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Tragic combination

The reports on the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry have been extremely difficult to read -- and no doubt, they are also difficult to write. The child-welfare system is on trial, and it is clear there were many mistakes made regarding this little girl, and the combination was tragic.

While in hindsight it is obvious Phoenix should have been in care, at the time of her death she wasn't. The people who killed her were her family, not the social services workers.

Some of the reporting and commenting would lead one to believe otherwise. When a reporter or columnist makes a mistake, no one dies. It takes a lot of courage and caring to work in child welfare. Systems can certainly be improved, and it appears that some progress has been made since Phoenix's death. The system will never be perfect, but to vilify these workers is just wrong.




The Phoenix Sinclair inquiry is supposed to be about seeking the truth and about how and why poor little Phoenix died so it may never happen again.

After following this story, I have come to the conclusion that nobody gave a damn about her. Her family tortured and murdered her, while Child and Family Services employees might as well have cheered them on.

Almost everyone involved is totally devoid of empathy, and this speaks of the graceless times we live in. Quite frankly, Phoenix is lucky not to be alive because the system would have only prolonged the nightmare this innocent child was living.




I am appalled at what I'm hearing from all the child-care workers who let poor little Phoenix slip through the cracks. Just once I'd like to see at least one worker get up there and say, "Yes, we dropped the ball and we are so sorry, little Phoenix, for not being there for you."

My heart breaks for what that poor baby went through, and if anything good can come out of this, it's that it stirs me to become a foster parent in the hopes of giving neglected and abused children a place of safety for as long as is needed.




An effective genius

Re: Meet the next great pianist (Jan. 19). Gwenda's Nemerofsky's description of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's Masterworks concert performance goes beyond journalism and into art, especially the part of her review that deals with the young master of the piano, Nobuyuki Tsujii. I saw, through her words, his hands moving at such lightning speed that I was left breathless for a second time.

However, there is a point of clarification that I think needs to be made. Nemerofsky writes: "He was led on to the stage by conductor Alexander Mickelthwate because he has been blind since he was born, but that was the extent that his disability affected his performance and ability to captivate an audience."

I and a number of other of the supporters of the Arts and Disability Network Manitoba believe that artists such as Nobu are not "affected" by their disability but in most cases are "effected" by the limitation they may have. To a large measure Nobu's genius at the keyboard may be because he has to rely on his acute sense of sound rather than be distracted by sight, motion and lighting.



Denying responsibility

Once again, there is whining from a driver who was given a ticket for going through a red light. Once again, there is denial of responsibility for this act. Fortunately, in this case, there was no collision, and nobody was killed or maimed.

I was intrigued by Moses Falco's version of what constitutes "a split-second decision" (Letters, Jan. 22), and why he feels that going through a red light has any relevance to being ambushed in a speed trap. I rather tend to believe it was a case of poor judgment, supplemented by a complete denial of responsibility. It's never your fault. Blame inanimate objects for your shortcomings.

Driving at 80 kilometres per hour translates to 73.3 feet per second. A yellow light has a four-second span. At that rate, the vehicle in question was more than 293 feet from the intersection when the light turned from green to yellow. That is just slightly less than the length of a football field. Even at a reduced speed of 50 km/h (to allow for the snowfall and the slippery conditions of the road), the vehicle would have been more than 183 feet from the intersection when the light turned from green to yellow. His decision to run the light was made at the exact time that the light changed from green to yellow, almost a football field from the intersection. Driving in excess of 80 km/h during a snowstorm could be interpreted as attempted suicide.

I would suggest that if a driver cannot stop his vehicle safely in a distance between 183 feet and 293 feet, he should reconsider his decision to drive in Winnipeg during the winter. Perhaps public transportation would be more suitable. At worst, it would have saved him over $200.




Reading your Jan. 19 story Ambushing drivers in speed traps must stop struck a nerve with me. I drive to work and see people running red lights at speed almost daily.

Red light cameras, in my experience, don't seem to do what they are advertised to do: discourage scofflaws from blowing through reds. When I was learning to drive, my instructor instilled in me a habit that has definitely saved me from injury or death: always check to see if cross traffic is stopping for the red light before proceeding into the intersection.

I also think that roadside speed traps are useless in discouraging speeding, since people soon learn where they are and speed up again after passing them.

On my daily commute to work, I am amazed at the reckless behaviour of some of my fellow motorists, and believe the money invested in roadside speed traps would be better spent in more unmarked patrol cars.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 26, 2013 A14

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