This is a very moving and informative story ("Homeless Front," April 9). I don't know how any military person returning home after serving on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan could not have PTSD. The terror of what they did (in the name of our country) and what they experienced over there would really mess up anyone. Then coming home to an entirely different reality and trying to fit into their old lives and relationships is another corkscrew.
IMHO, the problem is at the front end, and that's really where the focus should be.
Defending our country on our soil is one thing; engaging in an optional war is really unfair to those who we ask to serve as our surrogates. Those who believe in starting such a war should be the ones who serve in it. I understand that all those who serve do so in a volunteer capacity; we don't have a draft. However, some of them see no other option in their lives, and others naively believe that the benefit they receive (in experience, money, education, personal growth and responsibility) will outweigh the horrific blowback of the experience. Though not all service people serving in war end up with such debilitating PTSD that it's nearly impossible for them to function normally in our society, I have a hard time believing that most of them don't have varying degrees of it.
I don't understand ("Dharma Bummer," April 9)! Seems to me that Cazadero resident Mike Singer and other residents are taking the same approach the Chinese government did with Tibet. Didn't we learn a lesson? The residents of Ratna Ling are trying to bring enlightenment and understanding to a dark world, and some want to restrict that freedom? Though it seems many in Sonoma county are very accepting and tolerant, not everyone is, unfortunately. If Dharma Publishing ceases, there will no doubt be another publisher, person or thing that will carry the same principles, just as Tibet did.
Keep on with it, Ratna Ling. You bring us freedom. Cazadero, leave those monks in peace!
I have just one question for Dharma Publishing: What would Buddha think of your barbed wire fences?
Mr. Biafra blames computer whiz kids for raising the cost of San Francisco housing ("Jello-Rama," April 2). His waxing nostalgic about the '70s should be adjusted for inflation, lest he become the kind of curmudgeon who starts every sentence with "Why, I remember when . . ."
Rent control had the effect of maxing out rent increases every year, maintaining high baseline rents for empty units and for builders growing reluctant to meet demand. Why, I remember a time when landlords would value a decent renter and not raise rents for years. But those "good old days" ended in 1979—just about the time the Dead Kennedys came on the scene. Coincidence? You decide.
I rented a house for 10 years from a landlord who forced me to waste water on a front and back lawn. What did he care? He doesn't live in Sonoma County, and we had to pay the water bill.
This past year, we were lucky enough to buy our own place, where we promptly ripped out the lawn and installed low-water-use plants. Unfortunately, there are still many other renters who are forced to waste water to satisfy the whims of an absent landlord. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, from the standpoint of both water conservation and renters' rights.
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