Should I give this public speech or not?

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Thread: Should I give this public speech or not?

  1. #1
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    Should I give this public speech or not?

    I really hate public speaking and have never done it before, but I'm a bit fired up over this. One of my husband's friends is a preacher who owns a small group home for the mentally ill. This home ensures the occupants (who are all willing tenants), are properly medicated and supervised. He wants to open up another home, and the neighborhood is riled up about it. I completely understand their concerns, but being married to a mental health therapist, I also understand how important it is that these individuals get proper treatment.

    There have been several community meetings that have gotten verbally heated, and the preacher has gotten speared as being money-hungry (he has a very tiny church and does not live in a multi-million dollar home), and the citizens are concerned that these tenants are going to shoot up schools and whatnot. One other therapist has tried to speak on his behalf and try to educate the community about the type of tenants and medication and address their fears and concerns, but they were extremely rude and she gave up and left (all these meetings are held in a church, which especially peeves me that such a great amount of disrespect is given in such a location).

    Tomorrow my husband is going their next meeting, along with his friend who wants to open the facility, to say his own words. I've been waffling on coming, and here is what I had planned to say. I have a lot of mixed feelings on the subject.

    --------

    As a mom of two small children, I do everything in my power to protect those children, so I share your concerns about having a home for the mentally ill in your neighborhood. Having this type of facility raises safety fears. I will address that later on.

    On the other hand, my husband is a mental health service provider, and I understand that without people like him who help those in need, the needy go without. Which is worse? Properly medicated and supervised, or left untreated because there is nowhere to go?

    My husband, for legal and privacy reasons, does not share names and specifics of his clients with me, but I do know the types of clientele he has, and one was a pyromaniac.

    Imagine this child, who on the outside looks like a normal kid from an average family in a manicured neighborhood, has a proclivity to set things on fire as his way of coping, as his way of relieving whatever traumas and afflictions he has suffered. Imagine him with a matchbook in his pocket. He has two paths. He can get treatment or he can go without treatment.

    So image him with his matchbook in his pocket, and he's sitting in my husband's office, fantasizing about burning his neighbor's house down.

    He begins his session one stroke shy of wanting to light that match as soon as he gets home, but as he's listening to my husband, he starts to realize that here across from him is one person who wants to listen to him, speaks evenly to him, and doesn't throw his hands up in the air, scream at him, and beat him like he gets at home.

    He starts to spill his emotions and by the time his session is over, it's taken the edge off, he is much more calm, and his want for committing arson has been extinguished.

    Now imagine this same child on this same day, but instead of getting treatment, he is left to mill about on his own with this matchbook in his pocket. He sits in his bedroom while his parents fight in the next room, and then he slips out his bedroom window and grabs the full can of gasoline from the lawnmower shed.

    Which is worse? Properly medicated and supervised, or left untreated because there is nowhere to go?

    I understand your fear of having a facility in your neighborhood. We fear what we think we cannot protect ourselves from. If you are afraid of your house burning down, you keep fire extinguishers handy, check the batteries on your smoke detectors, check your oven to make sure you turned it off, and you know to dial 911.

    How about the pyromaniac neighbor's kid who wants to burn your house down - the one who was left untreated because everybody insisted that if they just turned a blind eye, there really wasn't a problem?

    Which do you have more to fear from? Properly medicated and supervised, or left untreated because there is nowhere to go?

    Do you want the perception of safety, or do you want actual safety?

    We as parents and citizens share the same want of protection for your children and yourselves. How many of you have checked the TN sex offender registry to find out what kind of creeps are already living in your neighborhood?

    /////// So while you're concerned about properly medicated and supervised individuals, you don't know who your neighbors are?

    I've looked at the registry. It has names, addresses, pictures and their offenses. There's not many in my area, thank goodness. But those are *known* creeps who have been busted.

    Two doors down from me is a creep, who on one day, while he spotted my neighbor's teenage daughters sunbathing in their back yard, started cat-calling them and then went back inside, undressed down to his underwear, and came back out, waggled himself and continued the catcalls.

    The sheriff ended up over there and they questioned him and took his computer for examination make sure he wasn't downloading kiddie porn. But he wasn't charged and convicted of anything, so there's at least one creep in my neighborhood who's off the radar.

    But there's some folks off the radar out there who are far, far worse. The kind who beat you, rob you, rape you, and kill you.

    Do you want the perception of safety, or do you want actual safety?

    The *perception* of safety is congratulating yourselves for preventing the opening this Christian facility for helping those in need, and then going back home and sleeping a sound sleep and believing that you are in an inpenetrable bubble.

    *Actual* safety is making sure that those who are in dire need get the help they need, because if we can prevent a fire, is it not our moral duty to do so? *Actual* safety is education on the problems we face, and the means and the ability to handle those problems. I prefer actual safety, so if one of those off the radar creeps came through my window to harm me and mine, I know exactly what means and abilities I have to stop him.

    I care for my family, I care for my neighbors, and I care for my community. I believe that we should be prepared to not only fight fires, but prevent them. I came here not for my husband, or this preacher and his facility, but for the people who need treatment, because of a friend of mine who cannot be here.

    He is dead because he did not get proper treatment. He answered when his country called, and when he came back from the Vietnam War, his family and his neighbors and his community shunned him. He had a bad case of PTSD and no one close to turn to.

    Back then, psychological treatment was poor to nonexistent for our veterans. With his mind crumbling and not even the anchor of family and community to turn to, his body also began to crumble. We joked and I called him Mr. Potato Head, because he really was a bucket of parts. One day, he decided he had enough and overdosed on prescription pain medication.

    If this were to happen all over today, he would have a facility to go to, professionals to help him, proper medications and supervision, and he would not only be alive, but a happier person and not a crumbling shell.

    Philippians 2:4
    Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    msgt/ret and WHEC724 like this.
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  3. #2
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    Go Betty!

    A very thoughtful speech, start to finish.

    Sounds like a community attempting to accomplish the equivalent of the ostrich sticking his head in the sand.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array technomonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betty View Post
    Two doors down from me is a creep, who on one day, while he spotted my neighbor's teenage daughters sunbathing in their back yard, started cat-calling them and then went back inside, undressed down to his underwear, and came back out, waggled himself and continued the catcalls.
    point and laugh was all the girls needed to do. look how small it is...

    and yes, give the speech
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    “Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.” Winston Churchill

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array matthew03's Avatar
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    Betty, first let me commend you for assuaging your fears of public speaking and standing up for what you believe in. In my last position I often spoke to large groups about a program I initiated, some who were looking to work with me others who were being made to or were undecided. So I know a little about speaking to groups who possibly were uninterested in the subject being broached.

    It sounds like the people you will be speaking to have their minds made up about not wanting the home in their neighborhood. Your desire is to convince them otherwise so you need to hit on positives. I am afraid with some of your examples they are going to hear the negative aspects and even though you follow with positive examples it is the danger/uncertainty that will stick in their thoughts. Your mentioning a Pyromaniac will create in their minds a fear, not a purpose for the home to be there. Do not try and scare them into submission, that will surely backfire. Be positive, I see you are very passionate about this so use your passion to influence the crowd.

    Yes, give the speech, and win them over, just be positive and word things carefully.
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  6. #5
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    I don't know if I agree with the content, but if that's what you believe, say it. I'll bet you would regret it if you passed up the opportunity.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

  7. #6
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    I know I'm just judging by your posts over the last few years, but you're a reasonably intelligent person and well spoken. Use it!
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
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  8. #7
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    This morning I've done some more thinking and tweaked the speech and made it a bit shorter, too. The location has changed; it's no longer in a church but at a school. So that's a whole new level of fun in a disarmament zone.

    ----

    I came here not for my husband, or this preacher and his facility, but for a friend of mine who cannot be here.

    He is dead because he did not get proper treatment. He answered when his country called, and when he came back from the Vietnam War, his family and his neighbors and his community shunned him. He had PTSD and no one close to turn to.

    Back then, psychological treatment was poor to nonexistent for our veterans. With his mind crumbling and not even the anchor of family and community to turn to, his body also began to crumble. We joked and I called him Mr. Potato Head, because he really was a bucket of parts. One day, he decided he had enough and overdosed on prescription pain medication.

    If this were to happen all over today, he would have a facility to go to, professionals to help him, proper medications and supervision, and he would not only be alive, but a happier person and not a crumbling shell. At least the community has changed over the decades; instead of shunning our veterans, we have welcomed them back with open arms, because as we watched our spouses, fathers, siblings and friends fall apart from the last war, we vowed to never be party to it happening again.

    Here are two problems, and here are two solutions.

    The first problem: Untreated mentally ill can pose grave danger. As a mom of two small children, I do everything in my power to protect those children, so I share your concerns about having a home for the mentally ill in your neighborhood.

    The second problem: The mentally unwell need treatment. My husband is a mental health service provider, and I understand that without people like him who help those in need, the needy go untreated, and when they go untreated, bad things can happen.

    The first problem: Untreated mentally ill can pose grave danger.

    My husband, for legal and privacy reasons, does not share names and specifics of his clients with me, but I do know the types of clientele he has, and one was a pyromaniac.

    Imagine a child who has a proclivity to set things on fire as his way of coping, as his way of relieving whatever traumas and afflictions he has suffered. Imagine him with a matchbook in his pocket. He has two paths. He can have no treatment or he can get treatment.

    Let's try no treatment. This child sits in his bedroom while his parents fight in the next room. His rage is boiling over as he scrapes his thumbnail across the matchbook striker, over and over, fantasizing about burning his neighbor's house down. And then he slips out his bedroom window and grabs the full can of gasoline from the lawnmower shed.

    As we are here in a school today, we must think: What creates the Adam Lanzas of the world? How many people stuck their head in the sand and pretended there was no problem? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If one is washed away, we are all the less, and should we turn a blind eye and allow one to erode and take the land with him, how are we not responsible?

    The second problem: The mentally unwell need treatment.

    Now imagine this same child on this same day, but instead of being cast aside, image him with that matchbook in his pocket, and he's sitting in my husband's office.

    He begins his session one stroke shy of wanting to light that match as soon as he gets home, but as he's listening to my husband, he starts to realize that here across from him is one person who wants to listen to him, speaks evenly to him, and doesn't throw his hands up in the air, scream at him, and beat him like he gets at home.

    And then he opens up. He starts to spill his emotions, and by the time his session is over, it's taken the edge off, he is much more calm, and his want for committing arson has been extinguished.

    Which should you fear? Properly medicated and supervised individuals, or individuals left untreated because there is nowhere to go?

    We fear what we think we cannot protect ourselves from. If you are afraid of your house burning down, you keep fire extinguishers handy, check the batteries on your smoke detectors, check your oven to make sure you turned it off, and you know to dial 911.

    Now, do you want the perception of safety, or do you want actual safety?

    The *perception* of safety is congratulating yourselves for preventing the opening of this Christian facility for helping those in need, and then going back home and sleeping a sound sleep and believing that you are now safe, because if you don't know about and can't see the neighbor's kid stalking across your lawn with the can of gasoline, he's really not there.

    *Actual* safety is making sure that those who are in dire need get the help they need, because if we can prevent a fire, is it not our moral duty to do so? *Actual* safety is education on the dangers we face, and the means and the ability to handle those dangers. I prefer actual safety, so if one of those dangers came creeping through my window with a knife to harm me and mine, I know exactly what means and abilities I have to stop him.

    I believe that we should be prepared to not only fight fires, but prevent them. Prevention is key, and we are all responsible. We should care for our family, we should care for our neighbors, and we should care for our community. WE create community. No one should be left on the outside looking in.

    My friend's worst fear was being forgotten. He had been kicked aside and shunned by the community for no more than serving his country. He was washed away, and we are all the less for it.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  9. #8
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    I don't know if I agree with the content, but if that's what you believe, say it. I'll bet you would regret it if you passed up the opportunity.
    I do have really mixed feelings, because if a house like that were to open up next door, I'd have serious concerns as well. I've got two little ones to think about. But that's where actual and perceived safety come in. I believe in being prepared in handling as many things as I can, and helping others and preventing bad things from happening. My husband and this man have helped a lot of people over the years, but you'll never hear about it because it doesn't make the news. How many incidents have they prevented just by providing the services they do? We will never know.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  10. #9
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    Betty the only problem with this whole thing is when your husbands friend sells out and moves away the people that take over the license may not be good people who care about mental illnes but profiteers who run the business to suck every dollar there is. Leaving your community with no recourse once the permit has been issued. After losing several hundred thousand on their property values since 2008 I can understand their concern. I am not saying they are right I am just saying I understand their feelings. When a person buys in a residential community they are buying because of the community its churches stores schools etc. When changing this with section eight housing or residential care housing you are changinf the community they bought into.

    Not all patients take their meds and when they don't they can become very violent people.

    Good luck on your speech and I hope the outcome is good for all concerned.

  11. #10
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    You are about to do the right thing . That is speaking up for the people that have no voice . We all have to stand a fight for the right thing . Bless you on your speech.
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    Betty, I think you second speech is better but I agree with Matthew03, you have to be careful about instilling more fear into people who are already fearful of the mentally ill.

    I like your lead off with the Viet Nam Vet and lack of help for him. I also like your quote "Philippians 2:4
    Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

    I don't know how the example of the Pyromaniac will go over and I definitely think you should leave Adam Lanza's name out of the speech because that will be all some remember..."OMG, they're going to have people like Adam Lanza over there".

    If you can give more examples of something like the PTSD therapy and maybe be more general about getting people the help they need. Remind them that they wouldn't deny medical care to someone suffering from diabetes or a stroke, so why deny help to people suffering with mental illness. Maybe you could point out that people with mental illness are no more violent as a group than any other group.

    It's a tough line to walk and maybe I'm being too conservative and tiptoeing around people but it sounds as if they are running on pure emotion and those are difficult people to deal with.

    Good luck! I admire that you're out there trying to help.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betty View Post
    I do have really mixed feelings, because if a house like that were to open up next door, I'd have serious concerns as well. I've got two little ones to think about. But that's where actual and perceived safety come in. I believe in being prepared in handling as many things as I can, and helping others and preventing bad things from happening. My husband and this man have helped a lot of people over the years, but you'll never hear about it because it doesn't make the news. How many incidents have they prevented just by providing the services they do? We will never know.
    How close will the actual building be to the nearest house? Is it IN a residental neighborhood or is it seperated? Will it be a live-in situation or a day facility?
    It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

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  14. #13
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    Well done. good luck
    Don't let the facts cloud your judgement.
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  15. #14
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    The building is an existing house, and will be a live-in home. It would be staffed 24/7 and the tenants are supervised with their medications, and their rooms are regularly checked. Tenants have a choice to either go to day programs or have a part time job. I believe the tenants are all willing occupants but wanted the help to manage their medication. I won't sugar coat it; many of them have schizophrenia, the kind that need to stay on their meds religiously. It's a common downfall where they believe they are ok and then decide to stop taking their meds. This facility would provide the supervision to ensure they stay properly medicated.

    --

    I've edited the speech some more and removed the Lanza reference. From what I understand, it was actually the citizens at the meeting who brought that up because they were afraid of one of these guys shooting up a school. I removed "pyromaniac" and brought in more sympathy for that character. I also reworded some of the questions so they were statements; removing questions might result in less outburst answers.
    Jeanlouise likes this.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    Betty, arguing before city councils, zoning boards, BZAs, public hearings, etc. is a big part of my profession, and I've done it more than 200 times.

    I have withdrawn quite a few petitions, but I have never, in more than 15 years, lost a single one.

    Unlike a court room there is no such thing as jury tampering, evidentiary procedures, disclosure rules, etc. I don't walk in to give a presentation without knowing what each of those people are thinking. I know who is on my side, who I have to turn, and who is going to oppose me no matter what I say. I know the likely outcome before I've said a word, and if I don't I ask for a continuance until I do. I am very good at what I do, but I don't believe in Perry Masons. There are no Jedis, and mind tricks don't work. Dancing around questions doesn't work either IMO. The lay people on those boards appreciate straight shooters, because its the exception and not the rule.

    I would make the appeals to their hearts that are in your speech, but I would leave out any case studies or references to the illnesses that the residents may have. It WILL scare some people, and scared people tend to be the loudest and most adamant. You get more bees with honey than vinegar, as my grandmother used to say. It's true.
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

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