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Letters July 2: A public show of support for the police; running to danger to protect us

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Police respond to the bank robbery at Shelbourne and Pear streets on Tuesday. Letter-writers say the response to the robbery is a perfect example of why defunding the police is an unworkable strategy. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Reminder: Love the people over the fence

As I was home this week recovering from COVID, the tragic incident in Saanich unfolded five minutes away.

Since then, there has been an overwhelming but increasingly rare show of public support for our police officers. I’m sure this shift in public sentiment is welcome (if temporary) relief for our weary but steadfast officers.

This week I have witnessed innumerable small acts of kindness. Friends have reached out, our dog has been walked, a pack of cold beer dropped on our doorstep.

Our wonderful 80-year-old neighbours even baked a cake and delivered it over the fence.

I couldn’t help but think this is a metaphor we could all use right now: Send love “over the fence.” Make eye contact with a stranger and smile or say hello. Let the car in and give them a wave.

The helpers are hurting. And they’re everywhere. They live on your street. They shop in your stores. They volunteer. They parent. They are us.

We are surrounded by good, kind people. Our communities are filled with them. Yes, we have our differences and yes, there will always be conflict.

But if we can take one sliver of good from this trauma, let it be a reminder to love people from over the fence.

Some say evil lives among us, and that may be true as witnessed by the incident this week. But guess what? Good does too. Let’s make sure it wins.

Name withheld;
the writer is the wife of a Victoria police officer who is a member of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team.

They run to danger to protect us

We still know very little about the major incident in Saanich, other than it could have been a much different outcome without the professional and heroic actions of the police.

The first lesson we learned: This is the world we live in, and police services are as important (or even more) than they were before. We have seen it in rural sleepy communities in Nova Scotia, in downtown Toronto and in our own backyard. There are bad people out there.

And no, I am not talking about the mental-health subject who randomly attacked someone in downtown Victoria, or the drug addict that breaks in a steals someone’s property in a garden shed in Oak Bay. There are bad people with assault rifles and tactical gear willing to kill to steal money from a bank. We did not choose that, we did not nurture that. It just happens to be planet Earth 2022.

And that’s why the progressive tendency to “solve” social problems by defunding police is totally and absolutely wrong. The concept is so misguided that anyone even mention it after the events of June 28 should be ashamed.

Which brings me to the second lesson we already learned: no matter how much we vilify them, no matter how much we attack them, no matter how much we think they shouldn’t be here, when the bad guys appear and start shooting, our brave men and women from police will run towards the bullets to protect us.

And we can only thank them for being there.

Daniel Sanchez
Victoria

High praise for Matthew Day

Matthew Day is my hero. He sat and protected my laptop and sundry items that I forgot to take with me when I took my bus.

It took me the best of 15 minutes to get off the bus and run, walk and limp back to the bus stop.

And there was Matthew Day. Hero, decent guy, redeeming in my eyes all of mankind for that day, perhaps week, maybe forever.

Thank you Matthew Day. I must have greatly needed that lesson of lost and found. And everyone needs a hero.

Mary Brockman
Victoria

A big thank-you to Save-on-Foods

On behalf of the Friday morning 9-10 Club soup kitchen crew, we want to give a big shout-out to George, the store manager, and Scott in the bakery at Uptown Save-on-Foods.

The 9-10 Club serves Victoria’s homeless, street people and marginalized, providing a nutritious meal that includes a sandwich, a hearty soup, a boiled egg, fruit and donated sweets.

Thursday we learned that our expected bread delivery was not available, and we were in a panic as we start sandwich-making at 6 a.m., and we were desperate for sliced bread. We called the Uptown Save-on-Foods bakery, and George and Scott came through with more than enough bread for Friday’s “sammies,” and perhaps a loaf or two for Monday.

Incredible community service, humbly rendered without fanfare. Well done George, Scott and Save-on-Foods! Our diners thank you and applaud your generosity, and so do we.

Simon and Jenny Di Castri
and the Friday Team
9-10 Club Soup Kitchen Volunteers

Daughter stigmatized, like so many others

I lost my youngest daughter last September, due to mental illness and negligent care from a facility during that time of unstable mental health — leading to a situation where she died of a toxic drug poisoning.

She suffered from mental illness from the time she was a young teenager, and she suffered emotionally as well, from the stigma she had to endure from the public to health-care professionals. And she is only one of the thousands of victims, in this province.

The June 25 cartoon is nothing but disgusting and does nothing to increase compassion and empathy towards vulnerable people, be they homeless, down on their luck, mentally ill and/or suffering from addiction.

Georgina Tweed
Victoria

A reflection of today’s Victoria

I feel that Raeside’s June 25 cartoon was on point. I understand that homelessness, addiction and mental health are definitely growing concerns in Victoria (and everywhere for that matter), however, I also feel that humour is a welcome relief for people too.

I have been randomly yelled at by various people, as suggested in the cartoon, in various places throughout Victoria without provocation. It’s scary and it’s not going to stop.

I just walk away and do anything to avoid further confrontation. So, seeing Raeside illustrate such events makes me laugh because it’s real. It’s happening daily. It’s not going away.

It’s a true picture of what Victoria has become. I agree something needs to change, but who is going to change it?

Darlene Prendergast
Victoria

A brilliant cartoon reflects failed policies

Anybody offended by Raeside’s brilliant June 25 cartoon has no sense of humour and has probably never experienced a drunk or drug-addled human invading the safe space of the generally peaceful public trying to go about their day.

Mentally ill or not, it’s annoying and uncalled-for and the result of failed government policies. The cartoon also pointed out other faults in our city, and I can’t help but think these obvious truths contributed to the negative letters.

The cartoon is funny, accurate and to the point. Laughing about all that is wrong with Victoria makes it a little easier to swallow for most of us.

We can’t all be constantly offended by everything we don’t agree with.

C. Scott Stofer
Victoria

Columns and cartoons that are satirical

There is a reason political cartoons appear on the editorial page and not with the comic section of the newspaper.

They are not necessarily intended to be funny, although often they cause eye-rolling by the way they illustrate the goings-on within our government systems.

Adrian Raeside is one of the best political cartoonists and his work is satirical statement of local events, reflecting the anomalies of politics and baffling situations, and usually hits the nail on the head.

To suggest his cartoons are racist or stigmatizing is to miss the point entirely, because they illustrate those exact qualities in some segments of our society. They are meant to show silliness, racism, stigmatization, NIMBYism and a host of other not-very-pretty qualities, opinions and behaviours of people living in the community, city, Island and province.

In the same way, Jack Knox writes a column that is often sardonic and just as often completely misunderstood by certain people.

I know you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but it would be nice if consideration was extended for these columns and cartoons that they are satirical and presented tongue in cheek.

Christine van’t Riet
Courtenay

Rail would work for freight, passengers

I notice two misleading letters recently printed about the E&N railway and they must be corrected.

One letter claimed that rail makes no sense for freight, but in an age of global warming and climate change, freight is returning to rail, even for short-haul routes.

It is just cheaper. The advent of autonomous freight cars will greatly reduce the cost and increase the safety of carrying freight by rail when compared to roads.

Another letter claimed that the E&N could only move 500 persons per hour. No!

A single-track railway can easily handle three trains per hour per direction, with proper signalling and passing loops and with modern diesel or electric multiple units can easily carry 750 persons or more per train, giving an hourly maximum capacity of 2,250 or more per direction.

This why there has been a worldwide rennassinace in regional railways, as they provide an affordable and user-friendly alternative to the car.

Malcolm Johnston
Delta

How to enforce the 30 km/h speed limit?

Victoria city council, along with other municipalities, have proposed that the speed limit on residential streets be lowered to 30 km/h from the current default of 50 km/h.

I live on Harbour Road, which has a posted speed of 30 km/h, but I observe, frequently, cars speeding as high as 70 km/h.

Whenever a law is proposed, it is necessary to determine how it will be enforced, otherwise it is useless. Speed limit enforcement has been traditionally been carried out on a pseudo-random basis by police officers in unmarked cars with radar guns. However, many drivers know the location of these enforcement spots, their times and even the vehicles that are used.

Electronic devices are perhaps the only type of goods that are decreasing in price as well as increasing in power. It is now feasible to install on a permanent basis hundreds of automatic radars and cameras throughout the city, connected wirelessly to a central computer that would email drivers their speeding tickets a few seconds after they have committed their offence.

Of course, the provincial government would have to change some laws and face down those industries that encourage fast driving. Civilians could operate this system at half the cost of police officers.

Police officers liberated from the mundane task of issuing traffic tickets could be re-assigned to walking beats on downtown streets.

The physical presence of police officers would be much more effective at deterring crime in downtown than just sitting in police cars as they do at present.

Kenneth Mintz
Victoria

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