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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is joined by Health Minister Adrian Dix as they provide the latest update about COVID-19 during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

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What happened in Nova Scotia

Re Behind Acts We Deem ‘Senseless’? Misogyny (April 27): We should follow the lead of many Latin American countries and criminalize gender-related killings of women and girls as femicide.

Catharine Fitton Toronto

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There has been significant work by medical experts and criminologists to understand the causal factors leading to mass murders. These can range from neuro-psychiatric disorders, to childhood abuse and neglect, to brain injury, along with various combinations thereof. As one can imagine, the subject is incredibly complex.

Among the continuum of experts providing further insight into this phenomenon, however, attributions to misogyny seem among the most scant.

Matt Kensington Halifax


Fixes for misogyny and male violence should involve, "at the most fundamental level, teaching.” Full stop. Even if gun laws are changed, many weapons will remain – including rocks, clubs, bones and tusks.

John Burrows Toronto


Re Montreal to Portapique (Letters, April 25): A letter writer appears to blame Stephen Harper’s Conservative government for the mass shooting in Nova Scotia because it did away with the long-gun registry. However, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals held a majority for four years and did not restore the registry. In blaming political parties for what they have done, they should also be blamed for what they failed to do.

In reality, the blame should belong with the shooter, not any government.

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Keith Campbell London, Ont.


Re In The Dark (April 25): Critics may too quickly second-guess the RCMP’s management of alerts surrounding the Nova Scotia mass shooting. Police in the United States are often quick to issue alerts – public-relations efforts that, I believe, foster fear. The result? The U.S. is a precarious country where thousands are shot yearly. Americans expect gun deaths. Canadians do not. I am grateful that we are not so habituated.

In Washington, I lived through pre-Sept. 11 alerts about Osama bin Laden; post-Sept. 11 terror alerts; anthrax alerts; sniper alerts; alerts everywhere, but I saw little evidence of effective policing. So let’s give our law enforcement a break. I find the RCMP have shown they value public safety – at the tragic expense of one of their own.

I still feel I have safety in Nova Scotia – where we cherish life and the Mounties got their man.

Brian Reid Granville Ferry, N.S.


The circumstances in Nova Scotia were unique in the world of mass shootings, covering two days and approximately 100 kilometres. As such, I believe it is unfair and unjustified to blame the RCMP for their failure to issue emergency alerts on the night of the first shots or even the next day. How was anyone to know the way events would unfold? And what is the right way to warn the public about someone posing as a police officer?

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In the aftermath of such tragedy, we should thank police for what they do for us, not blame them for what they could not possibly have foreseen.

Brenda Taylor Surrey, B.C.


Re Nova Scotia Gunman Must Be Named, But Keep The Focus On The Heroes And Victims (April 25): Public Editor Sylvia Stead did a masterful job assessing the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. She did not use his name even once, but it was clear about whom she was writing in making the point that a name should place a perpetrator in context and not beyond that.

Terms such as perpetrator or, to borrow from American television, “the unsub” should suffice.

Raymond Shred Nanaimo, B.C.


Research tells us many serial killers and mass shooters study what others have done, emulating their plans to gain notoriety. And a perpetrator will be named in the early stages of an event as first responders identify the person. These first responders go about their business daily encountering domestic dysfunction, which can expose them to dangerous behaviour that affects their safety.

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Consider this question: If we know that continually publishing the name of a shooter could endanger the safety of first responders, then would we continue to do it? The practice often does not assist in preventing further acts of violence and retraumatizes affected communities. I dedicate my counterargument to the victims of this Canadian disaster and the loved ones forever changed by it.

Robert Camozzi Oshawa, Ont.

Come together

Re Weekend TV: One New Dour Mystery and Every Canadian Performer Alive (April 25): If this was truly “stronger together," then where were the opera singers, chamber groups, instrumental soloists, conductors and dancers who have earned international celebrity for Canada? Who represented the emerging professionals, many of whom have been performing from their balconies, homes and studios without remuneration?

Together we would be stronger and the public would be better informed.

Ann Summers Dossena International Resource Centre for Performing Artists; Toronto


Re Nine Things We Noticed About Canada’s Star-studded Stronger Together Event (Online, April 27): One more thing: Rather than “King” Drake or the Prime Minister, we missed the opportunity to showcase our Governor-General.

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Julie Payette might have wrapped her non-partisan self in the flag to both begin and end what was an appeal to bond together as a country. The Governor-General is more than symbolic – she is the cornerstone of our legal system.

Frank Piddisi Toronto

And peace

Re The Harm Of Portraying COVID-19 As A ‘War’ (April 21): Contributor Bo Zheng outlines so clearly why military analogies are misguided in describing the onset of terminal illness. Framing these life passages as battles, where the strong fighters will “win,” implies those who die are somehow weak. This assumption is yet another burden for patients and families coping with disbelief, fear and disappearing hope.

Dr. Zheng’s essay is an eloquent call for understanding.

Margaret O’Brien Vancouver


I began my medicine career in the 1950s, trying to improve long-term care at a Montreal facility run by Anglican nuns. I am not religious, but I did appreciate the sense of peace when a patient died in the 30-bed ward. The nuns would open the bed-curtains and sing hymns of joy for the deceased.

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Why do we fear death? Perhaps, as Hamlet says, “Ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come.”

Ronald Bayne MD, FRCPS, emeritus professor of medicine, McMaster University; Victoria

There goes my hero

Re Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Three Dark Days: How B.C.'s Coronavirus Course Was Set Over 72 Vital Hours (April 25): Bonnie Henry saved lives. Maybe mine, maybe someone else’s – we will never know for sure whose or how many. She is a hero.

Jason Ellis Vancouver


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