Rothenburger: Comments in wake of fire not called for

Mel Rothenburger Editor / Kamloops Daily News
February 21, 2012 01:00 AM

The capacity for meanness is shocking some days.

Some people are mean unintentionally, as with an offhand remark that isn't intended the way it's taken. Others react to a situation by hitting back with words based on ignorance or misunderstanding. Some attempt sarcasm and fail abjectly at it, instead being merely hurtful.

Still others work hard at their meanness.

Some of the comments made in the wake of last weekend's grease fire can likely be explained by any of the above but they are, nonetheless, mean.

Travis Nolt is 27 years old. Last November, he briefly put his name forward in nomination for the mayoral race. He withdrew from that and briefly stood for nomination as a school trustee.

He's a nice young man. Whenever I've run into him he's always friendly and talkative. And he's learning disabled.

Travis was one of the people in the duplex unit that was destroyed by fire. His picture was in The Daily News with a story about the fire Monday. The fire started when fries were being made on the stove.

After going through the stress of having to get out of the building before the fire consumed it, losing possessions and his pet hamsters, all one website reader could think of to say was that he looked like he shouldn't eat so many fries.

Others, who lived adjacent to the unit that caught fire, are angry because nobody came to warn them of the fire. Their concern is understandable but the tone of many of their comments isn't.

Some who weren't involved at all have weighed in with supposedly sage and knowing comments about whether those with disabilities should be allowed to cook or even be allowed to live on their own.

Those who were in the home when the fire broke out are supervised by Community Living B.C., which has been in the news a lot lately over provincial funding cuts. Cuts or not, my impression has been that CLBC works hard, and works well, to look after its clients.

Sometimes it's best to say nothing.

IVAN McLELLAND, it turns out, is well-remembered around here and elsewhere. I wrote about the legendary Penticton Vees goalie and heard back from some of his fans.

"The Penticton Vees. Who in Oliver didn't sit around the radio listening to the games," wrote Sheila. "The Warwick brothers were our heroes. You knew if someone crossed one brother there would soon be a pile-up with the other two brothers coming to the rescue. After I grew up and lived in other places I was surprised that not many folks remembered them. I still am. Thank you for remembering. Say hello to Ivan. It wasn't just boys who loved the game the Vees were our first celebrity heart throbs."

Another fan pleaded, "Can I tag along (to coffee with Ivan)? Please!!!! I'll be good, I promise."

The Penticton Herald got in touch Monday asking for the OK to run the column about Ivan and our story about the Penticton Vees hat.

And Tom from Chase tells me he drove the Greyhound bus that took Ivan from Vancouver to Penticton when the Canucks sent him to the Vees. They got talking, Tom phoned ahead to his wife from a stop in Princeton, and took Ivan home for dinner that night when they got to Penticton.

"He was a super, super person," Tom says.

mrothenburger@kamloopsnews.ca


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