Ex-officer’s view insightful
Re: The view from behind the badge (Opinion, March 27)
I applaud recently retired Winnipeg Police officer Kevin Birkett for having the courage to write his perspective of what it’s like to be a police officer in today’s society.
The situation he referenced in his article has become a common occurrence police are faced with on a daily basis. How many people would be willing and able to be so patient when confronted with someone brandishing a machete and showing no signs of complying to the officer’s calls to drop the weapon?
As Birkett stated: "Had I shot him, however, the purple community and their supporters would undoubtedly have vilified me...".
Being a police officer today is an unenviable job. We need to support our police and we also need to stop the "purple" criticism.
Robert Leperre, Winnipeg
As Winnipeg’s first Anti-Racism Week comes to a close, I was shocked to read an opinion article denying the existence of systemic racism in the Winnipeg Police Service. It is hard to reconcile how a former police officer can assert they should not be expected to focus on a person’s race during a crisis simultaneously as they deny systemic racism. It is even more troubling when the mayor and the police chief have publicly stated that systemic racism is an issue that affects all institutions, including the police.
Systemic racism refers to how racism still operates even when people do not hold racist sentiments in their hearts. Kevin Birkett seems to misunderstand this when he explains racism as a personal behaviour exhibited by a handful of police officers.
Systemic racism is about the way committees, workplaces and entire institutions are silent about ongoing racial discrimination and marginalization, even when they are run by people who do not hold racist sentiments. Indeed, it operates at its highest power when a former member of a police force that is still predominantly populated by white people can claim colour-blindness on the job.
Emily Rose, Winnipeg
Kevin Birkett provides a clear and cogent explanation of why defunding the police would be folly. Separate additional funding of other intervention resources in challenging situations seems reasonable, but a social worker wouldn’t have cut it in Birkett’s situation.
Dave Ennis, Winnipeg
Limit Nygard publicity
Re: Nygard bail appeal rejected (March 26)
I wonder about the need to display a quarter-page photograph of Peter Nygard with this article.
I wasn’t assaulted by him, but feel disgust and discomfort when I see him in the paper, due to the allegations that have been revealed. So for those women who claim to have been raped and confined, your large photo of him must feel like yet another assault.
He has spent his narcissistic life enjoying his notoriety. Perhaps we can stop playing into his need to be famous and limit his exposure.
Carol Frampton, Winnipeg
Dreading vaccine hardships
Re: Seniors forced to wait hours in line for vaccine shots (March 26)
I feel sad for the seniors and those with mobility issues who have to stand and wait in line for hours to get their vaccine.
Booking an appointment can also be a challenge for some. I am surprised that a phone line specific to those with disabilities has not been established. When booking, they do not ask if one requires an accommodation. They could think of setting up a specific area, along with having hosts or ambassadors to ensure social distancing is taking place and to provide chairs to those in need.
I, for one, am dreading my appointment in anticipation of having to stand for a lengthy period of time, which is intolerable. We are pleased to get a vaccination, but not under these circumstances.
Rhonda Svendsen, East St. Paul
It’s common knowledge that people, especially management, in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority are very well paid. People being handsomely remunerated should be competent. So, two questions: who is responsible for the staffing at the Convention Center supersite (name please)? What was their last day of employment?
Chuck Lange, Winnipeg
Competent managers available
Re: Manitoba must administer doses as soon as vaccines arrive (Opinion, March 24)
Columnist Tom Brodbeck refers to the Manitoba government’s "appalling lack of urgency" when it comes to getting vaccines administered. Weekly statements by the province’s vaccination program management give evidence of their lack of experience in handling large projects and getting results.
Winnipeg has a wealth of competent, experienced managers who would gladly participate in the management of the vaccine rollout. It speaks volumes about the Pallister government that it chose not to tap into that resource.
Robert Sproule, Winnipeg
Why was criminal freed?
Re: Man accused of killing retired couple out on bail at time of slaying (March 26)
An older couple was killed in their home, allegedly by an convicted criminal who was released in September by our justice system that warned the world that he may hurt someone if he didn’t abide by the conditions of his bail.
Who was responsible for monitoring these conditions? Why would we release him if he might reoffend? Someone needs to step up and explain how his release made sense.
Brian Brown, Rossburn
Drug addiction a trap
Re: Positive steps in confronting addiction (Opinion, March 27)
I appreciate Carl DeGurse’s stance on drug addiction being a health problem rather than a criminal one. You can’t compare addiction to a strictly physical disease that leads a patient to take any medical steps possible to get well. Nor can you compare it solely to a mental illness, where pills and therapies, while not providing a cure, can keep a patient stable.
No, addiction is that rare phenomenon that traps people, many of whom are inclined to mental-health challenges, into a false sense of security, lulling them into believing the illegitimate substance flowing through their bodies is as important to them as breathing. Chances are, it will probably take more than a few tries before they "get sick and tired of being sick and tired."
If you’re one of the lucky ones, as I was, to witness your loved one pull themselves out of the quicksand — thanks to a decent 12-step program and some kind, compassionate human beings — you finally believe the universe is on your side.
Robbi Goltsman-Ferris, Winnipeg
Noticed in New York
Re: Qaumajuq Inuit art gallery opens to rave reviews (March 27)
On Sunday, I had an opportunity to see the new Inuit art centre Qaumajuq. I was accompanied by my wife and 97-year-old father in law, who toured the centre in his wheelchair. All three of us were excited by the displays and the beauty of the building itself.
I should add that, as a daily digital reader of the New York Times, I was proud to read an article of the exhibit and the art gallery in the Saturday edition of the Times.
Irwin Corobow, Winnipeg