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Voice: PROBE out of bounds in criticizing church and playing psychologist

March 14, 2001

On the day I wrote this letter I heard on the radio that a young man in Santee went to school and killed two students and wounded 13 others. His friends knew of his plan but apparently did not take him seriously enough to tell anyone in authority. This is horrible. Unfortunately, this scenario has been played out in many schools and churches across our nation.

I am writing this because of the incredibly ignorant answer given to the mother of a young man (24 years old) recently in your PROBE column. The young man has a history of emotional and mental problems that cause him to be agitated and violent. He has threatened many people in our church, including my husband and son. His symptoms seem to be escalating. This was not just a one-time incident in the pastor's office. Our church offered many weeks of counseling and other help, but the problem still worsened. Fortunately, our pastor was wise enough to take him at his word and after his second violent episode (including making physical threats, kicking doors and spitting on walls) a restraining order was obtained.


Our church regularly has many people come to us for help. We do what we can for them, just like most of the churches in the Imperial Valley. We do not discriminate against anyone, regardless of what your PROBE writer may think. We can only help if the person wants to be helped. It is irresponsible of PROBE to advise him "not to tell anyone" of his problems at his next church. The pastor obviously should know, unless this young man accepts professional help and gets his temper under control. Our valley has many agencies, both religious and secular, that deal with these problems regularly, but he has refused.

While churches minister to the poor and those with emotional and mental problems, all threats of violence must be taken seriously. It would have been irresponsible for our church not to take appropriate measures to protect the congregation.

Maybe your PROBE writer should stick to recipes, class reunions and the definition of "cool" instead of trying to be a psychologist and maligning our local hard-working churches.

I am certain the students in Santee now wish they had "overreacted."


El Centro

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