Take ac­tion now to pre­vent fu­ture at­tacks

Toronto Star - - TORONTO STAR -

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

GREG PERRY FOR THE TORONTO STAR

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