Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

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Weekly column: No matter the breed, dog attacks are inexcusable

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on July 7th.

The deadly dog attack that happened in Brocklehurst last week was by far the most commented-on news story in a long time. A witness said the victim had a seizure, which allegedly triggered an attack from the dog, resulting in the man’s death.

Never mind the breed debate, it was disconcerting to see too many people feeling sorry for the dog before they expressed the same for the human that was killed. Some were wondering whether the man did something to provoke the dog.

Weekly column: Being kind is always the better option

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday April 13, 2020.

Many years ago, I found this piece of driftwood – a plank just wide enough and long enough to write a short something on,  and that something was one of my favourite quotes by Dalai Lama and a principle I try to live by, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ We have moved that piece of driftwood from one home to another and during many kids’ squabble I pointed to it as a reminder that kindness can be done, anytime, anywhere. A reminder for all, young and old, that is.

Weekly column: No, we are not making too much of it

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, March 23, 2020.

The verbs du jour alternate between ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolating’, but in order to remove the negative connotations of the first, we are advised to call it ‘physical distancing’. Because we are, in many ways, closer than ever. Whatever you call it, please make sure you abide. Which brings me to the question that pops up a lot in social media circles: are we making too much of it?

Short answer: no.

Weekly column: Everyone must do their part to help flatten the curve

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday March 16, 2020.

It happened two days ago in a local store: the person in front of me bought $300 worth of hand sanitizer.

Here we are, increasingly engulfed by the reality that is the COVID-19 pandemic. It is happening and it’s getting closer. Some store shelves are empty – the mysterious case of toilet paper stockpiling is still ongoing, and the shortage of sanitizing products is troubling.

Weekly column: Personal responsibility can help prevent future tragedies

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday March 9, 2020.

On a fateful day in 2012, somewhere on Salt Spring Island, a set of bad decisions ended up changing many people’s lives for the worst and ending one. Calder McCormick and Ryan Plambeck, then 17 and 18 years old respectively, left a house party in an advanced state of intoxication due to alcohol and marijuana, got in a car that was not theirs and crashed shortly after.

McCormick survived but suffered brain trauma which left him unable to pursue further education or even ride a bicycle, while Ryan Plambeck died at the scene of the crash. He was behind the wheel but did not have a valid driver’s license. Heartbreaking and yet preventable.

Weekly column: We need driving laws that protect pedestrians first

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, February 17, 2020.

A while back I read a book that was as poignant as it was scary. It is called A deadly wandering: A tale of tragedy and redemption in the age of attention, by Matt Richtel (William Morrow, 2014). I mentioned it at the time because of the high volume of drivers busted driving and texting at the time. I am picking up the topic again because somehow the issue of distracted driving does not seem to go away. How could it? The people at the other end are doing their best to keep our attention hooked to the devices through whatever pings and screen traps necessary.

Weekly column: Nice hashtag, but are we going to keep talking about mental health?

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, February 3, 2020.

I have a hard time peeling myself away from the book I am reading to focus on this column. The book is called From the Ashes, and it is written by Jesse Thistle, presently an assistant professor of Metis Studies at York University in Toronto. The path that led him to where he is today though… OK, I will not spoil it for you. I am three quarters done and have shaken my head and winced more times than I could count since I started reading it. I had heard him sharing his story on the radio a couple of years ago while driving with my eldest to Harper Mountain. I wished then he’d write about it. He did.

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