Checking In: Listener Response

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Dangerous drones and dangerous bikers. Our listeners' thoughts on stories of the week. Plus, why people who have been sexually assaulted don't file a complaint. And a fundraising campaign to remove the body of a suspected terrorist is over-subscribed.



Anthony Germain, our Friday host, joined Anna Maria from St. John's to help us catch-up with your feedback.

Raising Cubby: On Tuesday, we spoke with John Elder Robison. He was almost 40 years old when he realized he had Asperger's Syndrome. Later he discovered his son, Cubby, had the same diagnosis. John shared stories about their unconventional family life ... filled with adventure ... explosives ... and a scary brush with the law.

Many listeners connected with the story. Craig Wilson from Orangeville, Ontario writes:

Too often we see someone with a "condition" portrayed as someone who is disabled, or less capable. Your interview certainly demonstrated that this is not at all the case, and that it does allow people to excel.

Randy Nowlan from Toronto had a different take. He writes:

I am 59 and have Asperger's. It is a good thing that John Robison did not receive his diagnosis until he was 40. It may have made his childhood hell, for which I sympathize, but it gave him 40 years in which to grow. Now he is asking all of us to take a much broader look at "normal." Seems fair. Kids just want to have fun. So do adults.

Kurc Buzdegan took something else from the interview. He posted this on Facebook:

Mr. Robison mentioned a scenario where a non verbal person with Asperger's might be approached by a police officer and not provide what that officer would deem an appropriate response. As a father of a son with Down syndrome, situations such as this are always a concern. I hope that those who are hired to represent society's interests, especially those members of society most vulnerable, use that power of authority with the utmost of respect for everyone's welfare. But the more I hear of the abuse of that same authority, the more I fear that without adequate oversight our adult children with intellectual challenges can no longer depend on the instruction to "find a policeman if you are in trouble."

Dirty Wars: On Monday, we talked to Jeremy Scahill about his book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield and upcoming documentary on the secret operations to hunt down, capture or kill people the White House considers enemies of the United States.

That interview really got listeners fired up. Jude Kirkham from Vancouver writes this:

I fear I must concur with Mr. Scahill's assessment of president Obama's performance. It has been dire in both an absolute and comparative sense. The huge increase in drone strikes has been a boon to extremists in every corner of the world. The domestic atmosphere is poisonous and the culture of secrecy is, astonishingly, even worse than the Bush administration. The bar has been lowered for what constitutes appropriate government behavior and raising it again shall take many, many years.

T.J. Shurland from Mississauga, Ontario had a different take. He writes:

I think Jeremy Scahill has by his very argument of Obama continuing the Bush anti terrorism/dirty war agenda, identified two deeply embedded neurosis located within the Western social psyche: the need to lay blame and the romantic notion that elected officials, (especially the president of the U.S.) can somehow remedy all that is wrong in the world.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Burial: The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, believed to be one of the two responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings is now in a Massachusetts funeral home owned by a man named Peter Stefan. The body is ready to be buried but no cemetery in the Boston area will accept it.

There's a growing push to have the body to return to Russia -- Tamerlan Tsarnaev birthplace. So far Russia has not been receptive. William Breault, is the chair of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, in Worcester, Massachusetts. He started fundraising this week to raise money to send the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev back to his native country. We reached William Breault in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Unrepentant: Yesterday, we brought you the story of Lorne Campbell, a member of Satan's Choice and Hell's Angels biker clubs for 46 years and talked about his violent past. This interview garnered a mixed reaction from listeners.

Garrett Smith tweeted this:

Many books have been written about biker criminals. Why is CBC giving this man a soapbox to brag upon?

Ron Rein posted this on Facebook:

I agree with the interviewer that this guy would be a good poster child for the federal government's "tough on crime" initiative. His unwillingness to be repentant or apologetic for his past lifestyle means that he is no better a person today, than the criminal scum he admits he once was. Did this guy actually have the nerve to insist, during the interview, that the Hells Angels are not a criminal organization?

Darlene Patterson from Deep River, Ontario wrote:

There must be much more to be learned from Lorne's honest picture of how be became a biker. What touched me most during your interview was Lorne's answer to the imprisonment question, when you asked what might have kept him out of prison: the police helping kids before they hit the streets and become criminals.

Baby Boxes: On to an update from a story we brought you last December about "Baby Boxes" -- safe, secure places, usually at hospitals or clinics, where a desperate parent can drop off a baby anonymously -- knowing the infant will be taken in and cared for.

The United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child called for a ban on the boxes -- saying abandoning children this way is a violation of mother and child rights.

At that time St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver was the only place in Canada with a so-called "Angel Cradle"... and with only one baby ever left in it's care. But today, despite concerns, a Catholic health-care provider called Alberta's Covenant Health, has opened baby boxes in two more hospitals: Grey Nuns Community Hospital and Misericordia Community Hospital. They are both in Edmonton.

Reporting Sexual Assault: Sexual assault and all that it involves - from why it happens to how police investigate have been covered regularly on this program.

A new Justice Canada survey of about 200 people who have been victims of sexual assault conducted by centres across Canada in 2009 shows that majority of people - children and adults - who have experienced sexual abuse did not file a complaint with the police. Instead two-thirds of men and women indicated they had no faith in the justice system.

To talk about the barriers to reporting sexual assault, we were joined by Farrah Khan, a violence against women counselor at the Barbara Schlifer Clinic in Toronto.

As always, join the discussion. Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Find us on Facebook or email us from our website. Or call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And if you missed anything on The Current you want to download, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins.

Last Word - John Clarke and Bryan Dawe

We talked today about austerity programs and whether one of the key rationales for government belt-tightening is seriously flawed. While the mechanics of international finance may be complex, the consequences of government austerity are quite easy to spot.

With that in mind, here are Australian comedians John Clarke and Bryan Dawe explaining the crisis -- and the Irish band, the Tractor Boys, furious with the results.


Other segments from today's show:

Sexual assault and the U.S. military

Is the case for austerity crumbling?

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