Volume 94, Issue 49

Friday, November 24, 2000


OPINIONS

Letters to the Editor

Public transportation, etiquette and you - An introduction to the bus rider's code

Letters to the Editor



Prof says poor kill more than rich


Re: Facts on spousal killings questioned, Nov. 10.

To the Editor:

I was very disappointed to see that Sarah Helppi, a student of philosophy and co-ordinator of the Violence Prevention Program at Western has amateurishly attempted to refute my statement that "the majority of spousal killings occur in the lower socioeconomic classes." This statement is indeed based on my own research on spousal killings, as well as on a careful review of the criminological literature on criminal homicides.

In my Ontario sample of spouse killers, at least 82 per cent of the male offenders could be classified as semi-skilled, or unskilled workers and only 6 percent as professionals.

My recent study on spousal homicides in Greece also shows that 79 per cent of spouse killers and 88 percent of the victims came form the working class categories of "skilled," "semi-skilled," and "unskilled" and farming. Thus my data supports the findings of other researchers indicating that the rates of homicides including spousal killings are considerably higher among groups from lower socioeconomic classes.

Studies, however, do not suggest that people from the middle and upper classes (as measured by years of schooling completed and occupation) do not commit spousal homicides or injurious assaults. They suggest that their rates are lower than those of lower socioeconomic classes.

Sarah Helppi ought to know that being a co-ordinator of the Violence Prevention Program does not make one an expert in spousal homicides. I suggest that she make an effort to review and analyze criminological literature carefully, or take my sociology 266A (Criminology) course next September to enlighten herself about the subject.

This way, she can find out that I do give serious consideration to scientific facts rather than to conclusions, like her own, based on bias, ignorance and mistaken interpretation.

Dr. Peter D. Chimbos
Professor of Sociology




Tanning, boozing and diet Coke as bad as smoking


Re: Challenge for smokers, Nov. 14.

To the Editor:

This is a response to the letter in which the author wrote that he was "truly staggered" by smokers' apathy towards future consequences of smoking.

I'm going to respond with a few questions: Do you go tanning? Do you drink diet pop? Do you drink a lot of alcohol?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions or any similar ones, then you understand EXACTLY why smokers don't think about the future consequences.

You're either going to be getting skin cancer from tanning, or liver damage from alcohol binging, or some other cancer from all that aspartame in your diet Cokes.

I'm speaking as a non-smoker – a non-smoker who goes tanning, drinks diet Coke and drinks way too much alcohol. So before you become "truly staggered" by other people's "extreme shortsightedness," take a hard look in the mirror to determine if you can justifiably judge them.

Fern Karsh
Honours Economics II




Disgruntled student switches phone companies


To the Editor:

I admit it. I was a happy Bell Canada long distance telephone subscriber. If anyone said that Bell was a bunch of money-grubbing cash cows, I would be quick to defend it. I liked the fact I could call my parents, my girlfriend or any place in Canada during the evenings and that I need not worry because I'd only be charged $20.

Today I discontinued my loyalty to Ma Bell and switched over to Sprint Canada.

Why would such a loyal customer switch over?

What was a slap in the face for me was when they recently changed their First Rate Plan from unlimited long-distance evening and weekends for $20 a month and adjusted it so there is now a cap of 800 minutes. If you go beyond that time you'll be charged 10 cents a minute.

While I can understand why they changed the plan, since servicing long distance is very expensive, what is unreasonable is that many subscribers weren't informed of this by even a letter, including myself. Many people were charged 10 cents a minute for calls they thought were covered under the unlimited plan.

Some students share their phone line and because discovered that their bill was $10, maybe $100 more than what they thought it would be. With more and more people using the internet as a means of long distance communication and several companies still offering evening and weekend unlimited long-distance telephone service, Bell Canada cannot afford to treat us like garbage as if they were a monopoly.

They have lost themselves a customer and hopefully many more will follow.

Brad Bruzzese
Computer Science III




Green candidate reaches out to his Western folks


Re: Green pariah at all-candidates meeting, Nov. 17.

To the Editor:

As the Green Party candidate for London North Centre in the upcoming federal election, I regret not having been invited to the USC all-candidates meeting. But I do not think that there is any reason to start pointing fingers or laying blame.

It is unfortunate, but Canada's outdated "first past the post" electoral process often marginalizes nascent political movements. For fear of vote splitting, Canadians are often bullied into choosing a "lesser evil" on their ballot and not the party that most truly stands for what they want in their representation.

This consequence rings especially true for the Green Party, which for reasons as much moral as they are practical, will never be run with the benefits of big money.

Sadly, the Greens can not and will not compete with expensive advertising campaigns, plentitudes of signs or full colour pamphlets. Of course, you will see Green lawn signs, but these are leftovers from previous elections. Note that Green Party signs are reusable – they do not sport the names of candidates to ensure they can be used again and again.

The sad truth is that small parties in Canada often find themselves working against a system that caters best to large parties. The only way around this is for the Greens to grow. Fortunately, this is happening. In Canada, we are now the fifth largest political party and all over the world Greens are having successes.

Managing 2.7 million votes was a small feat for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, himself having been excluded from debates. In Germany, the Greens form part of the coalition government.

To be fair, it must be pointed out that the USC is not the only organization that hosted all-candidates meetings without inviting all parties.

I make no apologies for not being on top of every little detail. I do not have a staff. I do not have a budget. And I do not have the comfortable situation of having my morals represented by one of the major political parties.

I'm running Green because I believe it is the only party with a comprehensive plan geared towards sustaining Canada for the future, not short term economic gains.

Although unfortunate, it is no great loss that the Greens were not invited to one or two all-candidates meetings. We have been invited to most of them and we are well on our way to a bright, responsible, sustainable future.

If students feel that they are at a loss of not having had the opportunity to hear answers and ideas from the Greens, I invite them to contact me at jmcnaught@tao.ca or 473-4355.

Jeremy McNaughton
Green Party candidate for London North Centre




Writer urges reader to vote carefully


To the Editor:

With the federal election only a few days away, there are a few issues I would like to raise. Democracy is, in theory, about people's participation.

It is also about the type of society people want to have.

Despite the narrow focus of many of the parties, there are a significant number of issues worth considering. The results of this election do not merely mean you may or may not get a few hundred dollars in tax cuts.

The prioritization of tax cuts is indicative of an individualistic trend in the minds of some Canadians. I ask that we move beyond such self-centredness.

The results of this election may or may not seriously affect us personally. Most Western students will still manage to drink at The Ceeps, shop at the Gap and stand in line at Tim Horton's every morning, regardless of which party wins. But there are many Canadians, at this university and elsewhere, who would be adversely affected by certain proposed policies – aboriginals, gays, lesbians, the homeless and the poor to name but a few. Not to mention the implications for the environment and the countries assisted by Canadian development projects.

So please, when voting, consider the complex nature of Canadian society and politics and the international community to which we belong.

Be critical of political rhetoric.

Thoroughly analyse the multi-faceted implications of the platforms. Consider the importance of concepts such as community, collectivity and compassion. Think about others.

Kendra Coulter
Scholar's Electives III





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