Richard Wagamese's drunk driving charges caused by PTSD

As Richard Wagamese's wife, I was dismayed again to read yet another unresearched and vendetta-like article in the Daily News today, June 27 in you're We Say section.

As the wife and long-time partner of Richard, I, too, am affected by the endless reporting and often misreporting of Richard's impending sentencing as a result of his impaired charges.Iwonder if you ever consider that we are people just like you who make mistakes, accept the consequences and try to do better in our lives and also try to live with compassion for others.

Perhaps you and your news team could take the time to research sentencing circles and their origin. Perhaps you could learn a little about the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that Richard suffers from. Perhaps you could include in your articles the volunteer work and pro-bono key note speeches that Richard has provided to community organizationsfor the last several years in Kamloops. Perhaps you could mention that he provided CFJC with three years of unpaid weekly television spots.

Richard is ahuman being whosuffers from PTSD and his behaviour last year resulting in DUI (driving under the influence) charges is directly related to his illness. An illness developed in early childhood from abuse of many kinds. Abuse resulting from being the child of residential school survivors.

It is Richard's constitutional right as an aboriginal person in this countryto request a sentencing circle. This was developed by the government of Canada to address the special needs and circumstances of aboriginal people. But you already knew that right?

You ask, is such a hearing in the public interest? Public meaning multiple of persons. You probably weren't aware that aboriginal people weren't defined as "people" until the early 1960s. Have you ever been to a remote reserve and seen several families living in one house without safe drinking water?

How many residential school survivors have you spoken to in your vast research in undertaking to understand the history and consequences of being an aboriginal person in Canada; in Kamloops. Do you think the large population of aboriginal people in Kamloops are part of the "public"? This part of the "public" would indeed be interested. Or don't they count?

I have been with Richard for 8 1/2 years.Richard has beena sober, productive and loving individual for eight of those years. The remaining six months, during four different PTSD episodes he has behaved inappropriately as a direct result of his illness. I have watched and seen the illness andunderstand that it is no different and that compassion is required as in any serious, life-threatening illness.

Richard has pleaded guilty, as you know (and not "found" guilty as you reported in a previous article). He is taking the consequences as he should. I, too, am taking the consequences and will continue to stand by his side as he receives the treatment, healing and compassion that he deserves as a human being.

You end with "we must all face it when found in comparable circumstances."

You, my friends, have no comparable circumstances to compare yourselvesto.

We would really appreciate the opportunity to live our lives, heal within our family, continue with the unreported good work we do in the community and receive some compassion from your newspaper.

DEBRA POWELL

Kamloops

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