Vikki Kratz hit the nail on the head in "Chronic Pains" (12/12/08). People who seem to be life's failures are often drug or alcohol addicts with underlying mental problems, lacking decent housing and job prospects. Small wonder they are frequently apprehended by Madison police.
As the economy continues to tumble, growing numbers of the jobless - especially those who lose health insurance - may swell the ranks of the homeless and disabled who need guidance and opportunities.
Kratz's article makes a strong case for society to stop condemning such people and, instead, offer them opportunities and hope. This is not only civilized but also cost effective in the long run. And it's not an impossible task!