Life after a tragic death

Emma Teitel was bang-on in identifying the root of bullying as “discord and cruelty” in her article “Bullied to death” (Society, Oct. 29). Let’s start recognizing how deeply cruelty has invaded our society. Our mass media positively revel in cruelty and mockery: look no further than supermarket tabloids or other gossip-peddlers. Our society seems to fully accept that celebrities and public figures are fair targets of our scorn and ridicule because they have put themselves out there in the spotlight, but it is only a small step from there to then believe that anyone active online, including a 15-year old girl, deserves the same treatment because they once posted a video, photo, or comment.

Scott Mitchell, Orangeville, Ont.

The story of Amanda Todd is entirely heartbreaking, and I can’t begin to imagine what her family is going through. That being said, she is not the only teenager to be picked on and then commit suicide. Why do we all have to focus on the tragic loss of one girl? Please, someone explain to us, so then maybe all the other families can understand why the deaths of their children just don’t seem to be important enough for the world to know about, but one girl becomes a martyr for bullying victims around the world. Also, where were all of these people who are mourning her now when she was being tortured then?

Andrew Nisbet, Brampton, Ont.

I’m now a teacher, but I was once bullied and was a bully too. I actually cried when I watched Amanda Todd’s video, and reading some of the comments posted after made me sick; YouTube’s editors couldn’t catch all the bad ones before they were posted. Technology has created a great disconnect; it is instant but distant. Before email, you had time to cool off if you wanted to say something. Now it is easy to sit behind a keypad and type, especially teenagers, who have very poor impulse control. I wish I could have reached out to Amanda and said to her that times do get better, and what matters now to you won’t matter in a short period of time.

Andrew Schroeder, Hamilton

In three unrelated articles there is a common message. Malala Yousafzai is gunned down by the Taliban for speaking out and for promoting education for girls (“We are all Malala,” Newsmakers, Oct. 29). Gloria Jean Taylor (The End, Oct. 29), while still in elementary school was teased and bullied, but she learned how to stick up for herself and went on to be a lifelong activist. Amanda Todd needed help; she became too depressed to continue with her struggle against her cyberbullies. We all owe them thanks for fighting against the bullies and standing up for what is right. Politicians and more legislation won’t make the bullies go away. Each one of us individually must help one another to act or to speak up for what we believe is right and as parents we must help and support our children to do the same.

Gord Binnington, Kingston, Ont.

The oil is running out

“Awash in oil” (International, Oct. 22) suggests peak oil is a fad and that there is nothing to worry about because U.S. production has increased by 27 per cent since 2008. But world oil discoveries peaked in the mid-1960s, and every decade since has produced fewer new discoveries. In 2008, the International Energy Agency (IEA) asked how long current and known (but not yet producing) fields would last applying current depletion parameters. The startling revelation was that we are already past peak for cheap and easy conventional oil. To suggest we are “awash with oil” is not only absurd, it lulls people into a sense of complacency.

Martin Charlton, Ottawa

You claim that Hubbert’s law has failed for every other non-renewable resource, yet Newfoundland’s cod fisheries and many forests throughout the world were extracted to the point of collapse. In the same way that humanity moved on from wood and coal as our primary sources of power once better ones became available, oil will become an afterthought only when it becomes more expensive than the alternatives.

Thomas Awad, Montreal

Keep politics private

The article outlining the technology political parties use to track us was both enlightening and disturbing (“Elect Big Brother,” National, Oct. 22). However, the most disturbing statement was where Carleton University professor and former Reform party pollster André Turcotte said, “The idea of Pierre Poutine, it was funny.” There is absolutely nothing funny about the dirty tricks used in the robocall campaign to usurp Canadian voters’ rights and skew democracy. Only a Conservative supporter would find humour in deceit and cheating Canadians out of a free and fair election.

Rob Nairne, Oyama, B.C.

I am tired of our government thinking it can outsmart its people. Enough of these dirty election tactics. No more attack ads, no more scandals, no more data mining, and no more empty promises. We need honest politicians.

Caeden Mills, Innisfil, Ont.


In the article “This is how the light gets in” (Music, Oct. 29), Leonard Cohen’s age was incorrectly reported. He was 32 in the summer of 1967.