A mother’s confession
From Jodie Edwards’s gut-wrenching account of the day her 11-month-old died from hyperthermia after she forgot her in the car seat on a hot day (Interview, July 29), to her search for clinical answers to how it could happen, I felt nothing but compassion for the woman. It seems all too easy for us to join the ranks of judgmental parents, but really, how can any of us judge this human being? She speaks with clarity and purpose and wants to save other parents from “a life of pain and devastation.” Doing this interview showed depth of character and selflessness and I thank her for taking a personal tragedy public in order to save lives.
Suzanne Wonnacott, Calgary
I burst into tears reading the story of Jodie Edwards and her heartbreaking human error. I applaud Maclean’s for trying to provide intelligent insight into the unfathomable phenomenon of children left in cars on hot days. You had me up until Edwards’s final, ironic comment: “I always make sure to put something I need in the back seat.” She did put something she desperately needed in the back seat.
Cynthia Sawyer, Calgary
How could you print such a self-serving interview? In Toronto, in a period of six weeks, two toddlers were left to roast to death—and negligent parents are to be pitied? They “just took their eyes off their children for a minute.” Really? It took a lot longer than that for their kids to die. Edwards is a “private person” from the U.S. whom Maclean’s gave two whole pages to explain herself. I loved the part about her possible brain tumour. More interesting would have been an examination of how she got away without being charged.
Patricia Starr, Toronto
Deaths by drugs
Just one week before actor Cory Monteith’s death (“ ‘Let’s dream big,’ ” National, July 29), I lost my 21-year-old son to a heroin overdose. He, too, had recently completed rehab and, just the day before, we had a lovely outing and he told me how happy he was. We have always been honest and open about our son’s addiction and, indeed, he wanted people to know his story, which began with a 12-year-old boy being given free drugs by a dealer and ended years later with his death. Despite his best efforts, through four rehab programs and the support of his family, he could not overcome the addiction. My hope is that Monteith’s death will allow us to talk more openly about addiction, what it is to be an addict and how, as a society, we can battle this insidious disease that continues to take the lives of wonderful young people such as Cory and my son.
Louise Briggs, Toronto
A tale of two mayors
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel may come across as grumpy at times (“Edmonton’s worst enemy,” Opinion, July 22), but that is because of his passion for our city. He is a popular and beloved mayor. He has been elected three times with overwhelming majorities. He has spearheaded many important initiatives, including a new downtown arena that will keep the Oilers hockey team here for many years and revitalize our downtown core. He gives many hours to charity and works tirelessly to ensure we get our share of federal and provincial funding. Edmonton may not have as many university graduates as Calgary, but we do have one of the lowest unemployment rates of any major Canadian city. We have amazing summer festivals, sports, recreation and culture. But it is the people who make it great.
Richard Mack, Edmonton
So 5,000 of the more than 630,000 residents of Scarborough, Ont., went to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s “Ford Fest” (“Politics in the park,” National, July 22); many of them there, no doubt, for the free beer and burgers. Most of the rest of us had better things to do. To suggest that Ford is the mayor with whom we’d most like to have a beer is an inaccurate, sweeping statement. Frankly, re-electing him as mayor is far too high a price to pay for subways or anything else. Not all of Scarborough thinks he’s king of the city, not even those who went for free beer and burgers. And not all Scarborough residents want an exorbitantly expensive subway extension, but instead believe the money would be better spent on more extensive light-rail transit.
Veronica White, Scarborough, Ont.
How Gregory Matters died
In the “good news” column (“Seeking the hard truth,” This Week, July 22) you mentioned that the family of Gregory Matters “wants to know how an unarmed man was shot dead on his own property.” The investigational report released on April 29 by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. states that, at the time of the shooting, police were attempting to lawfully arrest Matters and had made prolonged attempts to negotiate a peaceful surrender; they had even contacted his psychiatrist to find out how to de-escalate him. A Taser was deployed, as Matters, armed with a hatchet and acting erratically, began moving toward the police officers. The Taser was unsuccessful, Matters raised the hatchet up and, as he moved toward the police officer, he was fatally shot.
Candace Cramer, Vancouver
Your story on daycares correctly zeroed in on financial necessity as the reason many parents must seek that option when they would sooner be “home with the kids” (“A bare minimum of care,” National, July 29). But it would have been useful if you had identified the high cost of housing in many Canadian cities as the reason that young parents are worse off financially than the previous generation. Instead of lecturing Canadians on their high debt levels, our political leaders should be limiting foreign ownership and dealing with other factors driving up housing costs—in many cases, two times what they are in comparable U.S. cities.
Ronald McCaig, Port Alberni, B.C.
The true cost of cruising
As a person who prefers to vacation in the backcountry with three canoes and five companions, the idea of vacationing on water with more than 3,000 people is incomprehensible to me (“Troubled waters,” Business, July 29). It is unfortunate that Chris Sorensen did not look beyond the accidents and health and safety problems involving cruise lines to include some information on the carbon footprint of cruise ships. Knowledge of the high fuel emissions, large amounts of solid waste generated and what cruise ships do with their untreated wastewater beyond the five-kilometre no-dumping zone should make anyone reconsider booking his or her next—or first—cruise. These trips may be inexpensive and “stress-free” for the passengers, but the environment may soon be unable to absorb all the stresses added to it by these floating cities.
Gwendolyn Dekker, Sarnia, Ont.
Fear and killing in Florida
Some people maintain that the “stand your ground” principle was not used in the George Zimmerman trial, while others say it was (“What happens when a country lives in fear,” From the Editors, July 29). If it was used, it would seem to give Trayvon Martin the greater justification for the use of force, seeing as he was the one being tracked by a stranger on a dark and rainy night for no reason apparent to Martin. But if it wasn’t factored in, then Zimmerman was more at fault, because he should have run or first used means to escape danger other than lethal force. The message of the final verdict is: If you suspect anyone of being up to no good, even where there exists no evidence other than your own imagination, you may stalk and kill him with impunity because the stalked person’s own sense of imminent danger and right to self-protection does not count.
Chuck Boyd, Halifax
So much of Barbara Amiel’s column (“Zimmerman wasn’t guilty. Others are,” Opinion, July 29) is spot-on, and sadly so. But to suggest that George Zimmerman bore any similarity to a policeman chasing a bank robber is wrong. Trayvon Martin was a young man going to visit friends. Let’s try a different scenario: A stalker follows his prey, a white journalist, who turns on him. She is afraid, but he is more afraid—so he kills her. So he has the legal right to defend himself, even if he is the instigator? Martin was barely out of childhood and must have been terrified beyond belief. It was unjustifiable murder. Zimmerman is guilty.
Rochelle Hatton, Sudbury, Ont.
No job for a party animal
Is Emma Teitel (“Hire that party animal,” Opinion, July 29) suggesting that we elect more Rob Fords—or Anthony Weiners, for that matter—because of their gregariousness and extroversion? I do not concur. Do not hire that party animal.
John Gatsis, Toronto