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Letters June 16: Harm reduction just doesn't work; no one needs a rapid-fire weapon

A heroin user prepares an injection in the overdose-prevention site at Our Place on Pandora Avenue. A letter-writer makes the argument that tough love is needed to fight the overdose crisis, not more harm-reduction efforts. TIMES COLONIST FILES

Try tough love to fight the drug problem

Re: “Despite talk of harm reduction, we’re going the wrong way,” commentary, June 11.

At last, the voice of sanity. As Bill Cleverley points out, the current harm-reduction strategy has failed.

The problem is twofold. Overdose deaths have reached record-shattering numbers and we are creating an entire generation of dysfunctional welfare cases.

Some tough love is called for. Shut down the safe-injection sites and put much more funding into detox, rehab and education. Future generations will look back on what we are presently doing and ask whatever happened to common sense.

By the way, I notice there is a shortage of tree planters this year. Good money, good exercise and honest work away from the high cost of city living.

Richard Graham

We must give this to get that

Guns, guns, guns. I care nothing for the back-and-forth claims of the pro and con.

But — and it is a large but — if removing pit bulls from the face of the Earth would save the face of one small child, then I would, happily, euthanize them all. Just one face.

So, moving forward, and not to ­criticize the gun owner of a trusty .303, or its kin, to hunt the wily deer. I say bravo; ­he/she the deer is smarter than you think.

But someone, anyone, tell me the need of a hi-mag, rapid-fire anything. If you are a true hunter, giving the game his/her deserved chance to live on, why do you need 30 or more rapid-fire rounds?

Time for you to have a look in the mirror, my friend. As quickly as I would rid the world of face biting pit bulls, perhaps, we must take from you that which you are incapable of grasping as heinous to all, your handgun or AR-15.

Whitney Moyer

More facts to ponder on our energy future

Re: “Electric vehicles in Canada: Facts versus fantasy,” June 8.

I found Gwyn Morgan’s recent commentary thought-provoking and amusing. It prompted me to develop my own alternative facts:

Fact 1: Sunlight striking the earth supplies energy more than a thousand times faster than humans burning fossil fuels; energy stored as heat deep in the Earth or within atoms each dwarf current global human energy demand.

Fact 2: It is not a fantasy “that the 84 per cent of global energy supplied by oil and gas can be replaced by so-called ‘green energy’” — it is an engineering and economic problem within a political context.

Fact 3: We don’t know what will happen if solutions to this problem are not found (quickly) but it hurts a lot to even think about it.

Fact 4: It is easy to blame people or events for this problem, but that does not solve it.

Fact 5: Many people in government, institutions and corporations are working co-operatively to solve this problem and it is in the best interest of the rest of us to support them … or, failing that, just get out of the way and be quiet.

By the way, I recently read that 70 per cent of cars purchased last year in Norway were electric. Fantastic!

Don MacRae
Oak Bay

Don’t miss the point on vehicles and the museum

Re: “Hey Gwyn Morgan, try an electric vehicle,” letter, June 11.

The letter-writer misses the point that Gwyn Morgan was making, that green energy in general is still too expensive and unreliable, and electric cars in particular are still too costly for many Canadians, the cost of one being as much or more than the annual income for many of us, not to mention the cost of installing special electrical plugs — assuming you have a garage to install it in, or sufficient electrical service.

The cost of that would also be prohibitive for many of us.

Our governments are also missing the point by not immediately taking steps to lower the price of gas — by reducing taxes and increasing production of oil — instead of building a billion-dollar museum that would require many diesel-powered excavators, trucks and other machinery to build.

Tony Priddy-Camson
Cobble Hill

Wealth, profit taxes needed to meet priorities

The pandemic exposed what was already broken with our economic system. Windfall profits and excessive wealth accumulation were problems before, but have gotten much more concerning.

Health care and climate mitigation infrastructure are two (of many) urgent priorities. To meet these needs, a windfall profits tax and a wealth tax must be considered in order to support collective solutions.

Kip Wood

Cold kills more people than heat

Re: “Phoenix hits record as scorching heat grips American Southwest,” June 13.

While correctly noting that parts of the U.S. are experiencing record heat, this article also informs readers that “excessive heat causes more deaths in the U.S. than other weather-related disasters, including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes combined.”

Actually, excessive cold causes more deaths in the U.S. than excessive heat or the other “weather-related” disasters combined. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website notes: “Between 1979 and 2018, the death rate as a direct result of exposure to heat (underlying cause of death) generally hovered between 0.5 and 2 deaths per million people…. Overall, a total of more than 11,000 Americans have died from heat-related causes since 1979, according to death certificates.”

The EPA on deaths due to cold: “Between 1979 and 2016, the death rate as a direct result of exposure to cold (underlying cause of death) generally ranged from 1 to 2.5 deaths per million people…. Overall, a total of more than 19,000 Americans have died from cold-related causes since 1979, according to death certificates.”

In other words, the article has its facts on this completely wrong: almost twice as many Americans were killed by cold weather as by hot weather after 1979, and this ratio is true globally.

Unfortunately, this version of the facts doesn’t fit the “global warming will lead to disaster” narrative, leading to another example of “fake news.” Readers, and newspapers, need to be vigilant.

Paul MacRae

Help with overhead to help retain doctors

As a retired family doctor, I am all too aware of the additional 30-40 per cent cost of running an office. If you work as a hospital-based doctor, everything is provided for you.

The government should help doctors who provide longitudinal care with some of their overhead costs. That way new doctors might take up the torch and older doctors might keep working for a bit longer.

I know it doesn’t sound dramatic, but I have no doubt it will help if done in a substantial way.

John Eby


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