A wake-up call
I was just reading your article on kleptomania, and think I could be of some help.
I used to have a problem with kleptomania when I was younger. Starting at the age of 11, I started stealing at my grandmas house in Texas and kept right on stealing.
Id take everythinga shiny hubcap, a key chain, pencil, gum, movies, video games, toys, anything. I broke into peoples homes. A lot of people do it for the rush, and thats what I had. I didnt realize it when I was doing it, and then Id get home and wonder where I got all the stuff.
Most of the time, I did not get caught, but I had to go to jail more than once. The last time I was in jail was eight years ago, and it was a wake-up call. The judge said hed send me to prison if I didnt stop what I was doing.
I was 30 and I got down on my hands and knees and broke down crying and asked God to help me.
God works in mysterious ways. People say theres so no such thing as God, but hes the higher power, and he has magic. A lot of people dont believe in that, but I had a spiritual awakening.
I changed everything -- my hair, my attitude, and especially my friends. I stopped drinking. You just gotta have hope for the best. Just get help. For me, it was the grace of God. He works in mysterious ways.
Now I just keep busy to keep myself occupied. Ive got kids, and they keep me busy, which helps me overcome my craving.
You have to substitute different things like hobbies or reading books. I spend time with my family and gardening. I love to mountain bike, hike, and anything in the great outdoors. And I do anything I can to help the community.
Once in awhile I see kids at the mall thinking they are gangsters, and I tell them, I wouldnt go down that road; I used to get in a lot of trouble. Now I respect everyone. Some will listen, some wont, but theres no turning back. Once I almost got shot after I broke into someones house; if it wasnt for them turning on the light and seeing who I was, they would have shot me.
My grandma has since passed away. I never had the chance to tell her I was sorry or I loved her before she died. But I do try to help people out who have no money or no friends. A lot of times when you have a problem, people dont want to help you. They judge you instead of hearing you out.
If you steal, remember there are consequences for everything. Youre not only hurting people, youre hurting yourself. Once you get out of stealing and get help for yourself, youll get a big weight off your conscience and you dont have to keep looking over your shoulder anymore. Youre never too old or too young to learn.
J. Reyna TC
With unemployment at 13 percent and predicted to reach 17 to 19 percent by years end, Michigan continues to lead the nation as a complete macro-economic failure. The last 10 years can be termed Michigans lost decade because, unlike other states, we have experienced no economic growth. Unfortunately, Lansing politicians are completely focused on a top-down model of governing.
This past week is a perfect example of Lansing politicians continuing to do more harm than good. The Michigan House of Representatives trampled on private property rights, individual liberty and economic prosperity by voting to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. The last I checked, smoking tobacco was a legal activity, and with recent voter approval smoking marijuana for medical reasons is now legal in Michigan.
As the father of four children with moderate to severe asthma, I take my duty to protect my kids seriously and am very cognizant of where I take my family to dine out. However, I am also fully aware of Michigans dire economic climate. This proposal is estimated to cost at least 7,500 jobs, limit a legal activity, and impede on private property owners ability to make decisions. More than 5,600 Michigan bars and restaurants have chosen to go smoke-free. These job-providing, private property owners made the choice that smoke-free was the right decision for their establishment.
Central control from a Lansing bureaucracy that determines winners and losers is not the basis for a free society. Central control is the basis for a nanny state where citizens are prevented from making their own decisions. The legislation that passed the state House defines smoking as an activity that is only acceptable in Detroit casinos, Indian casinos and cigar bars. This places every other venue near these locations at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
Americans For ProsperityMichigan urges the state Senate to stand up for liberty, property rights and economic prosperity. We certainly do not need politicians in Lansing engaging in nanny state politics while our economy continues to sink.
Scott Hagerstrom Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity
This letter is in regard to the article written in the Northern Express, May 11.
My wife Sharon and I are both non-smokers and we have been spending the winter in Florida for the last nine years where smoking in restaurants has been banned.
I believe Michigan most certainly must join the 30 other states and ban smoking in restaurants and bars, and I might add it is way past due. This idea that its a recipe for disaster and what will be banned next such as trans fats from restaurants doesnt hold water. Everyone knows smoking is a killer.
While alcohol and drugs can be dangerous and have taken a number of lives over the years, nothing comes close to the damage caused by smoking. Smoking kills more than 400,000 people a year; more than one in six people in the United States, making it more lethal than AIDs, automobile accidents, homicides, suicides, drug overdoses, and fires combined
Mike Nolan, president of an association that represents 38 cigar shops in Michigan said the tobacco industry contributes millions of dollars each year to the state and a complete ban without exemptions would greatly impact Michigans budget. It is estimated that the U.S. spends not millions, but $50 billion each year on smoking-related health costs.
When my cleaning company used to go into restaurants and bars to clean walls and ceilings, the dirty water would run down looking like coffee from the nicotine and my employees would need to wears mask to keep their noses from burning.
I believe restaurant owners would welcome the passage of a bill to ban smoking from all restaurants in Michigan. They would not need a separate room for smokers, would not need to appease many of their employees, and would have a cleaner, non-smelly facility.
I hope my letter will encourage legislators to ban smoking in Michigan restaurants.
Joe Andres Leelanau County
I am responding to the letter Guns in our parks on June 1.
This is not about the NRA. This is about the implication that law-abiding citizens who carry concealed pistols are intent on harming or harassing others, just because they are carrying a gun.
I find this very offensive and quite childish. In order to legally carry a concealed weapon, from my experience, you need to first have the pistol registered. Now you and your gun are listed with the sheriff. Now you will need to take a class that will take about eight hours or so and cost you about $150. After you have passed this safety class, you will need to apply for a concealed carry permit. This costs about $100. Along with the application you will be fingerprinted and have a background check.
So, my point is this, why would I go through all of this hassle of being so easily trackable by the government and paying out $250 just so I can harass a park ranger or whomever I choose and lose this privilege I worked so hard to get?
Hans Benghauser via email
GM‘s deal with China
General Motors (GM) received $20 billion in U.S. government loans and might need another $50 billion to survive.
GM plans to close a number of U.S. plants and lay off thousands of workers. The UAW has agreed to eliminate or reduce employee benefits to drop the average wage, including benefits, from around $75 per hour to near $45 per hour, which is the average wage of U.S. auto workers at foreign plants in the U.S. Hopefully, GM will cut management staff and reduce executive salaries. These actions should make GM cost competitive and save thousands of American jobs.
However, to my astonishment, GM plans to increase imports from Mexico, South Korea, Japan and China from 15 percent in 2009 to 23 percent by 2014. Approximately 50,000 cars will be imported from communist China by 2014.
Evidently, U.S. taxpayers are loaning GM $20-$50 billion to stay alive so it can close U.S. plants, lay off U.S. workers, transfer some production to foreign countries like communist China, and import inferior cars to the U.S. so more U.S. workers can be laid off. And our insurance rates and health care costs will increase from accidents as the wheels falls off the Chinese-made vehicles.
We dont need imported cars. We need fuel-efficient, reasonably-priced cars manufactured in the U.S.
Donald A. Moskowitz via email