The Time Is NOW To Act
By Kristenia Johnson
September 16, 2009
After my letter was published on Sitnews I received a number
of responses from my friends and family congratulating me on
saying what they have been thinking for years. I also received
a reply from a man I did not know who shared his struggles
with staying positive while growing up in Ketchikan
and having to combat depression almost year round during
the rain. He suffers from SAD. I also knew to expect those replies
who did not whole or at all agree with my opinion, one opinion
more personal to me was from my boyfriend. While
he agreed with some of what I said he still had his disagreements
and it hurt me to hear a semi-lack of support from him. I soon
realized that this was my big test to understand that not
everyone shares the same opinion. However, this is not about
me or whether you believe my opinion is one sided or not. Aren't
all opinions usually geered toward one side? This is about protecting
and saving our children and our town from drugs, alcohol and
disruptive behavior which will most likely lead to a life in
and out and in jail again.
I would first like to apologize to Miss Mykayla Martin if my
letter came off rude or negative to her in anyway. It was not
intended to be directed toward or at her but as an overall letter
to the community of Ketchikan as a whole. After my strong feelings
calmed and I reread my letter I realized I would have taken offense
to my own tone.
I was very glad to see an increase in letters similar to
this topic, sharing personal experiences and acknowledging there
is a problem. This first step in sharing will lead to the
next step of gathering as a community to action.
Young children and teens saying durogotory comments, consuming
alcohol and drugs does not just happen in Ketchikan and the surrounding
communities and cities it happens everywhere. My concern is the
total number of children, teens and adults in Ketchikan
who are abusing drugs and alcohol, who are contributing
to a negative and unsafe environment for the rest
of the community, is growing and per capita number is overwhelming.
The question was raised by Rebecca Clark in her response to Mr.
Ziegler, "Do you suggest we drug test all recipients
of food stamps, WIC, Denali kids, and Medicaid?" My response
is YES, ABSOLUTELY!
In addition to their friends where do children and teens
pick up habits? From their parents. The statistics are there,
those raised in a home with where drugs and alcohol are abused
are more likely to take up these habits in their own lives.
If adults testing positive to meth, cocaine or are under the
influence of alcohol when they receive their food stamps or WIC,
should not be receiving government handouts until they clean
up. And there should definately not be any children living with
them. I know this moves toward a very touch subject, however,
we cannot continue to ignore the adults who put their children
in harms way. I personally believe in the drug court and placing
those arrested for drug abuse go to treatment not jail.
Drugs and alcohol are not always the problem. Just as Jan
Cadero mentioned, mental health is extremely overlooked
in all. I am very sorry for Jan's loss, I believe there are many
in the US who can understand the pressures her son was feeling.
I for one was jobless for over 6 months I too spent many a night
crying, fearful of how I was going to survive when there were
others out there with families who were (still are) on
the road to loosing their house, their transportation, their
everything and I wanted them to be chosen for one of the
few jobs available before me.
I am positive there are many more children in Ketchikan who have,
are or will suffer from depression. I had bouts throughout my
years growing up but did not go into "deep" depressions
like some do. They feel so bad day after day that they spiral
downward. And suddenly they realize they cannot find the
way out. Children are facing constant struggles and it's time
to make their lives a little less stressful by supplying a safe
fun environment THEY will enjoy, not what adults think they
would like. This requires getting to know the children what do
they like? What would they like to see open up in their town?
Where would they like to spend time? A great idea was mentioned
to me to open a large facility with a computer lab, ping pong
tables, and other activities to keep the kids hands and minds
working. Leann Rimes sang 'Mamma said Idle hands are Devil's
handy work' Oh the trouble you'll get into". I understand
this would require money and money is not an easy thing
to come by especially during these economic hardtimes, but aren't
your children worth it?
Received September 16, 2009
- Published September 16, 2009
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