What’s the hurry in Arkansas?

Re: “Church speaks out as death penalty returns” (April 2-8).

As a pro-life moderate Republican, I’m deeply troubled by the impending execution of eight convicted criminals by Arkansas state officials by the end of April. Why the great hurry to kill these people? Because the expiration dates of the lethal execution drugs are at the end of the month. Although it’s controversial in our society, I believe that both the violence of legal abortion and capital punishment are immoral solutions to difficult and tragic matters.

Tim Donovan, Prospect Park, Pennsylvania

Lay Secular Carmelites

Re: “Hearing the call” (Vocations Special Section, April 2-8).

I read with interest your special report on vocations.

I was somewhat surprised though that no mention was made of the opportunity for a layperson to become a Secular Carmelite (OCDS). We only know about it from asking a priest friend about becoming involved with such a group in our area of southern New Mexico. He referred us to the Secular Carmelite community in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We are now exploring that opportunity as aspirants for one year.

The website is www.carmelitaniscalzi.com. There are 25,000 lay Carmelites worldwide. That’s a lot of folks, a lot of vocations.

Patrick Seltzer, via online comments

Where is the U.N.?

Re: “Immigration realities” (Letters to the Editor, April 9-15).

Mr. Thomas J. Fields letter is most sound and reasonable, and I ask, where is the United Nations? Is it not their job to put peace and safety in the global world? Not always intruding on the United States and our safety to take the whole world on.

Where are their solutions to attain this peace and a rule for a peace for all nations?

Weren’t they formed for all the world’s problems and, I thought, for forever peace?

What do they do to help refugees from terrorist and the Mideast countries build peace among themselves and the rest of the world from these Mideast terrorists? Who are they accountable to?

Rose A. Stack, Eddyville, Kentucky

The damage of porn

Re: “Pornography: A growing public health crisis” (March 19-25).

I am excited to see the “Fight The New Drug” website mentioned in the article likening pornography to other drugs. I have experienced firsthand the addictive influence of alcohol, pills and porn. Pornography was, by far, the worst and strongest. The drug of pornography, combined with other drugs at the time, was the only things that brought “feeling” to my life. Oddly, all I really wanted to feel was numb. Yet, I found myself “needing” more and more to feed my habit. Sounds much like the other drugs we already recognize as contributing to the public health crisis and associated high incarceration rates in the U.S., doesn’t it?

Like most drugs over time, viewing adult pornography wasn’t enough. I needed more, and like other drugs, that “more” crossed dangerous lines. I slipped into the world of internet child pornography.

I felt more despair than ever, which only fueled my need for further escape. Like a heroin addict, the next fix of the dark web was all that mattered. I began creating pornographic images of my own.

Prison saved my life. Here, of all places, I finally found the help I could find no place else, which is sad. I am now surrounded by many others in nearly identical situations. I am no longer alone, but this is all part of the larger public health crisis — mental health in particular and the staggering costs of incarcerating people with mental health issues. At nearly $50,000 per year to incarcerate just me, a first-time, nonviolent offender, the idea of passing these insane costs onto the very people we seek to protect — our children — is unacceptable. Prison is simply not the answer or the place for treatment.

Philip H. Wentzel, U.S. Penitentiary, Tucson, Arizona
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