Praises for the hospital and staff

Dear Editor

Dear Editor

In the middle of December I had a very bad fall and was in the hospital for a day and a half. Then two days later I fell again, and I was back in the hospital.

During these days I was so thankful that the Emergency was open in our hospital. Dr. Killpatrick, Dr. O’Conner and Dr. Kahn, the Lab and X-ray staff were just wonderful. As well as the nursing staff. What a shame if we didn’t have our hospital.

Thank you so much for your phone calls, cards and help. Most of all, I must thank my friend Jim for his helping hand and his support. What would we do without friends?

Flo Berry

Ashcroft

Dear Editor

Guns don’t kill people – people kill people! Am I right? Can I get a hallelujah here?

No? Nothing? Maybe it was my timing – a little too soon after that weekend’s horrific massacre in Tucson, in which alleged gunman Jared Loughner opened fire on a crowd of helpless civilians with a semiautomatic pistol, which he had purchased legally. Or perhaps I touched a sore spot.

Anyway, it isn’t my line: I’m just passing on the word from the gun industry, which wants you to know – when you’re ready, of course – that guns don’t kill people, people do. And though there might seem to be some relationship between the ease of obtaining semiautomatic assault weapons and our high levels of gun violence in Canada (not just America), well … people kill people. So don’t blame the guns.

It’s brilliant logic, and where would the titans of the gun industry and Conservative MPs be without it?

Guns don’t kill people – people kill people! It’s like a magic key that frees the great from the shackles responsibility. Its powers are limitless! Cigarettes can’t smoke themselves! Got diabetes? Don’t blame sugar! Slot machines emptying out a few old ladies? Well shame on the old ladies for playing them!

This month, we’ve seen the formula rear its head once again, as we began to question whether the incendiary politics of the right might have contributed to the apparent anger that drove Loughner to shoot at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The right has responded predictably: Right-wing politics doesn’t kill anyone, they say defiantly – people kill people!

To be fair, Loughner appears so far to be thoroughly mentally ill, and what details the press and authorities have gleaned about his own ideas are confusing and contradictory – the ideas of a madman, not an ideologue.

Still, where there’s smoke, there’s often fire. Shortly after the shooting, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told CNN, straightforwardly and without apparent political motive, that he thought “Tucson and Arizona and the rest of the country have become very divided by a lot of the rhetoric … which is designed, in my opinion, to inflame the public against public officials,” and that “that kind of atmosphere, in my opinion, influences people who are not stable.”

Go ahead and disagree, but I think a lot of us feel a gut instinct that he’s on to something, that a dangerous undercurrent runs beneath the rancorous, hateful brand of politics that’s been emerging over the past few years, in various manifestations: the crosshairs Sarah Palin put on a map of political enemies; the bizarre, neo-nativist “Birthers” who challenge American President Barack Obama’s citizenship; the rise of Canadian anti-immigrant hysteria – those Queue-jumping refugees! – even as legal immigrants go down in the West. These are different (though often related) currents, but put together they become a big, flowing river of gravy for another industry, less tangible than guns but lucrative nonetheless: the hate industry.

Those whose politics are hateful benefit from perpetuating hate. And when hate goes too far – when it takes the shape of a racist depiction of Obama, or death threats against politicians, or the killings of Somali immigrants in Alberta, or, if it is indeed the case this time, a murderous rampage?

The hate jockeys, like other smart industrialists, blame the very customers they feed on. Is there a fine line between espousing hate and the exercise of our precious free speech? You betcha – but there’s still a line. And it sure feels right now like too many people with authority are crossing it. At some point, hate – like sugar, fat, smoking and, yes, guns – does kill.

William Perry

Victoria