Butler’s cartoon insensitive, reflects society’s ignorance of
schizophrenia

To the Daily:

I am writing in regards to Sam Butler’s cartoon in Monday’s
Daily (The Soapbox, 04/07/03).

Schizophrenia is a real disease, and your cartoon was a
disservice to the students and faculty at the University who
struggle to cope with its effects. Some of these students may not
yet have a name for what they struggle with. Images of
straightjackets and comments about “crazy pills” found elsewhere in
the Daily’s edition will not encourage them to seek the help that
they desperately need.

My sister is schizophrenic. Having a family member with a severe
mental illness has made me more aware of the harm that jokes can
inflict. I’ve tried to go out with friends in Pontiac only to hear
police in the area refer to people as “crazies” and listen to a
local radio station mock homeless people. It makes me sick.

Our society would rather relegate these people to the street
than provide the necessary help for them to get better. I’ve heard
other people suggest that the public health services don’t
advertise their services or make them easily accessible for fear of
being overwhelmed. In the private sector, severely mentally ill
people are discharged from hospitals before they’re better simply
because private insurance often caps the length of hospital stays
at 30 days. A physician would be accused of malpractice if he or
she discharged a patient halfway through chemotherapy, but the
equivalent for mentally ill patients is standard practice. I’ve
asked the University Health Service to cover mental illness at the
same extent as other illnesses. To date, it hasn’t happened. (And
Butler probably doesn’t give a damn, but at this university it is
easier to insure a random stranger by claiming to have a sexual
relationship with that person than it is to insure my own
sister.)

The perception of schizophrenia is that is untreatable and that
if you have it, you end up in a mental hospital for the rest of
your life. Fortunately, that isn’t true. My sister was fortunate
enough to be put on a new medicine in January that has given her
life again. Butler can call her drugs “crazy pills” if he wishes,
but I call them a miracle. After she first went on them, she called
me nearly every day just so that she could hear me tell her that I
still loved her.

I think she was afraid that somebody who had to take “crazy
pills” couldn’t be loved.

I hope you’re beginning to understand the impact of your cartoon
and of the advertisement that the Daily printed for the U-M
Computer Showcase. A printed apology would be a good step to
helping educate the University campus about the reality of mental
illness.

Sarah Bates

Rackham

Some areas of University life diverse, integrated

To the Daily:

I do agree somewhat that the student body is not as diversified
and integrated as well as it could be. When I first arrived in Ann
Arbor, I coined the term “voluntary segregation” for myself to
describe the groups I saw walking around on campus, separated
mostly by ethnicity. My point here, however, is to say that the
University is succeeding in some ways.

I live on the second floor of Betsey Barbour Residence Hall, and
we are so integrated it totally defies the statement regarding what
someone would see walking into a residence hall (Students voice
concerns over campus integration, 04/09/03). I was amazed at how
integrated my hall was. In pretty much every double on my floor, a
caucasian is paired with a minority. The only ones that were not
were ones where the two people had previously signed up to live
together.

Regardless, the majority of the girls on my floor, and a few
from the third floor, have become incredibly close friends, and
whenever we all have the opportunity to eat together, you would
find girls that are Chinese, Japanese, Caucasian, Phillipino, Saudi
Arabian, African, Indian, Pakistani, Native American and Mexican.
Now, I would say that is a pretty wide variety of minorities and
the majority sitting together. Ironically, in our group, the
majority is actually made up of minorities. This proves that the
University’s goal of integration is working, at least in our
case.

Cindy Chu

LSA freshman

 

War protesters, naysayers on Bush admin. should apologize for
folly of ways

To the Daily:

How about an apology from all the anti-war protesters? Last
Wednesday was the best day since Sept. 11 for the United States,
the Iraqi people and the world in general. Protesters all over the
United States spent so much energy opposing the U.S. leaders, in
the name of peace, saying that this is a war only for oil, and that
President Bush and his aides are war mongers. I’m not particularly
a Bush fan, and I may not know more about the situation than any
other student, but I’m smart enough to trust the people who
definitely do know more about what is really going on in the world.
Bush’s Cabinet, government officials and military leaders are given
far more information than any of us on these matters and are more
than able to make rational, objective decisions. The president’s
military advisers have probably all seen action themselves and/or
currently lead troops. Why would a general want to put his soldiers
in harms way if he knew it wasn’t for a good cause?

Why would Bush want to spend so much money on the war effort
when he knows the economy is weak? Protesters would probably
answer, “They’re idiots.” Well, you’re an idiot. Don’t believe
every conspiracy theory.

Cynicism about the government and authority in general is
popular and highly overrated right now. Our government isn’t
perfect, but it is better than most and is well-enough informed by
the CIA, FBI and other sources to know how much of a threat Saddam
is to us and that region of the world.

He is a bad man and with that much power he’s dangerous. He
never had intentions of complying with any U.N. resolution. He had
a stranglehold on the entire country as demonstrated by the fact
that Iraqi government officials were not forced to lie to the world
anymore. It was wonderful to see them celebrate freely in the
streets and pull down that statue of Saddam as the U.S. military
arrived. Our motivation may not have been to specifically liberate
them, but I have trust that it was at least in our national
interest to get rid of Saddam.

The Iraqi people will have a new democratic government and the
chance to finally enjoy their rich, beautiful country in freedom.
Furthermore, this should put the United States on better terms with
the Arab world having freed their fellow Arabs. How do you feel
about your protests now?

David Kaplan

Engineering senior

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