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Letters July 8: Show more compassion to the homeless; humour is good for us

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A homeless person sits in a doorway along Government Street near Chinatown. A letter-writer suggests that those of us fortunate enough to not be homeless should show more compassion to those who are. TIMES COLONIST

A bit of kindness goes a long way

Re: “We need to stop calling people ‘bums’ or ‘undesirables,’ ” column, July 3.

Trevor Hancock hit the nail on the head. We seem to have become arrogant and judgmental when it comes to generalizing on the plight of the homeless in our community.

Nobody wants to live on the streets, in their car or depend on the kindness of friends when homeless. It is humiliating and shames them by being classified as “bums.”

I think my mother had the right attitude. A regular churchgoer at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, she would never leave the house without making sure she had a few dollars for “the boys” who were always perched on the steps on Sunday mornings.

I found it shocking that so many of those attending services could walk by these “boys” as if they were invisible and not even drop loose change into their cups, hats or hands. She was always so pleased when one of the “boys” thanked her or paid her a compliment. Her favourite was when one fellow told her she was a “goddess.” We still have a chuckle over that one.

Let’s try to remember: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Nobody knows how another’s upbringing or just plain old bad luck has had a hand in their current circumstances.

A dollar of two won’t be missed by most of us, but might give a homeless person the ability to buy a hot cup of coffee or a snack at McDonald’s to warm an otherwise sad day.

Another short story also gives us a chuckle, when one fellow said to me: “I’m not a bum, I’m just in a rut.” Even the homeless have a sense of humour.

Jacquelyn Ross
Parksville

Raeside is good for our mental health

In defence of Raeside’s recent museum-exhibit cartoon, how too quickly we point fingers at others.

It appears that many of the critics, including the mayor, jumped to the conclusion that angry outbursts originate only from those suffering from serious mental illness. Isn’t that being equally judgmental as believing that Raeside is portraying the same?

Not all verbally abusive people are mentally ill, some are just frustrated with the world in general and choose to take it out on others. Road rage and many in the so-called freedom convoy are examples that come to mind.

Another is what I experienced in a mall parking lot soon after COVID hit. I was putting my groceries into my blue car when, from nearby, a string of offensive curses was aimed at me by a young man who thought I was trying to get into his blue car parked next to mine.

As a senior I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, so didn’t respond but finished what I was doing, got into my car, locked the doors and, after he entered his car, drove away.

But it did disturb me and has made me more cautious of my surroundings, which is probably advisable anyway.

So how about we all just take a deep breath and try to become less judgmental and more understanding of other’s intent and behaviour in this perplexing world we’re all experiencing.

Our overall mental health needs more of Raeside’s wonderful humour.

Susan M. Woods
Victoria

Another caption idea for Raeside’s cartoon

Raeside shouldn’t have been so specific in his July 2 cartoon, as the horn-honking, science-denying disrupters of civility have thin skins, it seems.

The caption after the asterisk on the Canadian flag should have read:

* “Not to be used as camouflage for ignorance.”

The beauty of it is that no one could take offence as that would be an admission that it applied to them.

Kind of a Catch-22.

The rest of us could figure it out.

Sandy Szabo
North Saanich

‘Defund the police’ crowd has gone silent

With the events of last week at the bank on Shelbourne Street, most people are wishing the injured officers well.

We haven’t heard boo from any of the “defund the police” folks, including the elected city officials that were part of that movement. The same elected officials that, under the guise of art, authorized the term “ACAB” to be painted on property for public display.

I certainly hope the voting public remembers who these people are come election time in the fall.

Bob Halliday
Sooke

Please, minister, let us have another shot

Why is the cut-off to receive a fourth shot for COVID in B.C. set at age 70? When this question was put directly to Health Minister Adrian Dix, he responded by saying how important it is for people to get their first, second and third shots, but he refuses to answer the question, “why can’t a person under age 70, who had their third shot more than six months ago, receive a fourth shot?’ He either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to say.

Over the past months medical professionals have constantly bombarded us with statistics from across Canada and around the world confirming the spread of new variants of Omicron versions of COVID.

These same medical professionals have also informed us that our immunity to COVID drops significantly after six months of our last shot. They recommend people over 60 should be getting a fourth shot six months after their third.

This recommendation has been implemented in many jurisdictions across Canada and the world, but not in British Columbia. While both Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry seem happy to go that extra mile to convince non-believers that they should get vaccinated, they have displayed little, if any, interest in those people under the age of 70 who had their third shot more than six months ago and who are waiting to access a widely recommended fourth vaccine.

Why, with all of the varying opinions about when to get a fourth COVID shot, are people in B.C. who are 60 years of age and older not able to make this kind of informed decision without seeking our government’s permission?

Bruce Cline
Victoria

Take responsibility for collective health

Where is our public health officer, and why are we not hearing from her as a more transmissible subvariant of Omicron is beginning to spread throughout the province? Most folks seem oblivious to the risk judging by the number of mask-free customers in crowded stores and other indoor settings.

To go from weekly public COVID briefings to utter silence is, in my view, a gross disservice and abandonment of duty. And we all know who will continue to suffer the consequences most severely — the elderly and more medically vulnerable population.

They are not the only people who will continue to suffer serious consequences from infection. Children, youth and young and middle-aged adults are also at risk, even after a mild case of COVID, of developing long COVID, and other serious health conditions.

This virus has become better able to evade our present vaccines. Its mission is to thrive, and that should be our collective mission too.

Is the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask not worth the avoidance of troublesome medical issues or the untimely death of a family member or friend? Or of a pandemic that just goes on and on and on?

Our medical system is buckling under a tremendously heavy load, exacerbated by the continuing pandemic.

Given the lack of clear, up-to-date information, advice and mandates from authorities, it seems time for us all to think for ourselves and face up to reality.

Rather than following the crowd that doesn’t want to think about it any more, how about being part of a new crowd that wants to take responsibility for our collective health and well-being?

Ann Wilson
Victoria

Cruise ships vital to Victoria’s economy

About 350 cruise ships will be visiting Victoria this summer, with ships carrying about 780,000 passengers and crew. A great proportion of these folks will step ashore and visit our beautiful city.

Some citizens see this vital economic factor as a nuisance. They believe it causes environmental damage, and it contributes to traffic chaos on our streets.

Those that criticize cruise ships because it is fashionable to do so should look at the benefits that this industry brings to the city. When in port, the ships are not the dramatic polluters they are purported to be.

Today, about half of the ships that dock at Ogden Point plug into B.C. Hydro for their electricity needs, and this number is expected to increase dramatically over the years.

As for traffic nightmares, most passengers either walk off the ships, or take a tour bus or taxi or pedicab.

Now let’s look at the employment it brings. There is the pilotage authority to guide the ships into port, there are the tugboat operators who assist the ships in docking, there are the stevedores who handle the lines to secure the ships to the pier, there are numerous shore industries and people that benefit.

These industries include the shore excursions that are organized, the drivers who operate the buses, there are the souvenir shops and their employees, there are the taxi companies and their drivers, there are the students who operate the pedicabs, and the caleches, and many more.

Studies have shown that many cruise ship passengers are so impressed by their visit that they return to Victoria for a vacation. So let us not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Roger Cyr
Victoria

If the airlines can’t help, another way to get there

Seeing yet another picture of the chaos regarding luggage at a major airport in Canada, several things come to mind.

First: Will airlines refund the baggage fee?

Second: When will Canadian airlines start to charge fees for finding lost baggage?

Third: Why do they continue to fly with all this mayhem?

Full disclosure: Just drove 8,000 kilometres to Oklahoma and back to see grandsons after missing them for 30 months. Drove, to avoid airports.

Frank Jamieson
Campbell River

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