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Holly Malin

After reading Karen Bowers's article, and being a Christian mother, I feel outrage. Renee Polreis deserves only torture and (legal) death. How long before she murders her other child? Ms. Haralson needs a lobotomy or a straitjacket or both. Little David never had a prayer.

God bless the child that suffers.
Robin Reagan

Upon reading the article about Renee Polreis and her claim that her child suffered from "attachment disorder" and was "violent," I immediately ran to grab the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the "bible" of psychiatric/psychological clinical diagnoses. Oddly, I did not find reference to a specific "attachment disorder." But, given that my manual is the older DSM-III-R and not the newly revised DSM-IV, I realized that I could not judge based on the book alone. I quickly jumped on to my computer and began to search on Medline and PsychInfo, two databases containing up-to-date literature on various disorders and techniques for treating them.

In PsychInfo, I found reference not to "attachment disorders" specifically, but rather to attachment "behaviors." Searching on that, I found one article wherein the author focused on the lack of use of "recent findings in developmental psychology" regarding attachment disorders and noted that neither the DSM-IV nor the ICD-9 make reference to attachment disorder. I would well imagine that the reason "attachment disorder" is not recognized in either book is because the research to date is not conclusive.

What really struck me, though, were comments made by Renee Polreis and her supporters that the child David was "violent" and that children who suffer from attachment disorder can "inflict injury upon themselves." A search of the recent literature turned up no less than (hence, no more than) fifteen articles (of thousands of possible combinations) about attachment behaviors and anger, most of which indicated that a poorly attached child would act out in a preschool setting and none of which indicated violence toward parents.

Another search revealed fifteen (again, out of thousands of possible combinations) articles about attachment behaviors and violence, most of which centered on the relationship between an abuser and the victim's attachment to the abuser, not about an inappropriate attachment between a child and parents.

A final search of the literature revealed no articles about attachment behaviors and self-mutilation. In general, it appears as though there is little, if any, scholarly work supporting the claims of these people about a specific "attachment disorder."

While I do not doubt and in fact do agree that there are problems associated with children who have formed poor attachments early in life, there does not appear to be much conclusive evidence for (or against) a specific "attachment disorder."

Regardless of whether there is such a thing as attachment disorder, the question remains: "Did the punishment fit the crime?" The answer here is an emphatic "NO!" Maybe David Polreis did have an "attachment disorder" (whatever that may mean or entail), and maybe he really did scream, cry, hit and bite. But that by no means gave Renee Polreis the right to beat the child to death. And as for her supporters? All I can say is, wake up and smell the damn coffee! Last time I checked, there was no excuse, moral or otherwise, for hurting a child to the degree that this woman did.

M. Ely
via the Internet

Are We Having Phone Yet?
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Hide and Seek," in the October 3 issue:
I've lived in San Francisco and Austin, and now I've moved to Denver. Before I moved here, friends in Denver warned me that having my phone installed would be hellish. I thought they were being paranoid; unfortunately, they weren't.

It is eight days after my phone service was initially installed. The installer showed up eight hours late, and if I hadn't called US West three times on that day, I doubt anyone would have shown up. One customer-service rep suggested that I have business service installed so that my installation would be treated as a priority!

Since then, there have been two additional trucks sent to my house to correct problems, and today the voicemail stopped working. In all, I figure that I've called US West no fewer than fifteen times. I've spent about two hours on the phone with US West people.

Monopolies such as US West shouldn't be rewarded for poor service performance with rate increases. All of their customer-service performance should be made available to their customers and the regulators who decide their rates. It will be a great day in Colorado when US West has to compete with others for our business.

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