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Feedback 10/3

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Art and artists

On reader Michael Nighan's letter on the Otterness sculptures at the Memorial Art Gallery: A dear friend told me how he once enjoyed killing people. He was 19 years old, a combat infantryman in World War ll. He was trained to kill, and he was good at it.

Then one time, as he was watching the man he had just shot crumble to the ground, he saw his hand fall open, revealing a wedding ring. Immediately my friend understood that he had destroyed a human being who would be missed by his family. The incident changed his life.

After the war, he became a university professor. He became a kind and gentle man who hated war. He became my surrogate father. He had become someone entirely different from that 19-year-old who could kill for pleasure.

Michael Nighan does a great disservice to art by implying that the man who murdered that unfortunate dog is the same one who designed that playful, whimsical park at the corner of University and Goodman enjoyed by hundreds of people every day.

We do not reject the monumental works of Beethoven and Picasso because one ruined his nephew's life and the other was a terrible husband and father. Their art is the better part of them, their redemption. Why, then, should we reject Mr. Otterness's delightful park?

If Mr. Nighan is human, and I suspect that he is, we all have sins, some of them serious, that need forgiveness. Mother Nature has not singled out Mr. Otterness. She will hold us all accountable for the many killings we have committed and the many insults we have heaped upon her magnificent work of art. We all ought to beg her forgiveness, but first, we ought to change our ways as Mr. Otterness has obviously changed his.

JOHN KASTNER

The effects of

marijuana

Silly me, I thought the jury was still out on legalized marijuana for New York State, thus the "Listening Sessions" across the state to gain feedback from New Yorkers. Yet after skim-reading the 75-page "Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State" (July 2018) commissioned by Governor Cuomo, it looks like legalization is a done deal unless there's public outcry against it.

There's almost no need to read the entire document because as early as Page 5, the conclusion is: "The positive effects of an adult (21 and over) marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts." The state can think of no better way to avoid disproportionate imprisonment of minorities and combat the opioid crisis than to drive people deeper into a destructive lifestyle and create new and improved drug addicts.

I reject the notion that marijuana is a harmless substance. I base that on unpleasant personal experience.

Only fake science steeped in politics and greed would challenge conventional wisdom and proven statistics in favor of dubious research. Instead, we are to focus on large tax revenues that will be used "for the public good," jobs generated, and the nature of "good pot" as opposed to bad pot.

The only argument I might have liked was the possible decrease in the use of synthetic pot. Then it occurred to me that poverty-stricken minorities and addicts are unlikely to have the cash and access needed to purchase "regulated marijuana" so as to reap the benefits government pot pushers are trying to provide for them.

As for those with serious mental illnesses who may be adversely affected, they will need to be "monitored," the study says. The study also concedes that adolescents and young people who smoke marijuana may suffer adverse consequences, so they will be "under surveillance" by Public Health and Education Officials for the "onset and incidence of psychosis" as well as "effects on academic achievement."

THC is a psychoactive substance. It's not "benign," as the governor's report suggests on Page 2, while mocking the unenlightened era of "Reefer Madness." Legalized marijuana may be the wave of the future, but it's not forward progress. It's not a panacea for social justice or a breakthrough for modern medicine. It doesn't protect our youth, and its truest purpose is not for the public good. The Regulated Marijuana Market is a dangerous cash cow, with an unproven track record.

To quote my favorite fortune cookie: "Make sure that the medicine you take in a rash moment does not turn out to be worse than the malady."

LAURIE CLOCKSIN

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