Fear of police now friendship

Dear Editor:

An unbelievable event took place on Friday that I would like to share with the readers

Magnus, my 21-year-old grandson who has special needs and is also receiving chemo treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, had a fear of police officers for the past three years.

Three years ago, he made a remark to the police, not really knowing what he was saying, and it resulted in having his cellphone confiscated for inspection. The phone is Magnus’s lifeline to contact his Mom or myself whenever he goes out. We asked the police how long they would have his phone. We were told they would get back to us. Apparently the officer soon went on holidays and messages to the staff sergeant went unanswered. Finally, five months later, the phone was returned without explanation.

From then on, Magnus was frightened of police and would run whenever he saw them. He always thought they were coming for him.

Last Friday, my daughter Diane and Magnus were driving to the Lions Community Hall for a Thrash Wrestling show.

Looking for an address, Diane was pulled over by police who said she was weaving.

The two officers were on opposite sides of the vehicle. Magnus rolled down his window and began talking rather profusely to the officer about his prior experience with police. There was no way you could shut him down.

Diane explained to officers that her son loved wrestling and that’s where they were headed as an outing for his having just undergone another round of chemo. The officer changed the conversation and began asking Magnus about wrestling and who he liked. Magnus was so thrilled to be able to talk about who he liked and didn’t like in wrestling.

Diane was told to continue on her way, which they did.

Lo and behold, both officers later walked into the community hall and spotted Magnus and his mother. From down below, both gave the “thumbs up” to them. Magnus is now in love with all police officers. When Diane related the story to me, we both just cried and cried, to hear this. It has erased three years of fear that Magnus had for police.

Thank you, and God bless you for going the extra step and dropping by the wrestling show. You made our night. You melted our hearts.

Lorraine Bulatovich (Grandbee), Kelowna

Noise destroys environment

Dear Editor:

The effect of noise and sound on all living creatures should be a concern to all of us. Recent research has implicated our noisy environment in the loss of a tremendous amount of insects, birds and fish.

Most creatures rely on the sense of hearing for protection from predators and other dangers and, of course, for the ability to find a mate. Research has found that for example in the clown fish, the popping sound they use for communicating didn’t work when a vessel was passing above them, as they couldn’t hear each other.

Scientists are wondering why there are much fewer insects now, then say 10-20 years ago. The same with songbirds. Larger birds abound, but the smaller more sensitive birds are nowhere to be seen in the vast numbers I remember 50 years ago.

The high noise level from most of our machines, our vehicles and air traffic is causing mankind a huge amount of stress. Can our local officials start to monitor all types of noise?

It doesn’t take the RCMP to do this, but anyone qualified to read an instrument. It is a shame that the motorcycle and automobile, truck (including after-market) manufacturers tell our government what noise level standards we should have.

Other countries like England, have much tougher standards. Even their emergency vehicles are quieter. We know noise is causing human beings to be stressed. It is just up to the will of the people to demand a quieter environment.

I may be 12 kilometres from the Knox Mountain Hill Climb, but I know when it’s on. But who is protecting the living creatures from our terrible discord?

Farlie Paynter, Westbank

NRA rhetoric now in Canada

Dear Editor:

I was angered and offended by Bob Sherman’s letter published in The Okanagan Weekend on May 11, in which he promoted the U.S.-based National Rifle Association.

I would first remind Mr. Sherman that in Canada there is not, nor should there be, any equivalent of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives U.S. citizens the right to bear arms and which is widely and recklessly promoted by the NRA. In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right.

In view of the current debate in Canada about whether greater control of semi-automatic weapons and handguns is warranted, now is the time for clear, civil dialogue and leadership.

However, it appears difficult to have such a debate. The gun lobby in Canada, through such organizations as the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR), lobbies against laws restricting gun ownership, but seems unable to articulate any reasonable argument for its position.

Rather than providing a clear rationale, they have resorted to fear mongering, with CCFR President Rod Giltaca recently comparing a gun safety advocate to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Sherman states “Firearms owners prefer semi-automatic weapons for hunting, target shooting and self defense.” The key word in that sentence is the word “prefer.” After listening to the gun lobbyists and Conservative politicians who cosy up to them, personal preference seems to be the strongest argument they can offer for opposing reasonable gun control laws restricting ownership of handguns and semi-automatic rifles, including the deadly AR-15.

The fact of the matter remains that if guns are easy to get, some will fall into the hands of people with criminal intent. The worrying increase in the number of far-right extremist groups in Canada, now numbering over 130, and their access to these types of weapons should also be cause for grave concern.

Profit-driven gun manufacturers who also support the gun lobby further contaminate the discussion by bringing greed into the debate. Personal preference, political expediency or profiteering as the primary reasons for opposing tighter gun legislation loses sight of the greater good and reeks of selfish entitlement.

In the Montreal Gazette in 2018, Christopher Holcroft points out how Canadian gun lobbyists are adopting NRA’s methods, and states that Canadians “should not be complacent about the infiltration of American gun lobby rhetoric and tactics into our politics.”

Sherman’s letter is just one shameful example of this. The NRA and the misguided values it promotes should have no place in Canada’s debate about this issue.

We should applaud the rapid passage of gun control legislation by the New Zealand government less than a month after a shooter with a semi-automatic weapon killed 50 people in March 2019 by fast tracking similar legislation in Canada as soon as possible.

Stephen Acres, Kelowna

Home safer without guns

Dear Editor:

One could argue or discuss a lot of for and against issues when it comes to gun legislation and ownership.

Recently in Penticton, four unarmed victims were gunned down by a man who committed intentional, wilful and premeditated murders, also jeopardizing the safety of other citizens in our community.

People have different interpretations of the Qu’ran, Bible, and Second Amendment and we have Isis, Taliban, Syria, Las Vegas, Columbine — everyone arguing or defending their rights to own guns.

Read about the money behind weaponry and arms manufacturing and learn why governments won’t get rid of these dangers.

I won’t own a gun to kill my food, my enemy, my neighbour or my anything. And in this way, there are no weapons in my home to endanger others or myself.

Donna Stollery, Penticton

Council didn’t have all facts

Dear Editor:

I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that council moved ahead with the approval of the “contested” development of a new building that contravenes several existing zoning restrictions and bylaws, and did so, when a full list of development relaxations had not been presented.

This would have provided “all” the information necessary, to all members, to make a completely informed decision.

After the initial tie vote of 4-4 when this was first presented, there should have been an opportunity of both sides of this issue, to present all opinions, and information, necessary and prior to taking a precedent-setting decision.

Having our mayor, use “executive privilege” to execute a quick win, suggests that expediency was a dominating factor, that was given precedence over thoroughness, and fairness to all stakeholders, including taxpayers.

This decision needs to be set aside, reviewed with full disclosure of all components before moving forward.

Chuck Liebrock, Kelowna

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