How to make Fresh Market better

It is heartwarming to know that the staff at Fresh Market sees to the distribution of excess food to the folks at Whosoever Gospel Mission each week! I love that. [Letters, Nov. 8]

But whatever happened to the classical music that was such a respite for the regular customers during the first year or two that Fresh Market was in our neighborhood? It was a welcome breather to walk into this colorful space to the sounds of Vivaldi or Mozart wrapping around you. Food shopping seemed like fun, not a weekly chore. Then the music started getting a little less classical. That was ominous.

I was right to be alarmed. Now Fresh Market music has descended into the depths of ambient junk – right up there with CVS and the supermarket chains who blast “Lemme Outa’ Here” trash sounds from the minute they turn on the lights. What happened?

The manager told me that they took a poll of customers to determine their choice of music. Not true – at least in the case of this customer. No one asked me. Who knows…maybe the manager or staff don’t like good music. But for many shoppers it was part of the Fresh Market “experience.” Different. And worth paying just a little more for. Fresh Market runs over 170 stores nationwide. Major management should know that in this one, the sounds have slipped below the level of the prices.

Joan Forde
Chestnut Hill

 

When will gun control become a priority?

We have just witnessed the second mass shooting in less than two weeks with the killings in Thousand Oaks, California. This joins the list of seemingly countless such deadly episodes in our country over the past 19 years. Each one of these killings is followed by the same comments in the news, comments which by now leave me puzzled, as if those making the comments are not paying attention at all to the details of said events.

So, someone in the geographic area of the shooting is always quoted as saying “I never thought this would/could happen here.” By now, given the variety of settings and the variety of geographic locations I would think that everyone would realize that of course these tragic events can take place anywhere. Unless something is done to greatly reduce the number of guns available in the United State, a development which seems highly unlikely, the most I believe we can do is hope that neither we nor any loved ones will be in the vicinity when the next such mass killing happen, i.e., in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then, news articles invariably report that officials are looking into a motive for the shootings. I am a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst. Whether or not these killers have a history of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, at the moment when they carry out their deadly actions, they are functionally psychotic. By this I mean that they are no longer living in the reality that most of us inhabit. Think about it; these killers are shooting people who they do not know and with whom they have no relationship. I understand that the killer in the Tree of Life Synagogue was anti-Semitic, and the killer in the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston in 2015 was racist, but even 99% of those who share the hateful, bigoted beliefs of these men do not kill.

The only time it is sanctioned to kill total strangers is on the battlefield in war. So these mass shooters are operating on the basis of a reality which exists almost entirely in their own minds, not in the world in which the rest of live. Thus to search for a “motive” seems to me to be absurd and to completely overlook the point I just made. Finally, there are the predictable responses from people like Trump to have armed personnel at these locations.

Not only does this beg the question of how many types of locations would need to be covered (places of worship, schools, colleges, movie theaters, supermarkets, nightclubs, open-air music concerts, office buildings, warehouses; need I go on?), it completely misses the following key point. The people who carry out these actions are not thinking about getting away after they kill. These are not typical criminals who hope to commit their crime and then escape. The mass killers most frequently end up dead, and not infrequently end up dead by their own hand. So having armed personal on the premises of their target is not likely to deter them. For many of these killers, suicide may even be part of their goal. We cannot know this with certainty but it does seem likely.

Given all of the above, it is hard not to be terribly pessimistic and hope that neither we nor loved ones will be on the receiving end of a gun in the next massacre. And we must let those in office know how important it is to make tighter gun-control a priority if we are to limit these horrific events.

Marc R. Inver, MD
Lafayette Hill

...