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Stony Point deserves the upscale mall; Counseling aids recovery from violent encounters; Faith is for the weak and unimaginative

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Stony Point deserves the upscale mall
I am less than ecstatic that an upscale mall is being built in the West End for West Enders only (The Score, April 11). The mall at Stony Point would have been more centrally located and served all of the city. Now I have a choice — do I drive one hour through the West End's maze of stop lights and use half a tank of gas to get to Nordstrom, or drive two hours to Virginia Beach (no stop lights) and visit both friends and Nordstrom? West End loses my vote: — 5 (for abandoning the city of Richmond and its residents).

Also, if an "upscale" West End mall is called Short Pump Town Center, what do you call a low-end West End mall — Sump Pump Town Center?
Ann Clarke

Counseling aids recovery from violent encounters
It was not a psychiatrist who held the disaster debriefing for the staff of the Belle B restaurant, it was a clinical psychologist Metro, April 11.

More than a decade ago, as head of the American Psychological Association's State Leadership Conference, I helped start the national cooperation between the American Psychological Association and the American Red Cross, which led to the establishment of the National Disaster Mental Health Network.

Research has shown that if disaster victims have the opportunity for immediate psychological help, they are much less likely to have long-term difficulty with post traumatic stress syndrome.

Although our services through the Red Cross are free, my colleagues and I generally charge for our services to private businesses and government agencies.

I donated my services to Belle B because they are neighbors.
Norma Murdoch-Kitt



Faith is for the weak and unimaginative
Tom Allen's excellent article about the existence and importance of God was thought-provoking, but incomplete Back Page, April 18.

The premise of his article presupposes the existence of a deity. It also presumes, in a subtle sort of way, that those who do believe in a god and profess a religion are somehow better or more moral than those of us who are atheists, agnostics, secular humanists or other rational beings.

Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, the pope and the rest of the world's elite religious bureaucracy, in general, have manipulated religion into a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry. This industry preys on people's ignorance and fear of the unknown. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson may wrap themselves in the Bible and a belief in a deity, but their vicious bigotry and exploitation of people for profit to finance their own lavish lifestyles, make them failures as human beings.

Tom Allen does ask a good question. ..."why is it that we almost universally admire people of strong faith and wish we were more like them?" I guess it depends on who you ask.

To me, such people are weak, easily manipulated and corrupted, afraid to confront and deal with reality, have low self-esteem, follow the crowd, are susceptible to cults, are unimaginative, and serve as obstacles to human progress.
Mark W. Forster

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