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Li, liberties and language

Dan Lett provides a thoughtful assessment of the controversy surrounding Vince Li and the broader issues about not criminally responsible cases (Li improving, maybe society can do the same, Feb. 25)

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Tim McLean's friends and family will understandably have difficulty accepting Lett's position. If my child had been killed in this unspeakable way, I, too, would have difficulty accepting his views.

That's why Lett's premise -- that the decisions about Li's future need to be carried out by mental health experts without an emotional attachment to the victim -- is so crucial.

Vince Li is a victim of a mental illness and deserves empathy and humane treatment.






When I read the article Li in line for more liberties (Feb. 25), I once again groaned when I saw "Greyhound killer" and "schizophrenic slayer."

It's time your headline writers had some training on how to sensitively describe those with a mental illness.

The lurid nature of these headlines only serves to make people afraid, and does nothing to erase the stigma.

Dan Lett's thoughtful column, on the other hand, urges us to become more enlightened about mental illness. Let's try that instead of fear-mongering.






A pull-quote containing the words of prosecutor Susan Helenchilde provocatively fans the fears of the ignorant in describing the Greyhound bus tragedy as "the most ghoulish in Canadian history."

Helenchilde's language more befits the Salem witch trials. Science concerning brain disease has come a long way in the past 300 years, and Helenchilde, in her provocation, should leave the ignorant alone.





Gang blame misdirected

Re: Getting a read on library gangsters, Feb. 26.

Mike Davidson, president of CUPE Local 500, sure has been getting his justified grievances against how city administration has been running operations over the past couple of years: problems with brown water, leaks, frozen services and snow clearing.

While I give him credit for getting all the mileage he can from all of the above, blaming the latest problems associated with drug dealing and gang recruiting at the Millennium Library on "arenas that aren't open during the day or recreational centres that may be not affordable or accessible" is a stretch.

There are more then enough recreational facilities and neighbourhood drop-in centres to keep kids busy. But in an age where kids want expensive gadgets, recreation doesn't help you obtain them -- but gang life might.





Mailboxes a hot topic

I have the same concern as our city councillors regarding Canada Post's plan to force us to have community mailboxes (Councillors concerned about community mailboxes, Feb. 27).

Councillors, however, could simply draw a line in the sand and say to Canada Post: "No building permits will be issued for structures on what is city property."

I wouldn't think Canada Post could build on property they don't own. After all, it's not as if they're a fire department.





Gold-medal 'gaffe'

Re: Will gaffes start to hurt Trudeau?, Feb. 26.

Why do some federal MPs pretend to be outraged by little snippets of discussions their targeted opponents have with members of the public?

In this case, the out-of-context phrase from Justin Trudeau suddenly morphs into a "gaffe" and takes on a different purpose.

Seeing the fresh faces of Olympic athletes on television for two glorious weeks was such a joy compared with seeing the House of Commons theatrics.

Skating over reality, weaving around questions, and leaping beyond credibility -- the Cabinet Ministerial Games come complete with snarky cheerleaders nodding gleefully whenever one of their own shoots a rehearsed partisan quip.





Crown's decision disappointing

Re: Crown won't pursue officer for 'reckless' affidavit, Feb. 27.

While I expected the Crown and the cops would do nothing to Det. Richard Arndt for his disdain of laws, evidence and facts, I'm still disappointed. You'd think I'd learn.





Winter cycling safest

In his letter Limit winter cycling (Feb. 26) Jim Todd argues for banning bicycles from streets all winter. The letter states "if a cyclist slips and falls under my vehicle... I am the one who has to live with the end result."

Let's not forget the others who have to live with the end result: the cyclist (if they survive) and their family and friends.

I commute by bicycle year-round and find winter to be the safest season for riding. Why? Because in winter most drivers understand they don't always control what their vehicle does, and that the safety of cyclists is, to an extent, in their hands.

In the other three seasons, on the other hand, there are plenty of drivers who tailgate, pass cyclists too closely, ignore bicycle lanes, and generally seem to think nothing unexpected could ever happen.





Piling on plow job

On Tuesday, the city decided my residential back lane needed to be cleaned to make blue-box and refuse collection easier.

The people at city hall must be a whole lot smarter than I am, because I don't understand how piling four feet of snow across the entire back of my property and encasing both containers in frozen chunks of snow is going to make my life, or the pickup crews' work, any easier.

I'm sure they'll also want to reimburse me for the $90 I paid to have myself dug out. This is no city for old women.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 28, 2014 A9

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