Obama has won 31 contests to Clinton's 15. He has so far accumulated 1,752 delegates to her 1,611.

Who have the people chosen? I think that is clear enough. And in light of Clinton's recent comments that she would happily "totally obliterate" Iran if they took action against Israel, we are left with the frightening possiblilty that Clinton, if elected, would continue the foreign policy that has done so much horrific damage to our national image abroad. I implore you, if you are reading this and you have the esteemed status and title of a superdelegate, consider what the people of the United States of America have already shown about where their confidence lies.

—Alison Kavanagh, media coordinator for Broncos for Obama

Vote For Sharon

I would like to ask everyone to vote for Sharon Ullman for commissioner on May 27. I have never known anyone so involved and caring about the issues facing Ada County. Other elected officials already call her for advice and her expertise. She has the experience, knowledge, drive, honesty and ability to serve all of us well.

—Gary Schaeffer, Boise

Hard On Ironman

As a triathlete, I am not ready to support this race. The planning has been shoddy. Instead of a single transition area like many races, there will be multiple transitions. They still have not worked out the run course, and we're less than a month away from the race. What really bugs me, though, is the proximity to the Burley Vikingman. Promoters come in and spend $30,000 for the Ironman rights with the intent of ruining a local race without proper planning and expect folks to volunteer? Not only that, but is the first of June really the best time for a swim at Lucky Peak? I think this race will be a disaster the first year. It may get better but it will take some time and better planning.

—C. Mitchell,


Get Over It?

Badger Bob, your brain must have shorted out when Scalia pulled the old "get over it" card on Leslie but you missed the best part of the interview (BW, Cope, "Some Justice," May 7, 2008). She then went on to ask him if torture should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. You know what he said? He said, and I kid you not, that it isn't because torture has never been called "punishment!" Can you believe it? It is legal because it isn't punishment. I would love to have this twit in the basement for about five minutes and I bet I could get him to change his puny little mind on that.

—R. Ringelstetter, online

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