Editorial — Personal stories, ideas can help heal behavioral-health system

Date Published: 
Feb. 9, 2018

While we generally like to think of our community as a little slice of paradise, there’s no denying that this area has witnessed firsthand the nation’s opioid epidemic, from loved-ones lost or struggling with addiction to drug-related crime. Many of us also know someone who struggles with mental health issues, or are ourselves dealing with such challenges, and we know, too, that local mental health resources are sorely lacking.

So it shines a light at the end of the tunnel when we hear that the State of Delaware, and specifically Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long — herself a nurse — are putting a new focus on how the State can better address these needs in the community. It’s even more striking that they are asking for input from the public, so those of us with children, siblings, parents, partners and friends dealing with these challenges, or doing so ourselves, can offer up our experiences and suggestions on ways to meet those needs.

The Behavioral Health Consortium is holding community forums throughout Delaware this month, with the local one being set for this Thursday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Georgetown Public Library. We would encourage anyone who has a stake in this issue — and that’s basically all of us — to attend and give the State as much feedback and as many ideas as you can.

There is no way for one person, one county or one agency to solve these crises in our community, but there is undeniable power in a community joined together toward a common goal.

Point of No Return — As a society, we whine about way too much

Date Published: 
Feb. 16, 2018

Relax, Cupcake.

Those are the words I would want emblazoned across my headstone if, you know, if I were a headstone guy. I like to think I’m more of a toss-him-in-the-Dumpster-with-the-other-garbage kind of guy, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t make a better break-out-the-lighter-fluid-and-catapult guy. I mean, there’s something to be said about really making a grandiose departure from this phase of existence, while simultaneously announcing your presence into the afterlife with a dazzling display of fire and...

But I digress.

Where was I? Right, right, right: “Relax, Cupcake.” It seems that no matter which way I turn, or what group of folks I’m having a conversation with at any given time, the tone of discussion inevitably turns to, well, whining.

Conservatives whine that our current POTUS gets ridiculed unfairly or that women march with funny hats or that the media is always picking on them. Liberals whine that people say mean things or the world isn’t fair to everybody or that somebody has more than somebody else.

Athletes whine that they aren’t “respected” enough by their team owners or fans, team owners whine that players don’t show enough loyalty to their teams, fans whine that owners charge them too much to attend the games and I whine that the Orioles never get enough starting pitching. We whine when actors speak their minds, our food is brought to our table slower than we’d prefer or our plane gets a late start.

And now our whining is turbocharged. With the proliferation of social media, blogs, email chains and web sites, everybody gets a platform to whine to more people with a single whine than at any time in our whiney past. I opened my Twitter app last weekend and the very first Tweet I read was someone whining that a bird outside woke him up too early.

A bird. Now we whine openly about birds chirping. And now I’ve found myself whining about people whining.

Relax, Cupcakes.

I’ve been developing a plan for many years in regards to what I will do when I eventually become boss of the world. It’s similar to how many of you fantasize about what you’ll do with your Powerball winnings, except, you know, way cooler. After having McCann Castle constructed in McCann City, South McCann, my first order of business would be to outlaw whining.

There would be a “Fine for Whine” system established, where you would be penalized X amount of dollars the first time you whine about something that is deemed inconsequential (by me, obviously) and it would increase exponentially with each offense. There might be some tinkering with this, such as a warning for a first offense, but if you whine about receiving a warning, you will instantly be fined like a Stage-4 offender.

I dare you to whine then. Go ahead. Whine.

It’s not like people just started whining recently or anything, but it certainly feels as if it’s picked up steam over the years. Maybe it’s as simple as the aforementioned access whiners have to platforms that offer them a larger stage to whine on, or maybe it’s just that we are more self-entitled or soft than those who came before us.

It’s probably a combination of the two — people have thinner skins today and get their feelings hurt over stuff that doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives, and then they have a method in which to tell everybody just how much their feelings hurt. Remember the old “sticks and stones...” axiom? Well, now words do hurt people, and they are going to tell everybody within earshot — or who has access to the Internet — that their itty bitty feelings are hurt.

Relax, Cupcake.

This is not me joining the “political correctness is killing the country” brigade, by the way. For starters, I don’t think people quite understand what political correctness is. Being ostracized or verbally attacked for dropping the “N-word” is not an example of you being victimized by rampant political correctness. It’s you being singled out for being an ignorant racist. There’s a big difference between the two.

Regardless, this is where we are today. We worry about what everybody else is doing, or what everybody else has, and then we stomp our feet and scream to the heavens that it’s not fair. We hear that our kids are failing a class and we instantly blame the teacher or school system.

You know who my parents blamed when they found out I was failing a class? Does the permanent impression of my father’s shoe print on my backside give you a hint?

Of course, blaming others goes hand-in-hand with this whining phenomenom. Someone shoots a police officer and we hear about how society let that suspect down, or that television or movies or songs have blurred the lines between what’s acceptable or not acceptable. You know what’s not acceptable? Shooting a cop. That’s not acceptable, and we should all know that it’s not acceptable by the time we’re old enough to use the bathroom.

Look, I’m all for people fighting the good fight and standing up for what’s right. I’ve been an idealist my entire life, and keep hoping that my opportunity to change the world for the better will still present itself, and I’ll be ready to take action when it does. We should always fight for what we think is right, and I firmly believe that all of us — no matter our political or philosophical background — want the world to be a better place.

But let’s pick battles that matter and impact people’s lives, and not just focus on things with which we disagree. Life’s too short for whining. Relax, Cupcakes. It’s not that bad out there.

Letters to the Editor

Editorial — Awards show reminds us how fortunate we are

Date Published: 
Feb. 16, 2018

For the 14th year, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and Carl M. Freeman Companies put on the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards, recognizing superlative performances by first-responders in our community.

And, for the 14th year, the presentation stole our collective breath.

Ocean View Police Department Officer First Class Nicholas Harrington and Worcester County (Md.) Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Anthony Rhode received top honors for their efforts in stopping a dangerous suspect on a rampage, ultimately relying on their firearms to bring a chase to an end. What they did was heroic, and we all owe them a debt for their willingness to risk their own lives to protect innocents.

But they were not alone in impressing. Other police officers from the communities performed with bravery, commitment and good old-fashioned police-work to solve crimes and make this a better place for all of us. Firefighters continued to answer the call, risking their own lives and pouring every minute of their spare time into their respective departments. EMTs literally saved people’s lives through their training and professionalism, and spectators to the show were in a constant state of applause throughout the event.

It was another reminder that we are protected and served by remarkable men and women in this community.