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Mental-illness stigma remains

Re: Freedom for Li urged (May 15). The stigma surrounding mental illness has never been more clear than in the case of Vince Li and his murder of Timothy McLean.

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The issue clearly is when does a person with mental illness become healed sufficiently to be permitted to engage in society the same as other Canadian citizens?

Obviously the mental-health workers and psychiatrists who have been working with Li believe that time is now, or very soon.

Unfortunately, there are some, including McLean's mother, who understandably have a difficult time accepting this fact.

But like many others in society, there is a fear and stigma associated with mental illness that refuse to acknowledge the many years of expertise and training of psychiatrists and mental-health workers in such cases. Instead, totally unfounded fears, stories and lies are created and taken for fact.

Such blindness and stigma hinder rather than help persons recovering from mental illness. They also drive the persons who believe and spread such hate and stigma closer to mental illness themselves.




To those who think Vince Li should be allowed any freedom, would your opinion be different if it was your family member who was attacked, dismembered and consumed while sleeping on a bus trip?

My heart goes out to Tim McLean's family for the ongoing battle they are forced to go through every time this man's name is mentioned.

What guarantee is there that Li will take his medication, unless he is forced to?

Would his sympathizers sit beside him on a Greyhound bus, 100 per cent sure they are safe?

Call me closed-minded, but I prefer my safety and the safety of my loved ones, and I have no problem paying for men like this to be locked up forever.



Missing the fish point

Re: Fisher could have been paid $16,000 for his 'wasted fish' (May 11). David Tomasson, the chairman of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp., states he is "dismayed" by the recent stories in the Free Press about the fish board, and he should be.

He conveniently misses the point that fishermen leave almost 50 per cent of the fish on the ice after they cut off the head and remove the guts. So the reality of this situation is fishermen are only receiving half of what the fish board pays for that particular fish.

Couple that with the high transportation costs associated with getting the fish from the lake to Winnipeg, and there is little money left for the fishermen. The fact of the matter is that Frank Kenyon, like hundreds of other fishermen, can't make a decent living selling pickerel, let alone sucker fish, to the fish board.

For Tomasson to suggest that these fishermen are throwing away millions of pounds of fish on which they could make money is totally asinine.



Another Ugandan connection

Thank you for running the most interesting and heartfelt photo essay by Ruth Bonneville (Blessed are the children, May 11).

Here is another Uganda-Manitoba connection. About 100 kilometres east of Gulu, Uganda, in the Kaabong District lives a marginalized Karamojong tribe known as the Ik.

These peaceful mountain people are in constant danger, because nearby stronger, more belligerent tribes run raids on Ik villages, stealing cattle, chickens and garden produce. The Ik people try to survive by hunting and gathering. Life for them is often dangerous and most insecure.

Schools in their villages teach primary level only, so students who want to take middle and high school classes need to go to a boarding school 40 to 50 kilometres from home.

Mennonite Central Committee, through its Global Family program, has taken on the support of upwards of 80 students so they can get their full high school standing.

On May 25, a walkathon will be held to raise funds to assist these students.



Swan River or chopped liver?

Re: Bombers handing off opening-day ball to fans (May 15). I have been a Bomber fan for well over 50 years, as are so many others here in Swan River. It is frustrating to note that once again a PR tour is planned and Swan River is once more not included.

Being close to the Saskatchewan border, we are constantly fighting against Rider Pride and trying to convert others to become Bomber fans. I ask Bomber management: Is there any thought of possibly adding some towns that lie beyond the day's travel and making us truly part of the Bomber family?


Swan River

Dedicate pail to poop

My first reaction to Carol Kaus's May 13 letter, Take the poop home, regarding dog owners who use her garbage can for their dog's poop, was laughter. I imagined the lady sticking her head inside her garbage can to not only clean it but smell it, too!

It's a garbage can! Close the lid and forget about it.

Look at it this way. We dog owners keep an eye out on our neighbourhoods. We are those extra sets of eyes and ears that help keep our neighbourhoods safe, especially in back lanes.

My suggestion is that Kaus put a small pail beside her garbage can and clearly mark it "dog poop." Or better yet, she should get herself a four-legged friend and enjoy the love, companionship and, most important, the entertainment these animals provide.



Reaching for a star

Nice front-page photo of Angelina Jolie on May 15. Did it help to sell more papers?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 16, 2013 A12

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