Newtown: what's really needed
The intense emotions felt by the parents of the murdered Newtown children are perfectly clear (NOW, December 17).
What is not is press coverage of such events that has become ossified: the maudlin attention focused on the private grieving; the incessant references to the community pulling together, making it seem as if massacres like these are a kind of tonic we all need from time to time; the rote canonization of heroic teachers and first responders.
What's really needed is pressure: editorials from coast to coast, in all 50 states, demanding that sales of automatic weapons be banned.
We will never be able to identify, let alone socialize, the Adam Lanzas of the world, but we can stop helping them to randomly execute us with ease.
Medical pot smokescreen
Great item on proposed changes to Canada's medical marijuana regulations (NOW, December 13-19).
At a time when 17 U.S. states are legalizing med pot and 75 per cent of Canadians approve of medical cannabis, Stephen Harper seeks to make it more expensive and criminal?
Given that Health Canada has been unable to produce decent medical-grade product, all the cops and government want to do is enrich a few corporate growers. Pot isn't harmful in the least, yet booze and smokes are sold at corner stores across the country. [Legalizing pot would be] harmful to the wealth of lawyers, judges, cops and jailers who seek to keep it illegal.
The business of emergency services
To add a detail to a refreshingly objective article by Adam Giambrone on EMS (NOW, December 13-19), the non-emergency ambulance part of the EMS service transports patients between hospitals, to appointments, etc.
This business has been given up to private transfer companies over the last 10 years, while our transfer cars partially filled the staffing losses on the emergency side of the business.
Certainly, this helped EMS to comply with annual budget cuts mandated by the city, but in my opinion this strategy has dismantled our reserve capacity to deal with a really major incident, which the privates are not equipped, staffed or trained to do.
Historically, the smokies learned the hard way about the cost of inadequate resources, and perhaps we could find a middle ground between the lessons of the past and draconian fiscal restraints.
Toronto EMS paramedic
Patrick Conner personified fearlessness
Thanks to Jon Kaplan for his lovely obituary to Patrick Conner (NOW, December 10). Patrick was such a pleasure to work with. He brought intelligence, joy, patience and fearlessness into the creative process.
Innovation out of the back of a food truck?
Wayne Roberts's Who's Innovating? (NOW, December 13-19) was all snark and no substance.
Roberts bemoans productivity as though it's some kind of neo-liberal conspiracy. Productivity simply means doing more with less. High productivity is a big reason German industrial workers earn $30 an hour and Swedes get six weeks of holiday, yet their factories stay open.
Worst, Roberts's answer: food trucks. What a fucking joke.
I like food entrepreneurs, too, but to suggest it's useless for a government to think about competitiveness because a few dozen people can earn a living in mobile kitchens is absurd. This is not an answer to shuttered auto plants or offshored service jobs.
Know what creates a society where people have time to track food trucks with $600 smartphones and lunch on $8 sandwiches and $3 artisanal sodas? Productivity.
Rob Ford cover notions
I had trouble finding your paper this week because the cover didn't have a picture of Rob Ford with crosshairs on his face. Sorry, I get confused so easily. Were they bull's-eyes? Horns? A big red X? Photoshopped semi-naked images? Don't know where I get these notions. Did you run out of vitriol?
Rush from Scarborough to the big time
In early 74 a new rock band played at our Scarborough high school. My diary entry that night: "I guarantee that these guys will go all the way to be BIG!"
Just over a year later, I chanced across their bassist and told him how our own trio, Zebec, was about to take its baby steps on the gritty B-league bar circuit and was likely the first act anywhere to play covers of his songs as part of the set list.
Congrats on the R+R Hall of Fame, Geddy and the boys from Rush! You guys've earned it.
Ecoholic, thanks for making people happy
Thanks so much to Adria Vasil for all the great gift ideas in this week's Ecoholic (NOW, December 13-19). I would also like to thank her for all the information she shares every week to help make the planet and people happy and healthy and to wish her a peaceful and prosperous 2013!
Please keep up the amazing work you do!
E-bike caption crash
Your caption for the Emmo Mount 7 electric bike (NOW, December 13-19) - "ride in the bike lane without drawing the wrath scooter-style e-bikers usually incur" - displays the kind of ignorance that the city of Toronto addresses directly with a bylaw banning e-bikes from park trails.
I expect better from NOW.