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Opinion Letters

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, and most suicides are a result of untreated mental illness. We know today that more research, advocacy, and education can help prevent these needless deaths. Like so many others, I know about this personally because in 2011, I lost my dad to suicide.

For too long, suicide has been swept under the rug while families have been made to feel ashamed for losing a loved one to mental illness. Now, some solutions may be within our grasp. For example, studies have shown that placing additional barriers on bridges reduces the number of suicides. Once deterred, people often do not try again, and their suicides just never happen. There are similar important findings in other areas such as neurobiology and clinical treatment, but more research is needed. Just as federal funding made the difference in preventing cancer and HIV/AIDS, more funding for suicide prevention research will save lives.

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Today is June 19, I will not fault you if you've forgotten what occurred on this date two years ago. If you're thinking it's when Kim Kardashian's beaded, see-through Roberto Gavallis' gown was first revealed, no, that's not it. Give up? You don't remember, I'm sure.

On this date (June 19, 2013), Paul Singer (a reporter for USA-Today) exposed a program that allows federal employees and congressional staff to have their college loans paid off by... guess who? Ah, you got that one right, you.

After reading that article I spent most of the month of July (2013) calling all 100 U.S. Senators, the entire N.C .House delegation, and several from back home in New England with whom I was familiar.

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The tragedy and senseless killings of nine people attending a Bible study on a Wednesday evening at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, has impacted many of us in some form or another. I, myself, in disbelief of why and how 21-year-old Dylann Roof, could see within his mind and heart a desire to kill nine innocent human beings. We may never truly understand what goes on inside the mind and heart of human behavior such as this, but it's obvious evil can take over and make us dark and desperate from both within and expressed outwardly. This hatred and not seeing value in human life can creep into each of us in one form or another if left unguarded. Even our culture and especially the media seems more bitter, hostile, and unfriendly toward many of opposing views ... if not in agreement with them you’re viewed and looked upon unfavorably.

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In the Holy Bible we are warned about the blind guides that strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. And so it is with the current administration.

Indeed the mass shootings at churches, theaters, schools and on military bases are terrible and need to be addressed. However, gun control, elimination, etc. is not the answer. If guns and ammo are banned, outlawed, made illegal, it will create a black market second to none. Washington has already proved its inability to control the drug lords. If guns and ammo are outlawed in the stores, you can bet the drug lords will make them available on the streets. At this point, the drug lords will be able to do business with all the nondrug- using constitutional loving U.S. citizens. Washington be “expletive” they will get guns and ammo somewhere.

Guns and ammo are the gnat. Now let’s look at the camel.

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