Regarding Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s April 2 column, “Social Media Star Lee MacMillan’s Journey Reaches a Devastating End,” my heart goes out to Lee MacMillan’s family and friends at this difficult time.
When I was in high school, longer ago than I care to remember, a close friend took her life under similar circumstances. Back then, we didn’t have what we now call supportive services, and we never really talked about it. It just was.
I’m glad those times are behind us, and that MacMillan was in fact getting the support and assistance she needed. But even with all that, as her friends so lovingly wrote, “And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand.”
That’s the challenge with no solution. Until we figure it out, there will, sadly, be more MacMillans.
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I am a Santa Barbara native and have two children who are also born and raised here. It concerns me to see so many homeless, more than ever before.
When I was young, there were many homeless sleeping in the “big fig tree” near the railroad tracks. They spread to State Street and parks, and this past year they have spread to freeway on/off ramps.
We are not far from major tent cities popping up like we see happening in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Los Angeles didn’t nip it early and now they are paying a very dear price for neglecting this issue.
This is certainly not an easy situation to resolve. I read a letter recently drafted by a local business owner who said it isn’t a housing issue and urged us to stop relying on the homeless to voluntarily check themselves into supportive facilities. It was also pointed out that we, unfortunately, value one’s personal freedoms over the well being of the homeless population. I agree.
Our approach over the last several years is systematically failing, badly. I realize COVID-19 has made it much worse this past year, and I am relieved to see efforts to address this problem.
My heart goes out to the people who are homeless. My heart goes out to the business owners who are often left alone to tackle this problem. My disappointment is in our city officials and community who can and should do a better job. I include myself in that there must be more we can do.
We are a wealthy, educated, caring community, and we can and must do better.
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Regarding Diane Diamond’s April 27 column, “When Is Legalized Suicide Acceptable, and When Is It Not?” comparison of euthanasia laws in other nations, like Canada, do not compare with the strict U.S. medical aid-in-dying laws in California and several other states.
The core requirements and safeguards for medical aid in dying have been unchanged since Oregon voters approved the first law in 1994. That law states that the person must have a terminal prognosis and be mentally competent to make their own medical decisions.
The California End of Life Option Act specifies that “a person shall not be considered a ‘qualified individual’ … solely based on age or disability.”
If a mental health assessment is requested by one of the two acting physicians, no aid-in-dying drugs will be prescribed until the specialist determines the individual has the capacity to make the decision and is not suffering from impaired judgement due to a mental disorder.
The California law is due to expire at the end of 2025, and a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study showed that one-third of terminally ill people have been unable to complete the time-consuming, 13-step process to access the law. Thankfully, the state Senate Committee on Health supported legislation, Senate Bill 380, which would remove regulatory roadblocks to access the law and make it permanent.
As a hospice nurse, I have witnessed unnecessary suffering when people were unable to access the law in a timely manner.
Deborah Molnar R.N., retired hospice nurse
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