Letters have lost focus

Reader encourages other letter-writers to check their facts first

I am writing my last letter to the paper. I have been thinking of this for a long time and came to the conclusion that many people have lost sight of what this was meant for in my view. It seems that most of the time now the great majority of letters tend to tear down a person, their ideas, beliefs or viewpoints instead of using their beliefs, ideas or viewpoints. I must admit, though, that as I write this letter some of the recent editions seem to have stopped tearing down people and their ideas.

The last time I looked this was Canada and we are all entitled to have and voice our beliefs, viewpoints.

It seems that now all anyone wants to do is belittle a letter instead of voicing their beliefs and backing them up with facts. I am more interested in what the writer thinks instead of reading how wrong or incorrect a letter was, as I wish to make my own decisions.

But in saying this if you cite or quote a survey, study or person make sure the item you are using can be checked easily in the public forum.

As an example in December, a writer was commenting on a series of letters when he stated: “In 1996 a report was published out of Seattle, Wash. It showed that 80 per cent of individuals over 21 years old would have difficulties maintaining employment, or be unable to live independently.” I could not verify as there was no report named.

“In addition, 94 per cent received mental health diagnoses, 45 per cent demonstrated inappropriate sexual behavior, 43 per cent had disrupted school experience and 42 per cent had trouble with the law. The report also showed that if the diagnosis was made early in childhood and an appropriate environment provided, these consequences could be significantly mitigated.” There are too many percentages that do not add up and could not be verified.

“This report has often been ignored but never refuted. Subsequent research has confirmed the report’s conclusions.” No name, so I could not verify.

Then the person signs it with a lot of letters behind his name trying to impress everyone that what he says is true because he is well-educated. This is not the way to make your viewpoint known.

So finally, if you want to write in I will read your letter but to enjoy it, please just your viewpoint and points that can be verified.

Garry Haas

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