Letters for the week of Jan. 19

NAMI offers thanks to volunteers
To the editor:
Over 300 people came to The College of New Jersey, on Jan. 8, to hear pianist and psychiatrist Dr. Richard Kogan discuss Beethoven’s life and play his music. Every seat was filled.
   The recital was a fundraiser for NAMI Mercer, the Mercer County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, based in Lawrence.
   Beethoven suffered from depression, paranoia and psychotic episodes, but his immortal music is evidence of the contributions people with mental illness have made — and continue to make — to our civilization.
   Governor Richard J. Codey wrote, "Those who dedicate their time, effort and skills to help others are among the most valuable members of any community . . . I thank them for a job well done."
   We at NAMI Mercer, in our turn, thank all of our sponsors and supporters, and especially the many volunteers who helped us organize the evening. You have given us the courage, energy and funding to continue our services to people affected by mental illness and their families.
Elisabeth Hagen
Secretary to the board
NAMI Mercer NJ, Inc.
Marvin Court
Codey leaves legacy of cruelty to animals
To the editor:
Gov. Richard J. Cody exits the office surrounded by an aura of hypocritical mental health reform. Despite their pleas, no compassion was offered for the mass of people victimized by endless wildlife killing and cruelty, rampages on public land, neighborhood white-tailed deer sniping, netting and head-bolting, and the biased "laws" of the state Division of Fish & Wildlife, and its 11-member, closed-shop, pro-hunting Fish & Game Council arm of enforcement. In fact, he blessed that bureaucracy last year with a $4 million windfall out of the general fund.
   Shying away from blocking the controversial December 2005 black bear slaughter, his refusal to acknowledge substantial scientific alternatives caused emotional turmoil for thousands of nameless, faceless voters and others, whom politicians rarely meet. It was no happy holiday or new year being forced to endure the pre-holiday merrymaking of jolly, armed massacre-yielding head and hide bear trophies.
   He should now beg forgiveness for all those sufferers, and their representative protesters, distraught by his failure to defend them against legalized violence. Without gubernatorial grandstanding on their behalf, they waited in vain for "ethics" to prevail against state and federal wildlife agency demands, which are funded by sales of hunting licenses and taxes on guns, ammunition and equipment. Perhaps sanity will surface along the road to non-lethal wildlife management, protesting violence will not be considered a crime, and the rights and emotional well-being of all classes of people will be respected by legislation, not suffocation under dictatorship.
   Otherwise, we have: "Politics and Sanity — Never Together."
Margaret M. Anderson
Cherryville Road