The Mail

Teen violence

December 22 1997

The Mail

Teen violence

December 22 1997

The Mail


Teen violence

Are we still blaming men for all the modern woes of women? After reading your article “Bad girls”

(Cover, Dec. 8), I was disappointed to find a recurring theme: that the violent tendencies of young females and their compulsion to express themselves in a self-destructive manner is often the result of an abusive, domineering father and a mother who is

equally repressed by this tyrannical bully. While I am not denying that this may be a profile that surfaces, it is still an easy scapegoat. It is like claiming that anorexia and bulimia in young girls is due to the repressive demands of a phallocentric society, when in fact it is much more complicated than that. When are women going to take responsibility for themselves and their actions? It would seem to me that the more we implicate men as the direct or indirect cause of our ills, the more we empower them and reinforce a patriarchal society. Doesn’t equality mean taking equal responsibility?

Anissa Hersh, Lyon, France

The horror of British Columbia teenager Reena Virk’s peer slaughter has produced the usual spate of hand-wringing by the scientific community and those appointed to navel-gaze at society’s ills. The city of London, Ont., was recently shocked to learn of a 13-year-old local girl’s attempt to slash the throat of a younger male school mate. While differing vastly in degree, the causal fundamentals are similar. Why do we stand agape when children turn to violence, the same children who were weaned on Mutant Ninja Turtles, who quietly absorbed the message of Power Rangers and WWF wrestling, and who are now entertained by the Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger Big Bang Theory of Problem Solving? Brought up in households too busy to provide the values that


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have sustained us for centuries, it is a wonder that more children don’t seek to destroy each other and the world around them.

Charles G. Ruttan, London, Ont. ill

It took a while, but this article finally reached the root of the problem with teenage violence—a lack of moral teaching by parents. The state is being asked to replace parents in the maintenance of too many stan-

dards in society, and its inability is evident. The most urgent standard the state must enforce is that of parental responsibility.

Brian Kirk, Winnipeg HI

The blood scandal

Canada’s tainted-blood scandal (“A harsh rebuke,” Canada, Dec. 8) involved all three of the old-line political parties federally and/or provincially to one degree or another. The monumental bungling of the respective health ministries and, of course, the Red Cross stands as a testament to inexcusable carelessness, gross incompetence and possibly criminal negligence. The decent and honorable thing to do at this late stage would be to financially compensate the innocent victims or family survivors of the foul blood transfusions, and to do so promptly.

Peter K. Abels, Gloucester, Ont.

Something rank

The rankings of universities that your magazine publishes every year was, I thought, meant to be a guide to students to pick the schools that will best prepare them for their chosen careers (“Universities 97,” Cover/Special Issue, Nov. 24). As a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s medical school, I have always been bemused by Ottawa’s poor ranking under the medical school category. This year, in fact, you ranked my alma mater eleventh out of 15 schools. Had I made the wrong choice, when I could have gone to Queen’s University or the University of Toronto, which Maclean’s indicates are far superior at producing competent doctors? I felt vindicated when I read that Ottawa’s graduating class scored the highest mark of

Older but better

Having just hit my milestone three weeks ago as a male boomer, I would agree with a lot of what Jane O’Hara said (“When baby boomers hit Five-O," Column, Dec. 1). One Or two generations ago, 50 was old. But today, 50 is a state of mind. I had more trouble at 40, and had my mid-life crisis then. I looked forward to my 50th with tremendous satisfaction. My health is the best it has ever been thanks to daily workouts (something I didn’t even start until I was 43) and financially I am much better off than I was at 40. On a personal side, my children are either in college or on their own and doing well, and I am proud of their accomplishments. I still think young even though my body sometimes tells me I’m not.

Michael P. Tew, Uniontown, Ohio HI

all the medical schools on the licensing exam, which surely should suggest a conclusion about Ottawa’s ranking other than the one in your issue.

John A. Drkulec, Orthopedic surgery resident, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa HI

Human rights

I was disappointed in how the police dealt with the student protests against the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation forum (“A summit engulfed by crisis,” World, Dec. 8). While not a protester but only an interested observer, I saw enthusiastic, if naive, students exercising their rights and upholding their convictions. Against these well-intentioned kids stood the full force of the state equipped with a chain-link fence, hundreds of officers, vicious police dogs and pepper spray. Witnessing the injustices served upon University of British Columbia students had me raging, and I realized the fragile nature of our civil and human rights. I only hope that the kids who had the courage to brave the police are not now regretting their decision.

Matt Dooley, Vancouver HI

It is absurd to even think about having a conference dealing with international trade and not also discuss human rights; the two go hand in hand. You can’t have industrial or commercial development without affecting people’s lives, and you can’t isolate trade from human rights. All over the Third World, people are struggling to survive the vicious cycle of overproduction and low prices that so fundamentally undermines their development efforts. APEC should put this topic on the next meeting’s discussion list.

Magdalen R. Skelton, St. Peter, Minn. ®

Congratulations on the “Portraits of diversity” on the 18 APEC participants. These country profiles were compact, comprehensive and clear—the best capsulizing we have seen anywhere since your brilliant Canadian election issue last spring.

Cary and Jean Goulson, Victoria ®

Serious illness

Thank you for your Dec. 1 cover package on “Depression.” I am 18 years old and have been suffering from major depression and severe anxiety and panic disorder for the past five years. It’s nice to see that people, like you, are making an effort to educate the public about this serious illness. Thank you.

Julia Ross, Ottawa

Foreign students

The article “Fighting hikes” (Education Notes, Dec. 1) deals with Quebec charging Canadian students from outside Quebec more tuition than it does Canadian students who officially reside in Quebec. What you do not mention is that students from some foreign countries that have reciprocal deals with Quebec are charged $1,200 less for tuition than Canadian students from outside Quebec. In effect, some foreign students are treated as if they were Canadian citizens residing in Quebec while Canadian students from outside Quebec are treated as if they were foreigners.

C. J. Wadsworth, Vancouver