Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in Illinois
February 8, 2020
The (Kankakee) Daily Journal
Suicide symposium ideal time to talk
We, as a society today, seem to be more apt to talk about those sensitive issues we tended to avoid in the past.
A prime example is the issue of suicide, an acute problem that desperately needs to be brought out of the dark and into the light.
Did you know about 123 Americans die by suicide per day? That amounts to 44,965 people per year. In 2019, 18 Kankakee County residents took their own lives.
Those who commit this irreversible act come from all age groups. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-24 and the fourth leading cause among people ages 18-65. Those in their 80s are more susceptible to taking their own lives than seemingly any time before.
There is no magic cure to prevent these tragic events from occurring, but it surely helps to talk, and as the Daily Journal’s Chris Breach reported on Page A1 of the most recent Wednesday edition, an ideal opportunity is just around the corner.
St. John Paul II Catholic Parish in Kankakee will host a Suicide Symposium.
Before you assume this is strictly a faith-based event that might not appeal to you, know this: it’s an event for the whole community, and the organizers would be pleased to see you attend.
Topics will include identifying the main causes of suicide and identifying the telltale warning signs. Breakout sessions will be held to address these subjects, and a question-and-answer session also will be held.
Additionally, the symposium will be bilingual, and translators will be available for Spanish-only speakers. Health agencies will set up booths to provide further information.
There is no cost, and anyone and everyone can attend. Please consider making an afternoon of it. Knowledge is power, especially when it’s shared knowledge. The more people become involved with suicide prevention efforts, the more likely the suicide rate will drop.
February 5, 2020
(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald
The test of leadership now is whether president, others are serious about unity
It is an odd thing to seek unity at the outset of a heated presidential campaign, but, on the heels of a historic impeachment vote and a contentious State of the Union address, oh, how we yearn for something like it.
President Donald Trump took the annual victory lap afforded to presidents with a State of the Union speech that stressed the policies he considers his achievements -- the economy, immigration, military strength and more, all of them issues deserving our review and our thoughtful evaluation.
But it is the topic the president judiciously refused to raise, a topic unavoidably conspicuous by its absence, that most demands our attention. That topic is not just impeachment, but the larger condition of which impeachment is a symptom, the deep divisions within the nation.
The U.S. Senate has spoken on the matter of whether President Trump should be removed from office because of his request to a foreign power and his reaction to congressional inquiries about that request. It has said he should not, and it reached that conclusion in a partisan fashion so steeped in bitterness, resentment and prejudgment that it has been hard to take seriously the arguments or actions of politicians on either side. Even the renegade vote to remove by Republican Mitt Romney, for whom an action so clearly in conflict with his best personal interests seems to resound with sincerity, was greeted in many corners with disdain and suspicion.
But speak the Senate did, and now we are left with a weighty, perhaps uncomfortable question. How do we heal? How do we come together, even with our difference?
That is the issue that most strongly calls out to our president, our political leaders, our social observers and our commentators today. And to us all.
Are we willing to heal?
That does not mean to acquiesce, of course. It does not mean to stop working for the causes in which we believe. But it does mean respecting those whom our constitutional republic guarantees the right to disagree with us. It does mean shaking our adversary's hand. It does mean abstaining from making a show of ripping up a prominent speech. It does mean, on a political level, striving to rise to statesmanlike dialogue rather than stooping to juvenile personal exchanges by tweet.
In the 2016 campaign, President Trump portrayed himself as the "great unifier." He vowed to bring us all together. Where do we find ourselves now? What realist among us would not acknowledge that we are less unified today than in November 2016. If the president is sincere about unifying the country, we're eager to see him start, but tweets ridiculing Romney or crowing about the end of the "impeachment hoax" are not how it will get done.
As the leader of a country riven by animus -- a condition for which he shares no small amount of blame -- we need more from him. And, we need more from all our leaders and all our candidates and all their supporters as we head into a momentous election.
We are troubled to admit we aren't counting on it from any of them. But, oh, how we yearn for it.
February 5, 2010
(Decatur) Herald & Review
Is Illinois proposal a fishbowl too far
Only curmudgeons would begrudge living things kindness, and only grumps would oppose laws to protect those living things.
But a bill in the Illinois Senate, while clearly being proposed with good intentions, might be overdoing it.
Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act already prohibits rabbits, ducklings and baby chicks as carnival prizes, but Senate Bill 2472 would expand the law’s protections to all animals, including the goldfish that winners can take home in a plastic bag.
Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton, a Democrat from Western Springs, introduced a bill that would expand the Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act’s protections to all animals. Existing law already prohibits rabbits, ducklings and baby chicks as carnival prizes. Glowiak Hilton’s bill would extend that protection to all animals, including reptiles, hermit crabs and fish. Like goldfish, a carnival tradition. Bounce a ping pong ball into a bowl and take home the fish swimming inside.
“This isn’t just a ‘goldfish bill,’ ” Glowiak Hilton said. “Carnivals across the country give out other animals as prizes, specifically iguanas and other exotic reptiles.”
But the goldfish make a good target for the romantics and those who grow weary of regulation of every phase of life. Our understanding of the lives of hermit crabs and reptiles have made us realize that to keep them as ideal healthy pets requires more than a passing amount of work.
Goldfish are probably the easiest starter pet we have available. People can learn quickly whether they’re willing to follow through on the commitment needed to care for another living being. Since goldfish live in a world completely unlike our own, that care can also come without an overwhelming personal attachment.
Glowiak Hilton’s bill does not apply to fairs, but she’s planning on an addendum.
As we dig deeper into the story, it becomes a little ridiculous. Glowiak Hilton’s bill suggests a coupon or voucher to be exchanged at a licensed pet store, which means for starters at least one additional trip somewhere, and probably not on the same day. That suggestion also takes away the immediate pleasure of walking away with a prize after a victory.
Ken Tyrrell, president of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, suggests outlawing fish giveaways would be an economic hardship for carnival workers and a disappointment to nostalgic carnivalgoers would who miss the traditional competition.
Maybe relax the bill a bit, Sen. Glowiak Hilton. If the time comes that we learn about the terrors of goldfish in captivity, then the idea can be revisited.