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Letters: Violence and its ill effects

Past Newsday front pages

Past Newsday front pages

I didn't see the newest Batman film, but I did see the 2008 version with Heath Ledger ["Not helpless to control guns," Editorial, July 27]. I found it to be sinister and soul-sapping.

A lot of what passes for entertainment has no redeeming social value. It makes us numb to death and suffering, it reeks of gratuitous violence, and it enforces a sense of hopelessness and loss of innocence.

I believe in cause and effect. An amoral mega-violent film puts dangerous ideas in the heads of the troubled and weak-minded. It's cause and effect.

Patrick Grant, Rocky Point

I have been a psychologist at John Glenn High School in Elwood since 1978. While I am not an expert on violent crimes, I would venture to say that whatever demons haunted the mind and soul of suspect James Holmes, he was clearly unequipped to deal with them.

According to news reports, one member of our military commits suicide each day. Those who study suicide thought it was the horror of war that drove the suicide rate. Now it is believed that it is not the mayhem and violence on the battlefield, but the quiet time at home, when young servicemen and women are in the solitude of their own thoughts and contemplating what it all meant.

While our school curricula continue to stress the importance of academic excellence, we have failed to teach children about how to recognize harmful emotions. We have portrayed mental illness as something shameful rather than something that must be treated with dignity. We have not taught our young how to cope with the deepest and darkest emotions in a systematic way, and that these feelings can be managed nonviolently.

In our schools as well as universities, we have so much to do in this area. And yet, mental health continues to be first on the chopping block when budget cuts are made.

Anthony Pantaleno, Lynbrook