Our readers also think Portland hasn't evolved for the better and alestinian-run states not so democratic.

Like the story of Unity Center, the tragic death of Christopher Garcia (Man's death while in custody raises mental health system flags, Nov. 8), certainly illustrates a mental health system that is far too underfunded and overloaded to meet the needs of Portand's mentally ill.

But Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare's Beth Epps make an important point about our "really chaotic society" full of "worried and anxious" people. I would say that this applies even more to Portland's poor and homeless. There can be little that is more stresssful than to be living on the street or facing homelessness.

And this stress leads to a great deal of self-medication with drugs and alcohol (which also contributes to downtown's rampant property theft problem).

It is all the more strange then that the one class of medication proven effective at treating anxiety — benzodiazapines — is more and more restricted by the medical profession, particularly for poor patients.

It is hard to believe that a drug that was once so widely prescribed that the Rolling Stones wrote a song about it is now considered more dangerous to patients than drug or alcohol abuse, even the risk of suicide. But that seems to be the attitude of doctors across the country, particularly those treating the poor.

Stephen Shepherd

Northwest Portland

Portland hasn't evolved for the better

Referencing the recent articles, including the Nov. 15 edition of the Tribune, noting the 30-year anniversary of Mulugeta Seraw's brutal murder on a Portland street, I'm beginning to feel as though the next street corner I walk around will take me right into the middle of an old "Mad Max" movie.

As a Portland native, I vividly recall the incident that thrust Portland into an ugly few years. I was sickened that such a thing could happen in my hometown.

During my military years, I was stationed in the south of Texas, and ventured throughout the southern states in the early 1970s. I heard similar stories from folks who grew up in that part of the country. Most all were very curious about Oregon — they had heard it was some sort of beautiful mecca — and I fanned the flames of their interest with stories of camping and fishing in pristine streams and lakes as I grew up.

Here we are in 2018, and we have cowardly combatants battling one another in the streets, like wanna-be gladiators. There is rampant homelessness, thousands of needles strewn about and unbridled public racism.

Apparently, evolution has come to a screeching halt in our very midst. We may as well herd them into Providence Park stadium during the summer months when not much is going on, sell tickets at about $25 a pop, fill the place up and rake in over $500,000 per contest. Use the proceeds for some goodwill.

Mark L. Brown

Southeast Portland

Palestinian-run states not so democratic

One of the most important principles in journalism is not to mix opinion with what is supposed to be factual reporting.

Regrettably, Zane Sparling violated this principle in his Nov. 10 piece, "DSA hijack Blazers game to protest sponsor tied to Israel," by stating that DSA is protesting "Apartheid-like conditions for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza."

No doubt these far-left protesters claim that Israel is practicing apartheid, but this is not only patently false, it is meant to delegitimize and demonize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

The nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch just issued a blistering 149-page report accusing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas of creating "parallel police states" in the West Bank and Gaza in which suspected political opponents and critics of Palestinian leaders are "routinely" arrested and tortured.

Moreover, Gaza, in which there is no Israeli presence whatsoever, is ruled by a radical Islamic terrorist group sworn to Israel's destruction.

Those are the facts that belong in a news article — not slanderous accusations.

Bob Horenstein

Southwest Portland

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