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Halting the barbarians

Re: 'An eye for an eye' (May 23). Years ago, perhaps when I first went over to Afghanistan in 2006, I recall talking with my brother about terror and the barbarians at the gates.

Rome had been in decline for some time, but the empire was always able to keep the barbarian hordes and the legions far away from the heart of the empire. Even when a legion was defeated in battle, the conflicts were far removed from the people of Rome and no one really acted to change the system.

WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  Joe Cantor in the fruits and produce section, Cantor Quality Meats and Groceries. Nov 23 99

WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Joe Cantor in the fruits and produce section, Cantor Quality Meats and Groceries. Nov 23 99

This is one of the reasons the barbarians crept closer to the gates. Then something broke. The legions could not stem the tide, the warriors were bled white and the people did not support them. The barbarians got in, and Rome burned.

This was why I think I went over in those heady days of youth, to fight on the fringe of the empire and to keep the hordes away from the things I hold dear.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, they are in the gates, and unless we act to stop them this time it will not be Rome that burns.

What happened on May 22 in London is not the first example of terrorism on the streets of our capitals. But it is one of many in a long line of atrocities that will be written off by the media after the hype dies down, and we cannot wait to see what Kim Kardashian is wearing on the red carpet.

But here is what we saw: People milled about while these lunatics paraded about and a soldier of the Queen bled out on the street. No one tried to stop him!

It was Edmund Burke who said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."




Arctic sovereignty undisputed

Robert Murray's May 21 article, Harper embraces multilateralism on Arctic issues, claims "the necessary actions that would be required to actually protect Canada's Arctic claims" have not been taken by the Conservative government. But there is no need for such protection.

The government's own major 2009 paper on the North, in the section headed Exercising Our Arctic Sovereignty", states clearly: "Canada's sovereignty over its Arctic lands and islands is undisputed, with the exception of [tiny] Hans Island, which is claimed by Denmark."

There is as much need to assert our land sovereignty by increasing Canada's military presence in the North as there is in, say, very sparsely populated and resource-rich Labrador. Yet no one is suggesting the government take action to ensure that Labrador stays safely within Canada.

Canada and the U.S. actually do have a dispute over our claim that the Northwest Passage is an internal waterway. But it's not just the Americans. Ours is a claim that almost no one accepts, including the European Union and Japan. (There is also a bilateral dispute with the U.S. over the Beaufort Sea boundary.)

And in fact our claim to the passage is quite shaky in terms of international law. This is a major reason no Canadian government has sought to have that claim adjudicated by, say, the International Court of Justice -- no legal action to "protect" is really feasible.

The passage aside, the great mass of our Arctic waters are as undisputed as our land. We have not "lagged behind" concerning our sovereignty, as Murray as asserts.


Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute



Li will be checked

Brian Russell is, in fact, the one who has missed the point, with his uninformed sound-bite of an opinion (Missing the point, Letters, May 21) and Vince Li.

Yes, Li could kill again, if he stopped taking his medication. However (and this is the non-sound bite portion of our lesson), Li will have to report to a mental health worker on a regular basis for at least the first year.

Regular means every couple of days. He will have his blood tested every week, to ensure that he's maintaining his medication. After a period of time (one, two years?), if the regimen is being followed, it will be checked less frequently.

For the rest of his life, Li will undergo more blood tests than did Lance Armstrong when he was stealing the Tour de France.

The other important point is that the results of going off medication aren't immediate. Don't forget that Li was suffering from undiagnosed and unmedicated schizophrenia for years, before he killed someone.

He's not (and I repeat not) going to stop taking his meds on Tuesday and kill someone on Wednesday. Maybe a year from Wednesday, but that's if he manages to make it past the regular checks with his mental health worker and if his blood tests showing no medication, are ignored, for that year.

Even if both of those events occur, there is no more certainty that Li will kill again, any more than there is any certainty that any of us could kill someone.




Dr. Wray Pascoe (Letters, May 17) is wrong to say that MP James Bezan should become board certified in psychiatry before he comments on the issue of mental illness.

In fact, Bezan is commenting on the law, and everybody is entitled to an opinion on what we do with the law.

So far as mental illness and treatment goes, board-certified psychiatrists are no more entitled than any other voter on what we do with the law, up to and including abolishing the insanity defence, because that is a legal matter, not a medical matter.




By all means speed up the reintegration of Vince Li into mainstream life. As long as his doctor and lawyer sign papers agreeing that they are responsible for his behaviour and that in the event he reoffends, both of them are to go to prison for aiding and abetting a criminal deed.

Of course they won't sign. They don't care about us or society. The day the legal system and the head-shrinkers assume their role as protectors of society is the day hell freezes over.


Cooks Creek


Monkeying with the Biebs

Your May 22 story Germany now owns Bieber's pet monkey reports that Justin Bieber's monkey will be staying in Munich.

This is good news. It would be even better if Bieber himself would stay with his monkey for as long as it takes.

An alternative is the moon walk the late Michael Jackson took or Bieber be handed a senatorship like Mike Duffy.


New Bothwell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2013 A12

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