‘Wouldn’t you agree the problem is with the criminals, not the tools they use? What’s next, Canadian obesity linked to the use of American spoons?’

Michel Trahan August 29 2005


‘Wouldn’t you agree the problem is with the criminals, not the tools they use? What’s next, Canadian obesity linked to the use of American spoons?’

Michel Trahan August 29 2005


Michel Trahan

‘Wouldn’t you agree the problem is with the criminals, not the tools they use? What’s next, Canadian obesity linked to the use of American spoons?’

Goons with guns

One day after reading Charlie Gillis’s special report on the growing problem of gun-running into Canada (“American guns, Canadian violence,” Cover, Aug. 15), a friend of mine was assaulted by two punks brandishing a pistol. Luckily my friend was not hurt. But this assault occurred on a quiet residential street only steps from his house. The second scary point is that the attackers were no more than 16. The cops told my friend that this type of violence is now spreading. This assault has mobilized me and I plan to write to politicians at every level of government to make sure that solving this issue of gunplay and violence becomes a priority. Canadians should not have to feel frightened every time they leave their houses. It’s time to take back our cities from the worthless thugs.

Steve LÍCO, Toronto

Gillis is right. Canadian violence is all the fault of the Americans. They are responsible for our legal system and for the policing of our communities. The Americans are also to blame for our immigration policies. Canada is a socialist utopia and any time something goes wrong, it has to be the fault of those obstinate down-south rednecks. Leon Colwin, Toronto

There are only two ways to eliminate unwanted items from being made available to anyone who wants them. Close down and eliminate all sources that manufacture, grow or sell the items in question (an impossible task). Or go after the users. In the case of illegal firearms in Canada, make it an automatic five-year jail term for anyone found in possession of an unregistered weapon. Until our laws get tougher, we will never reduce or eliminate anything that we consider to be a problem in our society.

William Raine Stewart, Whitby, Ont.

It’s time for Canadians to stop blaming the United States for all our problems and to take responsibility for policing our own borders. For example, the $1 billion the federal gov-




ernment spent registering and regulating legitimate Canadian gun owners would have purchased 500 Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System units.

Ed Anderson, Strathmore, Alta.

I’m an American who just read your story about the smuggling of American guns into Canada and their implication in crime. I was shocked and upset. I have always been impressed by Canada’s strong commitment to law and order and its strong laws in gun control. Tough gun controls need to be enacted in the U.S. as well so that the problems with gun violence in North America can be alleviated. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t agree. When the U.S. Constitution was drafted in the late 1700s, the Second Amendment stated that “The right to bear arms, in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, shall not be infringed.” Many Americans interpret that as meaning anybody should be allowed to own a gun at any time. John Carson, Minneapolis

Gun crime escalating? Strange indeed as Canada has followed Britain’s lead in virtually banning the ownership of handguns and other weapons by its people. I suppose it’s easier to disarm the people in countries that consider themselves subjects rather than citizens. I would love nothing better than


to see our borders completely sealed off because we cannot rely on Canada to stand with us on the simplest of human rights: the right to defend oneself, best accomplished with personal arms and the courage and will to stand up for yourself.

D. Steven Goodwin, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The problem isn’t the guns smuggled into Canada, but why the guns are in demand. There has been a breakdown in some parts of Canadian society where a few individuals believe it is acceptable to use force and violence—and sometimes firearms—as part of their criminal lifestyle. Stopping these people from getting guns will not change their values or attitudes. Possibly the federal government should have spent more on policing in Toronto, and more on deporting convicted criminals and making sure they are kept out of Canada, than on registering firearms owned by law-abiding citizens. Jerrold Lundgard, President, Responsible Firearms Owners of Alberta, Peace River, Alta.

Smoky gets in your eyes

Your coverage of Ernest “Smoky” Smith, Canada’s last living recipient of the Victoria Cross, made me laugh and brought a tear to my eye at his passing (“I was never afraid to shoot, that’s what I was paid for,” The Maclean’s Interview, Aug. 15). My grandfather on my dad’s side fought in the Second World War. He wouldn’t talk about it much until he was close to death.

I am sure Smoky will be missed. Hopefully he and God are sharing a few laughs and maybe a beer or two.

William Terry, Fort McMurray, Alta.

After reading your article and interview, I can see why Smoky Smith won his Victoria Cross. The brass were pretty thrifty with them in the Canadian Forces, too, so they were tough to earn. Smoky was sharp and knew what to do under duress and fire. He deserves our everlasting respect and gratitude. We still live in the shadow of this war: thank you to Smoky, all veterans and current armed forces. Norm Ferguson, Richmond Hill, Ont.

No sex please, we’re skittish

I just finished reading Brian Bethune’s story about Edward Shorter’s look at sex through the ages,Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire (“The pleasure principle,”

Books, Aug. 15). Bethune’s description of the primitive human rutting habits during medieval times left me really happy to be alive now. With the lice and syphilis and husbands stinking like goats, it’s a wonder we’re here at all.

Robert Roaldi, Orleans, Ont.

Could you please tell me if Bethune’s story is meant to be a book review or a rather strange précis of Shorter’s work? After reading the article twice, I have no idea whether I should read the book or not. I wonder, in fact, whether Bethune himself read it, rather than flipping through the pages looking for juicy pieces. However, the artwork (kudos for getting me to read on) takes up a great deal of space that could have been used for a proper, in-depth look at Shorter’s study. Maggie Negodaeff, Ottawa

A delivery from God

We always seem to take everything we have in our life for granted, but reading Brian Bergman’s story about Glenda and Kevin Hickey, the young Leduc, Alta., couple who conceived and gave birth after Glenda had a massive stroke (“Miracle birth,” Family, July 25), clearly showed me that I

have nothing to complain about. The Hickeys are a true example of love, courage, dedication and willingness to live a normal life despite unbelievable obstacles. God bless both of them and their three daughters. Louise Sauve-Nicholls, Mississauga, Ont.

A paralyzed mother in her mid-30s conceives another baby and we call it a miracle? For shame, Maclean’s. What will happen when the fundraisers end? I question the quality of life that child will receive considering how many other youth in the Edmonton area fall prey to their parents’ financial difficulties.

Tyler Pittman, Edmonton

To me, reading Maclean’s is like going to a garage sale. I sift through the pages, finding things that might tweak a distant memory, things that bring a smile and things that might be a little disturbing. In the July 25 issue I found a treasure tucked in your pages— the story of the Hickey family and their 7-lb., 4-ounce delivery from God. Amazing! Kelley P. Cowan, Strathroy, Ont.

I am 30 years old, and a fellow stroke survivor. Bergman’s description of what it is like to be locked inside one’s body is extremely accurate and it can be a lifelong sentence that sometimes causes the people you need the most to run in the other direction. Kudos to the Hickeys for sticking it out. They are an inspiration.

Heather Strong, Belleville, Ont.


I am sure Smoky will be missed. Hopefully, he and God are sharing a few laughs and maybe a beer or two.


I’ll bet that the Hickeys’ extraordinary story of tenacity and courage will be Maclean’s most-read, most-remembered piece of 2005. It should be.

Evan Thompson, Toronto

Above the fray?

How we react in the aftermath of terror tells us a great deal about ourselves. Will we behave strongly and defend our hard-won ideals of justice, due process, tolerance and openness? Or will we slither to the baseness of intolerance, violence and revenge? Journalists have a responsibility to uphold civil, intelligent discussion for society to come out of these trying times stronger. This leads me to question the writing of Robert Mason Lee. In his article “Land of war” (Terror, Aug. 1) he engages in a discussion that so lacks merit it leans toward supporting the very violent, intolerant behaviour he so abjectly abhors. For example, he insists that

the only solution for the inflammatory speeches of a certain Muslim cleric is that cleric’s execution. He also reports with delight the execution by the police of a man in the subway. I wonder if he still supports his public stand on police shoot-to-kill policies now that this victim is known to have been completely innocent.

Peter Zdanowicz, New York

Why do I get the feeling that today’s media are becoming socially and culturally dangerous? I read this article, hoping it would shed some new light on the London bombings, and perhaps even give me a glimmer of hope about these tragic occurrences. I found little of either. When so-called “terrorists” read such articles (and they will), I assume they will come to conclusions similar to mine, but they will clap their hands in glee: no more insight, no more hope: ah, success!

G. A. Teske, Sherwood Park, Alta.