Childish behaviour doesn’t help the Ajax debate

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

The Kamloops community is in the midst of a challenging debate over the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine.

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

Naturally, issues like these form a divide. There are those for the project, those against and a neutral group that hasn’t picked a side.

This past week, the debate brought two events to campus: an open house by KGHM Ajax, and a rally by the Kamloops Area Preservation Association, opponents of the mine.

I covered both of these events and heard valid concerns and opinions from both sides. Concerns were voiced about the environment and health, as well as concerns about the economy and people who are trying to feed their families.

However, among what was mainly civil discourse in which community members expressed their opinions, there was also some unfortunate radical behaviour that overshadowed everyone’s reasonable and logical arguments.

The best way to win a debate is to provide a logical argument in the hopes that others will understand things from your point of view, and to then try and negotiate a solution.

If you want to lose a debate, you should behave in a childish manner and yell and stomp your feet to get attention. And that won’t be positive attention.

I witnessed childish behaviour from both parties at the rally.

The trades students who showed up at the rally in a hummer decked out in “I Support Ajax” stickers made fools of themselves by causing a scene and putting the focus on their childish behaviour and their expensive, gas guzzling Hummer that can easily be argued represents greed and gluttony.

I heard one or two people on the pro-Ajax side shouting valid points about the economy and jobs while the rest simply heckled the anti-Ajax crowd.

I saw people who do not support Ajax with young children holding signs with statements they are too young to understand. Don’t use your children as a tool for shock-value in this debate. It’s fair to want to protect them from environmental or health impacts, but don’t force their hand on an issue they can’t yet comprehend.

I’ve also read so much childish arguing, name-calling and insult-throwing behaviour online. It makes me want to smack the commenters’ heads together.

This week taught me to look at things from both sides, but it also showed me a lot of unfortunate and foolish behaviour that made me question the logic of those both for and against the mine.

This debate will make no progress if we can’t learn how to respect each other’s opinions and concerns.