OPINION: Letter to the Editor
We're No. 1! Rape, domestic violence, suicide, child abuse, fetal brain damage from alcohol, and alcoholism: for more than 40 years Alaska has the highest rates in the nation. A recent survey of Alaskan women found one in three had been raped. Must we endure this?
Given our wealth and small population, we should be the happiest and healthiest bunch of people in the United States. We very much are not.
But, Alaska has more than $10 billion in the bank because of recent high oil prices. This money is not in the Permanent Fund and it's not committed to anything. We have money. We don't have a plan.
Don't we have the responsibility to be No. 1 at dealing with these things? We need more than small changes to existing programs. We need a revolution.
Let's show we're serious and create a $1 billion Alaska Public Safety and Welfare Fund to support existing programs while taking time to coordinate interagency programs, planning and research. Let's figure out how to be No. 50.
If not us, then who in the world has a chance?
Please write letters to the editor and emails to the governor and legislators, comment on Facebook.... This is Alaska in the information age. Democracy works here if we make it work. Legislators can only represent you if they know what you want.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that we could be No. 50 instead of No 1. It is our responsibility to become the best in the nation in treating and preventing these things. Other groups of people have these problems too. Alaska could be where they come for training and to do their research.
This is about being happy and healthy but investing in, and spending money on Alaskans would be good for all parts of our economy as well.
John Palmes, Juneau