Your Views for February 25

Guns in schools

Thank you to the Puna police for taking the necessary precautions in preventing any potential gun violence at Pahoa and Keaau high schools.

Your presence on school property Wednesday was appropriate, considering the threats of firearm violence that were posted on social media.

Students, teachers and other school personnel need to feel safe and secured.

Shootings at schools are evil and must be stopped. We need to have armed security at schools. This could be accomplished by having volunteers of retired police officers, ex-military personnel and also by training schoolteachers and other school employees to carry firearms.

We ask our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, to give us the proper motivation to take whatever suitable actions are necessary to protect our schoolchildren. Amen!

James G. Borden


Regarding service animals

State Sen. Russell Ruderman recently introduced a bill that would impose fines on people who falsely present their pets as service animals, saying, “There are two kinds of animals we’re talking about. There are the (Americans with Disabilities Act) service animals. Then there are the so-called ‘comfort animals’ or ‘emotional support’ animals.”

This statement, Mr. Ruderman, is false.

Physical disability service animals and emotional disability service animals are service animals. Both require a prescription from a licensed health care professional. Both are under the protection of the ADA. By targeting “emotional support” animals, Ruderman belittles mental and behavioral health.

The senator is not just targeting people who falsely present their animals as service animals. He clearly is targeting people whom he thinks as if do not have a valid disability. It shames me that a Democratic senator from the Big Island could be so very blatantly bigoted toward those in his district who have mental health challenges.

According to the Office for Adolescent Health, 30 percent of Hawaii teens reported depression in 2015, with 11 percent with at least one suicide attempt.

The state Health Department reported in 2006 that 4 to 5 percent of all adults in the state have had an anxiety and depressive order, and 12.4 percent of the population has experienced either anxiety or depression.

Hawaii County (your county, senator) had higher rates than Honolulu. People who suffered most from anxiety and depression had health issues, were lower on the socioeconomic scale and had less access to health care.

There was a bit of good data in that report, though. It showed that adults who had “the emotional support they need” reported the least incidence of depression and anxiety.

You see, Mr. Ruderman, our state Health Department has found that “emotional support,” the very thing you ridiculed, is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Valerie Balken