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Gates outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa following a walk from Parliament Hill in memory of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Gates outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa following a walk from Parliament Hill in memory of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

What readers think

April 23: Cause, versus root causes – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Terror, by the roots

There is a big difference between looking for the cause of a terrorist act and looking for its “root” causes (Government’s Sudden Need To Debate Terror Bill Smacks Of Opportunism – online editorial, April 22). This language merely adds to the ideology of victimhood that can cause such acts.

Boris DeWiel, Vancouver

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I fail to understand why The Globe insists on deriding the search for “root causes” in horrific acts. If we fail to understand why something happened, or we can’t be bothered to look, how can we ever prevent a similar occurrence in the future?

Jay Ross, Winnipeg

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Doug Saunders’s analysis of our response to “acts of terror” suggests that the most recent response to the Boston Marathon bombings was yet another example of a “decisive action and casts a net far wider and more severe than the criminal or political threat necessitates” (The Trouble With Terror – Focus, April 20). He refers to our historical efforts to fill the “void” as a sort of naive reaction to find resolution and lay blame when these types of atrocities happen.

If I can dare to speak on behalf of those in Boston who died, those who are maimed, those who helped and rescued, first responders, police, military and those who saw, heard or simply witnessed from afar, I would ask: What is the alternative?

Dean Perry, Antigonish, N.S.

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Y-a-y camp!

Leadership Camp? (Life &Arts – April 22) makes me like Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau even more. It also brings up an important issue: Traditional summer camps are declining at a time when kids and young adults need them more than ever.

As my friend Nick (yes, a fellow counsellor) so aptly put it: Camp was gender-fair, diverse and provided time away from technology. Every kid was celebrated for who they were, not what they had. It brought out compassion, co-operation and leadership in kids. I’m proud to have been a camp counsellor.

Sue Comeau Stender, Halifax

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Violence, perspective

With all the histrionics over the Boston Marathon bombings, let’s remember that, in the few months since the Newtown massacre, there have been at least 3,500 gun killings in the U.S. (The Futility Of Mr. Obama’s Crusade – April 22). And still – incredibly, during last week’s hysteria – the U.S. Senate rejected sensible gun control measures.

Violence is violence, no matter where it comes from or who commits it. We have to keep things in perspective.

Andrew van Velzen, Toronto

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While newspapers have had images of the bombings plastered on their front pages for the past week, Syrian airstrikes resulting in the deaths of at least 25 people, including children, received little press. In fact, my Twitter feed revealed more concern for the condition of basketball player Kevin Ware’s leg than any of the men, women and children killed or maimed in Syria.

Although a certain degree of leniency may be allowed for the obvious shock of such horrific violence in the heart of America, there should be no such thing as a subjective view upon the loss of a human life.

Nicole Fitzgerald, Mississauga

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And, not or

Re Obama Set To Okay Pipeline (April 22): The greenhouse-gas poll presented a false choice between energy security and reducing greenhouse gases. We can have energy security and a reduction in greenhouse gases if we tax carbon emissions and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, so alternative energy technologies can develop and compete on an even playing field.

Mary McCollam, Kingston

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Margaret Wente is right to say environmental problems require a more pragmatic response; she is wrong to say “McKibbenists” are being defeated at every turn. Bill McKibben would be the first to say that it is a grassroots effort, not his. I witnessed a thousand young Canadians in Ottawa make that point at PowerShift 2012 in October, and the number continues to grow.

I just returned from Charleston, W. Va., where I spoke to the coal mining industry about ethics and sustainability. The Appalachian Research Initiative on Environmental Science (ARIES) sponsored the conference. It was a tough crowd, but they listened.

Keystone XL has been made into a symbol that polarizes the debate into winners and losers. Instead, we need more discussion about the real issues we all will face, very soon, and what can be done at a local level.

Peter Denton, Winnipeg, author, Gift Ecology: Reimagining a Sustainable World

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Stolen children

Spouses steal from one another every day: money, children, the best years of their lives (Robbery That Ends In Impunity – editorial, April 20). Parents steal from children, too: security, happiness, birthrights. The difference between a parent who abuses a child until she leaves her childhood home, broken, and a parent who abducts a child and keeps her from another (deserving) parent until adulthood is, to me, too fine a distinction to make.

But there is no doubt in my mind that our society would be better served by helping the now-grown child come to terms with what she’s lost than by incarcerating the parent. Dollar for dollar, so much more could be gained.

Catherine G. Leatherdale, London, Ont.

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As a family-law lawyer, I commend The Globe for emphasizing that child abduction is a real crime, one that is not treated seriously enough.

When criminal court judges lean over backward to minimize punishment of those parents who abduct children in violation of court orders and judicial decisions, the family court system is being demeaned. Family court judges who decide with great care what custody arrangements are in “the best interests of the child,” an underlying principle of our family law, are being undermined, and the parent who loses access is being denied justice.

Alienation from either parent scars children for life. Child abduction is a real crime that should have real consequences.

Andrew Feldstein, Markham, Ont.

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Virtual vs. verity

Re Tame That Tune (Arts, April 20): The use of Auto-Tune by today’s pop artists is not to be disparaged by music lovers (with apologies to Jay Z’s D.O.A. video). Auto-Tune’s prevalence mirrors the preference of the public for virtual perfection in, as last week’s events show, an imperfect world. Auto-Tune’s growth in popularity on pop radio parallels that of online dating, where virtual is preferred to verity. If Auto-Tune has any purpose, it’s to make genuine artists, like k.d. lang and Daniel Lanois, more valued.

Sean M. Kennedy, Oakville, Ont.

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