Excellent article (“Suicide,” feature, 9/1)! Thank You! You got it right on! I’ve had several people very close to me commit suicide and consider suicide. I am familiar with the 72-hour mental health lock-up. For a close look at what the suicidal person experiences read Darkness Visible by William Styron.

Chris Cade

Veteran suicide and pushups

Good article on suicide (“Suicide,” feature, 9/1) but why no mention of veteran suicide, up to almost 22 suicides a day! There seems be a nationwide epidemic to almost avoid the subject! September is Suicide Prevention Month and you would think that with the number of veterans killing themselves they would figure somewhere in your cover story.

Here is something I found unbelievable …

September is Suicide Prevention Month; that and the new “22 push-ups” movement have really left a sour taste in my mouth. Every day between 1 and 22 veterans kill themselves, and most people just want the “problem”’ to just go away.

I have been crackin’ up watching celeb’s do 22 pushups to “raise awareness”; now people are hopping on the push-up bandwagon, touting concern, but the numbers don’t lie. Veterans are killing themselves, and for some reason no one — wait, that is not true — there are thousands of dedicated people focused on this issue and are “boots on the ground” calling, making contact, etc., and helping to save lives! Funny thing, the 22 pushups has already begun to lose steam; I guess we needed to pour a bucket of ice water over our heads to really get national attention!

I guess my issue lies with the millions of people that just want it to go away.

Bottom line, direct action/contact is ALL that really works! A phone call, a cup of coffee, a ride to the VA, a suicide prevention center, direct action is the PROOF that these fellow humans and HEROES need to see. Do people really think a homeless veteran close to suicide is watching TV or on the Internet?? These guys/gals are living in a refrigerator box under a freeway overpass for God’s sake!

Erik Shaw

Editor’s note: The suicide cover story was homed in specific to Ventura County residents and deaths inside the county lines. The only “local” statistical data available about veteran suicides is for the state of California; there is no conclusive data that shows Ventura County has or has not seen a high number of veteran suicides. There is a new effort, however, to do such background data collection through the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Be sure to vote

California is not a swing state.

The presidential race is apt to be decided long before polls close here, resulting in a low turnout locally — especially after the big race has already been decided.

Low turnout provides an opportunity for well-financed special interests to make their weight felt with deceptive claims that go unchallenged.

Already, relentless media attention has focused the public on bombastic assertions and manufactured issues, deflecting from the realities we need to address. It is hard not to be caught up and waste further energy bashing either Trump or Clinton, however amusing that might be.

Local issues and local officeholders are apt to have a greater effect on our lives, and certainly we Californians have more power to decide the outcome.

We must turn our attention to the less sensational task of studying our lengthy ballot and making the best choices among the contenders — listen to what they say, examine their records, maybe donate to the good ones. And then vote.

Margaret Morris

Vote YES on 67

Take an important step toward cleaner communities and a plastic-free ocean by voting “YES” on prop 67.

Did you know there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050? You can help prevent this by voting “YES” on proposition 67 at the very end of your ballot this year. Proposition 67 would uphold existing law and enact a statewide ban on plastic shopping bags at grocery stores and similar retailers. Plastic-bag litter is ugly and can be deadly to wildlife. The ocean is downhill from everywhere so plastic pollution makes its way to the beach and ocean through storm drains and from a variety of sources such as overflowing trashcans and littering, both intentional and unintentional.

More plastic is reaching the ocean every year so we need solutions like this to help protect animals that many of us love such as sea turtles and otters. Plastic-bag litter directly impacts those species and many more while there is an easy solution with reusable bags. I see the blight from plastic-bag litter while riding my bike around Ventura. In fact, it’s amazing what you see when you slow down a little. On the beach at Pierpont I have also seen a cormorant that perished with a plastic bag around it’s head. To take an important step toward cleaner communities and a plastic-free ocean, it is imperative at the end of your ballot to vote “YES” on proposition 67.

Bill Hickman
Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter, Vice Chair