Letter to the editor

If you are open to it, you can learn tremendous things if you simply read our local paper of any day. Take for instance, the front page of the Argus-press Friday.

Soaring above all, in spectacular example, is the story of Howard Kirby of Ovid. This stand-up gentleman returned a small fortune he believed someone else more rightfully deserved.

Three reported statements by Kirby, say all that there is to say: “…this is the moral thing to do. This is going to help them. I’m so happy for them.” Hats off to you Mr. Kirby.

Below the fold, is a story of the community’s response to the tragic addiction epidemic currently devastating our country. Even while I feel they get it fundamentally wrong, I see the good.

There is nothing more fundamental and revealing as nomenclature, the naming of things. Families Against Narcotics, might as well be named: Families Against Humanity. At the core of FAN is a moral prejudice and a legal bent that just doesn’t work.

That is, it is not a practical nor efficacious approach, as has been conclusively proven over the last 30 years. It should not be a surprise to many a good citizen, that a very high correlation has recently been shown between plant closings and opioid addiction and death.

A better response to this most tragic American experience would be to borrow from the ancient Greeks and do no harm. The movement to a harm reduction and minimization approach to this human problem is frustrated by religion and the law.

The basic social problem is not drugs. At the granular level is the gross income and opportunity inequities that have been maintained and created over the last 40 years.

There is a lot of wrongheaded opinion, again rooted in moral-legal prejudice, regarding the concept “choice.” An educator once told a 16-year-old that while the first time was a mistake, the second was a choice. Even “three strikes and you are out” is a brutal piece of inhuman logic.

There is some persuasive utility to the likening of addiction and diabetes. However, attaching it to the type-2 version, amply reveals the primacy of moral judgmentalism and blaming the victim. The exercise of “choice,” that is, human behavior, happens in a complex social web and, at present, it happens that many diabetics are dying because of the high cost of insulin.

Also in the paper below the fold, is the always welcomed acknowledgment of a citizen, this time Julianne Ackerson of the Chamber, for her extraordinary service to the community. Wherever the contribution, and I learned this in Owosso, such individuals are the gems of the community.

Lastly, above the fold, was notice of the welcomed resumption of the recording and live-steaming of the County Commissioners meetings.

It was the Argus-Press report, earlier in the week, that prompted me to attend Wednesday’s meeting of the Commissioners. At that time, I was dismayed to read District 1 Commissioner Marlene Webster had been removed from chair and committee assignments in retaliation for crossing board chairman Jeremy Root.

Attending the meetings for the first time in months, it was readily apparent that relationships among the board members were strained, particularly between commissioners Root and Webster. Shiawassee County deserves better leadership.

I believe that Root blatantly punished Webster in retaliation for her principled positions having to do with things related to the county jail. Being that such things are important to me, and that Webster is my representative to the board, I took and take this vindictive action personally.

I was close to alone in attending Thursday’s meeting, where I strategically refrained from making the declaratory request I intended.

I make it here: Chairman Root, restore Webster to the leadership of the Community Corrections Advisory Board.

I, too, have serious concerns about Root’s leadership. I have the strongest suspicion that Root’s decision to forego recording the meetings was based on his animus to the spirit, if not the law, of open meetings.

Rich Labdon


(4) comments


So in paragraph five what you are saying is that the use of drugs should be condoned? In paragraph six what you are saying can't be true, because according to Trump the economy is booming, plant are being built all over,(even US Steel. Oops another lie) So if you don't have a good paying job you aren't trying! Paragraph eight you say the problem is income inequality? So the rich don't use drugs too? There are countless poorer people in this world who don't turn to drugs as an excuse.


Not so much condoned (although, it means to refrain from punishment), but better understood as a universal feature of human life. The key is not to do greater, more, harm to the individual. Addiction is a public health issue, those who fall prey are most often those with poor human resources and support, not morally depraved individuals. The rich do drugs and fall to addiction, they are just not treated as harshly. The marginalized have always been the target of moral judgmentalism and punishment. It is much harder to understand and help and so easy, and now profitable, to condemn and hurt.


If I recall correctly It was about 50 years ago that Owosso experienced its first opioid overdose.


Really, no one has anything to say?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.