Take action now to prevent future attacks
Re The day Yonge St. became a war zone, April 28 When the present grieving is over, it would be a crime if we did not act to prevent future vehicle attacks.
The opportunity is here and now, as we continue to develop autonomous vehicles. Since we can already buy cars that sense obstacles and lane departures, it is a small step to sense sidewalk or bicycle lane encroachment and, instead of merely beeping a warning to the driver, immediately limiting vehicle speed to, say, 2 or 3 km/h — sufficient for lane access and parking but slow enough to preclude the kind of mayhem we have seen. Since rented vehicles are the first choice of perpetrators, rental fleets should be the first to be equipped.
Further refinements could be the addition of sensors to disable a vehicle in the presence of common explosives and a remote disabling function accessible to police officers. Features like this may prove a nuisance to some but that is a trifle compared to the many killed and wounded in recent years. Paul Collier, Toronto Re Local health services serve crucial role, Letters, April 27 I hope official attention will be given to prevention of at least some of these attacks. We can never stop all, and no amount of bollards and planters will ever end them either.
This letter published Friday from two York University professors revealed that (accused killer) Alex Minassian’s mother had written to her local paper to lament the defunding of Helpmate, a social service that connected people with counselling services and volunteer opportunities.
The letter said Helpmate required only $75,000 to stay alive, described by a politician as “peanuts,” which it is, but funding was nonetheless cut in 2009.
Just as we’ll never stop terrorist acts, we’ll never be able to save every person from disaffection, despair and violence. But we could be doing a lot better job.
The enormous financial costs of this tragedy are surely outweighed only by the enormous emotional costs. Douglas Buck, Toronto