Letters to the Editor

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Saunders, of course, raged about the comment in his column without having actually heard the unedited broadcast. And because the comment appeared in the newspaper, this opened the door for every soon-to-be Clear Channel DJ and talk-show host in the area to go on the air and rail against Stern, initiating a massive public campaign to remove their competition from the airwaves. Columbine was a horrible tragedy, but for Clear Channel to exploit those deaths to eliminate a competitor is despicable.

Name withheld on request

Bernie, Baby, Burn

Can you repeat that? I saw "The Missing Linc," Michael Roberts's October 12 article on Bernie Lincicome's arrival at the Rocky Mountain News. As a lifelong Chicagoan and graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (I'm a freelance writer for a local daily in the Chicago area), I've been reading Lincicome since his first days at the Tribune with a sports fan's fervor and a journalist's eye.

Lincicome is not only witty, but he's frequently repetitive. He is infatuated with the words "cipher" (which Roberts quoted in the Helton reference) and "footwipe." He uses these over and over in his columns. I read the guy every day he was in the Trib, and I had to shake my head at how much he loved those two words. It's like he can't think of anything else. He enjoys ripping on anyone, no matter how much they contribute or succeed. Sometimes he's rather pathetic. Actually, I believe he was mentioned in Sports Illustrated once in reference to a question at a press conference or column he wrote (it was a few years back) as being insensitive and tasteless (my paraphrasing).

He's also rather tedious, especially when he's sent on the road to a different country. His Olympics coverage at the Tribune consisted mainly of going to the host country and finding out how bad, inedible or uncomfortable things were compared to America. Then he wrote a column about it. It got old really quick. It's his only shtick. I'd like to read the September 15 column on the Olympics that Roberts said was "nutty"; I doubt that it would surprise me, though.

Tim Cochrane
Chicago, IL

Show Some Support

Team effort: Regarding Karen Bowers's October 5 "Suicide Watch," about Dick Berger and the Living Support Network:

I was a part of the SDA crisis line in the early days, when we had a back-up relationship with committees and educational guest speakers who did an excellent job of networking and providing crucial liaisons regarding resources for many of our desperate callers. The volunteers I screened were compassionate and focused; some found their volunteer experience to be a catalyst in their deciding on therapy for a career. We needed more professionalism and standardized response; when Chip Frye came aboard, I thought it would be a good chance to get LIS'N AAS-accredited. Imagine what a team we could have been with the core group of bright, sensitive and fully trained staffers. We did propose this to Dick Berger, who declined our efforts. My staff and I resigned in the early '90s because of the direction in which the hotline was headed. Dick Berger does have his heart in the right place, and there is much good to say for someone who has "been there" to help others -- but until suicide hotlines are manned responsibly and without self-interest, what the caller gets is Russian roulette.

Reyan Bensason

Heal thyself: Karen Bowers's revelations about Dick Berger's practice of attempting to assist suicidal people was quite disturbing but not surprising. Why? Because only the relatively few who deal with suicidal/morbidly depressed people really understand and comprehend the devastating, mind-boggling dysfunction. Whether we are trained through the traditional medical model, the psychological paradigm or experience, the global perspective of the ailment is rarely understood.

However, I would like to offer some suggestions to folks who lead lives that seem to take the serpentine path over the great chasm of the deep, dark abyss. You need to proceed along this tightrope of life with a balancing pole of coping skills. Along with the pole, one must have a thick and close net below that consists of support systems. If one leaves it up to the system alone, the outcomes can be devastating, regardless of the amount of appropriate psychotropic medications and/or psychotherapy. Be patient with the process -- it is like being at Terrapin Station for a time.

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