Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/8/2011 (3767 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I am appalled by the disrespect and ignorance shown by Tom Oleson in his Aug. 6 article Kill yourself if you must, but don't make me help. In it, he discussed the situation of Gloria Taylor, a woman suffering from ALS who has a case before the courts to permit physician-assisted suicide.
Oleson describes Taylor's request for a speedy trial as a matter of "convenience." By doing so he greatly misrepresents the medical situation facing this woman. ALS is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that, over the period of, on average, two to five years, destroys a person's ability to move, swallow, communicate and eventually breathe.
Without this accommodation by the courts, it is quite possible that Taylor's condition will progress to the point where she will no longer be able to undertake her current legal action. Under these conditions, convenience does not seem to be the motivation.
Further, Oleson suggests that Taylor can simply choose to commit suicide independently. While this may be true for her currently, it is unlikely to be the case when her disease progresses to its end stage. This is the point where most individuals in a similar situation would realistically consider suicide, not while they continue to have a reasonable quality of life.
How can one state that individuals are free to take their own lives when the physical impairments of their illness prevent them from committing suicide independently? To do so, they must enlist the help of others.
The tragedy of suicide touches many readers, and the Free Press does not make it easier by publishing articles that ignore the gravity of their grief.
Those who have lost loved ones to suicide have already suffered a wound that will never heal. Why rub salt in their wounds by vilifying their loved ones?
The topics of suicide and euthanasia are painful and explosive enough without adding fuel to the fire.
In Courageous voice paints grim picture from inside Havana (Aug. 6), Lesley Hughes spins a book review about the horrors of living in Communist-controlled Cuba into an anthem heralding the "immense and undisputed gains of (Castro's) revolution."
Though Hughes does not explain what these gains might be, she does laud Havana Real author Yoani Sanchez for revealing the dark side of Cuba, including young people who vent their frustration in overly sexualized dance; thieves, rogues, rafters (malcontents trying to escape or does Hughes mean grafters?) and hypocrites.
But then Hughes discredits Sanchez's book as "politically narrow and more than a little naïve." Excuse me for being confused. Is it Hughes or Sanchez who is living in Cuba?
Hughes ends her curious review by blaming the American embargo of Cuba for all the hardships, deprivations and "bitter poverty" suffered by Sanchez and her people since Castro's forceful takeover 50 years ago; communism is never mentioned in the review! Now that's what I call inimitable writing.
Failure of justice
When are we going to learn that giving light sentences to hardened criminals, regardless of age, and mentally disturbed people is not in the public interest?
Two stories in Aug. 4 illustrate my point, Protesters decry youth sentencing and Judge gave city firebug a second chance.
While most would agree that throwing the mentally handicapped into prisons with the regular scum bags is a bad idea, I think most of us also expect society to be protected from these individuals. If that means setting up special incarceration units for the criminally insane, then so be it.
I believe one main reason the Conservatives were given a majority in the last federal election was because people were getting sick and tired of Liberal justice. As such, let's hope we'll start seeing some tough on crime legislation soon coming down the pike from the feds as we can be assured we won't see it from our provincial politicians.
Reena Nerbas drops the ball in her Aug. 6 column, Easy tips to get apartment deposit back. She advises a tenant by the name of Nathalie to hide scratches on the hardwood floors of her rental apartment by covering them up with peanut butter. This way, when Nathalie's landlord assesses the apartment for damages, they will not be able to see the scratches.
The lesson: if you damage something, lie about it so you don't get caught. Is this how Nathalie would like to be treated if someone damaged something that belonged to her?
Better advice would have been for Nathalie to be honest, tell the landlord about the scratches and offer to pay to have them repaired.
Facts still grim
I'm embarrassed but grateful to Kenton G. Penner (Exaggerated count, Letters, Aug. 4) for correcting my sloppy mental math in my July 30 letter, Inhumane treatment. It's vital that we base our moral decisions on truthful information.
I must also admit to another error: a poorly constructed paragraph in a source document led me to infer that the two million dead-on-arrival birds every year in Canada were turkeys. It's actually broiler chickens, as confirmed by a piece in the Vancouver Sun.
These facts are still grim. For example, 0.3 per cent (source: the Prairie Swine Centre) of roughly 21 million pigs slaughtered annually (source: the industry) means that every day in Canada about 170 pigs arrive at their destination dead or in a state of collapse. According to the Sun piece, the number of dead on arrival is 17,000. That's nearly 50 a day.
The worst of it is that for most animals raised for food in Canada, it's the months or years that precede their trip to slaughter that are marked by the greatest privation. They are well fed, of course, but extras such as exercise, sunlight, fresh air, nests and straw -- not so much. In their stead, confinement, filth and mutilation. The well-documented facts are disturbing enough to need no exaggeration.
World of difference
I could not disagree more with Maureen Scurfield's take on the Ethiopian Pavilion at Folklorama (See the world, Aug. 3).
We visit as many pavilions as we can fit in each year. and I must say Ethiopia was by far one of our favourites. Even though the food is vegetarian, it was certainly far from "bland," as Scurfield put it, and we left there feeling quite full. There was also cutlery for those wishing to use it, and delicious bread was passed through the crowd for sampling.
However, we were very disappointed in the German Pavilion. We found it to be rather boring and not near as upbeat as we had expected. Also the food was very disappointing.