Let me get this straight. A person whose thoughts and feelings are somehow faulty has a right to refuse corrective medication — even a murder suspect (article, “Should criminal suspects be drugged?” Sept. 20). Wouldn’t it be kinder and even ethical to do our best to alleviate this person’s problem and then discuss it with them when they might be able to make a more reasoned choice?

Even more important: There are no rights without first being responsible. Not responsible? Then no rights. It is that simple. Rights are granted by our society and we are expected to participate in a responsible manner. If not, then they can be taken away just as easily.

Inalienable rights may be a great idea, but they are not magically ours and certainly not if we are unwilling to accept our responsibility. Once again, it seems that “common” sense is becoming quite rare.

Peter Swartz


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