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Too many fish in the sea

As a happily married woman who met her husband online, I found your article on Internet dating (“True loves,” Society, Feb. 4) superficial for arguing that online dating undermines commitment because “there’s always someone else out there.” That’s true, but most of them aren’t worth the time and effort. Constantly dating sucks up a lot of mental and emotional energy—not to mention time. The approach to courtship and marriage isn’t the consequence (or victim) of modern technology, but the result of one’s mindset and values. The Internet is just another mechanism by which single people can meet each other. How they choose to relate to each other is largely up to them.

Melissa Illes-Brooks, Toronto

As a veteran of online dating sites, I agree wholeheartedly that they are counterproductive to long-term relationships. Over the years I have been guilty of being shallow, dismissive, demanding and judgmental when it comes to meeting new people online (and offline). These traits are destructive to a lasting relationship. And now with mobile technology, the dating scene is going to become even worse because of the ease of access: at the slightest hint of incompatibility, people will become disposable. I want nothing more than to stop using these sites. But now I have a new problem: addiction.

John Gatsis, Toronto

Gunning for the truth

In “Just what’s so special about the AR-15?” columnist Emma Teitel asks why people need guns (Opinion, Feb. 4). The answer is because they provide a net benefit to society in terms of sport hunting, food production and defence of the home. StatsCan reported over 424,000 incidents of violent crime in 2011. In a country of 34 million, that means around one person in 80 is touched by violence every year. If the chances of your house burning down were one in 80, you’d be crazy not to own a fire extinguisher, so why are guns different? My wife and I don’t want our last defence to be clutching cellphones and praying for men with guns to show up in time.

Mike Dixon, Abbotsford, B.C.

One solution to the current gun uproar in the paranoid U.S. might be to allow the citizenry to own only weapons consistent with the understanding of the 1791 Congress; smooth-bore, one-shot flintlocks. Ergo, the citizens have their guns and many parents can breathe a sigh of relief.

Colin Genders, Chilliwack B.C.

Letter writer Rick Dow (“Open and shut,” Letters, Feb. 4) seems to think that a Maclean’s editor used the term “assault rifle” for political bias. The AR-15 is in fact an assault rifle, and is currently sold to the U.S. military as an M16 variant. It has a three-point firing selector switch: safe, semi-automatic, and fully automatic three-round burst, depending on how the bolt carrier is set up. The civilian model only has two firing selections: safe and semi-automatic, and it is illegal to modify civilian versions to fully automatic. I’m not sure why Dow was mincing words over the term used to describe a weapon that has but one use: putting a large number of bullets down range in a very short time. I find it very hard to believe that someone feels the need to obfuscate the nomenclature of the weapon used in a tragedy by saying he’s a “stickler for the truth”—and then being wrong about it himself. As for school safety (“Locked down and loaded policy doesn’t add up,” From the Editors, Jan. 21), locking doors to school is a no-brainer. A Grade 9 student was murdered in the high school I went to in Ontario, so don’t think this sort of thing doesn’t happen in Canada; I’m just thankful the sick freak didn’t have an assault rifle.

Douglas Clark, Beaver Dam, N.B.

Time for Bettman to take the bite

Now that Gary Bettman has negotiated such a great deal for the NHL (“A winning record,” Business, Jan. 21), I’m sure he will lead by example and take the same cut to his $7.98-million salary, as the players have done with their revenue sharing. Dropping from 57 to 50 per cent equates to a 12.3 per cent reduction. I think distributing a salary cut of $981,000 to children’s hospitals in every NHL franchise city would be a great start for the commissioner. Next, the salary cap.

Bernie Kaplun, Lake Country, B.C.

Best before, not dangerous after

For human beings to consistently waste food while other human beings suffer from hunger is unconscionable (“The food-waste debate could use a pinch of common sense,” From the Editors, Jan. 28). Thank you for pointing out the simple fact that a “best before” date does not imply a “dangerous after” date. A hungry world simply cannot keep throwing away perfectly edible food.

Adela Torchia, Powell River, B.C.

Geezers are not freeloaders

Although I am generally in agreement with your Feb. 4 editorial (“Education vs. health care: the tough choices that aren’t being made,” From the Editors), the opening paragraph infers that all those over 65 don’t “pay the bills” in society. This is extremely unfair to most, if not all, seniors. My wife and I are over 65 and not only do we pay all our own bills, we directly and indirectly support others. We are modest-living, middle-class retirees. During our working years we put aside adequate savings to ensure a comfortable retirement. Absolutely no one between the ages of 19 and 65 pays our bills, nor will they ever. Our contribution to society is still being made, as evidenced by our annual income-tax returns. Government deficits result to some extent from programs that the younger generations have precipitated through their expectation of government-backed mega-mortgages, all-day kindergarten, subsidized children’s sports activities, as well as escalating educational costs that in recent years leave many with useless post-secondary degrees, inflated egos and an unearned sense of entitlement. Your editorial is correct in advocating the reining in of these and other out-of-control government costs.

James Slyfield, Clarington, Ont.

Age alone doesn’t determine the number of people who are “dependent” on services such as education and health care. Last I checked, we all received health care, no matter our age. Furthermore, many teens have part-time jobs; many adults judged to be in their “prime working years” are unable to work due to ill health or disability; a growing number of older adults are working longer (and therefore still paying taxes). Please stop with the ageism; it merely helps perpetuate stereotypes that are becoming less accurate in our society. Age is like weight: it’s only a number!

Amy Soule, Hamilton

Same old story

I could have written “The new underclass” (Society, Jan. 21) about my own generation, and I graduated from university in 1994, when more than a few of us were sporting useless bachelor degrees and working long hours selling footwear or potted plants for minimum wage. Neither my husband nor myself are working in the fields for which we trained and have been burdened beyond measure by student loan debt. I find it sad and bewildering that this is a news story in 2013 and that you would need to debunk a myth that really should be common knowledge by know.

Carissa Dimjasovics, London, Ont.

How is it that the children of first-generation immigrants find jobs, buy homes and drive nice cars? Simple: they will hold down two to three awful jobs to finance their education and they save, save, save. They don’t expect to wear designer clothes and don’t drink expensive coffee. They mostly wear hand-me-downs and bring their food from home. On the other side of the employment equation, large corporations complain they can’t find qualified staff, yet put up every possible barrier to entry imaginable. Many have built enormous human resources departments who hide behind email and voicemail. They use keyword-driven software to go through resumés, so that an applicant with extraordinary experience in a different sector will not be considered. We need to put hiring back into the hands of the hiring managers.

Roslyn Takeishi, Montreal

India’s tipping point

Thank you for the balanced and well-researched story on gender-based violence in India (“No country for women,” International, Feb. 4). The story could have gone further to point out that the eruption of anger following the atrocious sexual assault on a young woman in Delhi in December was rooted in more than just revulsion at that particular incident. As in many cases, such as the fruit vendor in Tunisia starting the Arab Spring, this particular incident was just a spark igniting years of pent-up frustration at poor governance, underperforming institutions and a general lack of confidence in the power structure of the country.

Nash Soonawala, Winnipeg

Bear, beware

In the summer of 2010, during our annual visit to our property in Christina Lake, B.C., we noticed more bears than usual that seemed to be attracted to people. Nothing seemed to deter them. A few days later, we heard the reason on the radio: the arrest of Allen Piche, who had been feeding as many as two dozen bears in B.C.’s southern Interior (“Setting free the ‘bear dude,’ ” National, Jan. 28). Piche took away the bears’ most basic defence: fear of humans. His selfish idea that he was rescuing or helping the bears cost a lot of them their lives, since nuisance bears get put down. Piche is not Jane Goodall.

Debbie Prodaniuk, Grande Prairie, Alta.


 
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