Gun ban cash better spent
Just a few comments on your article regarding the Liberals' proposed ban on handguns (NOW, December 15-21). Overall, I thought it was a well-balanced piece, but I'd like to raise a few additional points. In the Aussie program that this is based on, the average amount given to buy back guns is about $700. Gun owners there are also compensated for accessories and reloading equipment.
Assuming that the Liberals copied the Australian model, it would end up costing well in excess of $500 million to buy back the 500,000 registered handguns in Canada and that's not counting the cost of lawsuits that may ensue from some gun owners. All this is money that could better be spent on community social and education programs, youth centres and additional border security to stem the flow of illegal weapons from the U.S.
Respect for gun owners
I'm glad Andrew Cash stuck around to listen to representatives from the National Rifle Association (NOW, December 15-21). Canada's recreational firearms owners are not and have never been responsible for the firearms violence that plagues our larger urban centres. Most of us take great offence at being targeted in the latest anti-firearms witch hunt by Paul Martin.
One cannot take part in the shooting sports and be irresponsible, since the consequence of irresponsible gun handling is death or serious injury, and nobody taking part wants to be a statistic.
The NRA has been a popular target of gun-hating politicians, but I recently came across an interesting letter in a 1961 copy of the NRA's American Rifleman from president John F. Kennedy, praising the NRA for its work teaching ordinary citizens "the art of shooting." Best regards,
Take the slaughterhouse job
Gary Morton's article may seem like an interesting glimpse into the harrowing life of the courier de ville (NOW, December 15-21), but to an avid cyclist and "accidental courier" like myself, he comes off as a fool.
First of all, it is bloody-hell fun. Picture it: I'm flying southbound on Bay Street, straddling the broken line between traffic lanes. On my right, a Canada Post milk truck. On my left, a soccer mom in Gucci sunglasses, cellphone in right hand, Starbucks in left. Up ahead, a yellow light at King, but I need to get to Front. Drop into the wee ring in the back and it's maximum overdrive, baby. Mommy dearest and soon-to-be-disgruntled postal worker in my dust.
The riding techniques Morton describes sound like those of someone who takes a TTC bus to a bike courier job. Sidewalks? Crosswalks? Alleyways? No wonder he couldn't make any money. It's all about the asphalt!
Morton should take that job at the slaughterhouse.
Brokeback Mountain pass
I've not been alone in my anticipation of Brokeback Mountain's release (NOW, December 15-21) following its distinguished reception at Venice and the TIFF. How puzzling, then, that there is but one venue in which the film is currently being screened in all of the GTA.
This lack of distribution is a telling, contradictory aspect of the film industry. It also reflects badly on NOW, which flaunted Jake Gyllenhaal on the cover but failed to even delve into this issue.
Christ's sake, lay off Charlie
Is nothing sacred from your poison pens? I was happy to see A Charlie Brown Christmas in your TV listings (NOW, December 15-21) because it always gets me in the spirit. But Steven Davey's write-up left me bemused: "a decidedly heavy-handed Christian subtext"?
Please! Is it really so offensive to NOW's hipster sensibility that you must include a religious disclaimer about a harmless animated show? In the midst of crass commercialism, it's a gentle and sweet reminder of what it really is about, for Christ's sake.
Jesus no sexual liberator
Robert Priest's use of Jesus as an authority for his piece on capital punishment (NOW, December 15-21) would be far more compelling if he didn't misrepresent him so badly.
There is no record of anything Jesus ever wrote. When Jesus was confronted with the adulterous woman, the passage Priest quotes was spoken after Jesus finished writing on the ground. The account does not indicate what it was he wrote.
And as for Christ's "defence of sexual freedom," what has Priest been smoking? Jesus' last words to the woman were, "Go, and sin no more." Compassion, yes. But condoning adultery? Sorry.
Pluck your poison
Wayne Roberts deserves applause for highlighting a more enviro-friendly way to raise turkey (NOW, December 15-21). While there's much to commend in the grass-fed approach, it's important we not dismiss organics. The current mainstreaming of pesticide-free vegetables, meat and other grocery items is a major achievement that promises to reduce society's toxic output significantly.
The pasture model might be best, but we could still accomplish a lot if we just stopped using poisons in our farming.
Executive Director Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Toronto
Grits' phony nationalism
I was glad to see NOW's coverage of the U.S. ambassador's criticism of Prime Minister Paul Martin (NOW, December 15-21). Neither NOW nor the ambassador realizes that free publicity for the Liberals' phony nationalism will drive up the Liberal vote. Right-thinking Canadians can take comfort that most nationalists moving to the Liberals will be leaving the NDP.
Abu Ghraib Stripmas
How could NOW publish a photo depicting bondage Abu Ghraib-style (NOW, December 15-21)? Give us a fucking break and an apology or be exposed for identifying with sophomoric morons doing their Christmas thing.
Free cannabis for kids' sake
Re Pharma's Frankenweed (NOW, December 15-21). Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Murs jerk off
It's quite apparent that your writer Jason Richards's knowledge of hiphop falls short. He mentions that Murs (NOW, December 8-14) is part of the Freestyle Fellowship. This is wrong. Murs is part of the Living Legends. Not a Dan Rather-sized error, but what bothers me even more is how Richards uses the same old recycled shit about Murs, like the whole N-word angle. Please bring some originality. Possibly he wrote it while masturbating. Please have some integrity. Concerned,
I understand there has been some controversy about the article Greens Divided Over Dissing The Feds, by Andrew Athanasiu (NOW, December 1-7). I cannot speak for other environmentalists quoted in the story and am not in a position to explain their subsequent responses in letters to the editor, but I will say that there are not many publications that would bring added nuance to the issues, so I applaud NOW for doing so.
The other Buy Nothing
Yee-Guan Wong's article on Toronto's Buy Nothing Day (NOW December 1-7) worst omission was not reporting on other events that were better attended than the Zombie Walk and drew a boisterous crowd of laughing and dancing activists.
In addition to the satirical Happy Kristmas Shoppingâ there was a massive dance party in Dundas Square with ReEvolution Day Arkestra and vats of free food provided by Food Not Bombs. By focusing on one event, Wong gave the impression that no one out there was adept at culture jamming. It's a shame he was more interested in eating.
Fred Victor's good works
In your article Messiah Rises In The Square (NOW, November 24-30), you incorrectly refer to Fred Victor Centre as a "shelter," "burned out" and a "hell-hole." In actuality, Fred Victor Centre is a private charitable organization that provides permanent affordable housing to 194 adults at our Queen and Jarvis location. And, like many other permanent housing providers, it strives to improve the quality of people's lives. Unfortunately, one month ago we had a fire that destroyed one of our units. This unit is currently being reconstructed and will be available to tenants again within the next few months.
Executive Director, Fred Victor Centre