Monday, January 09, 2006
This story is printed in today's Irving paper. Tim will be standing out front of the Legislature all day Wednesday.
If you wish to drop by and lay a flower in memory of a loved one who committed suicide because of these dreadful machines?
If you can't make it? Send the flowers to the Legislature on Wednesday!
This is the only memory of its kind in the whole province.
Anyone who wished to give Tim Smith a helping hand? He can be reach at 1-506-693-9464!
Here's the story!!!
NB Telegraph-Journal | Provincial News
As published on page A1 on January 9, 2006
Saint John man resumes VLT protest
Tim Smith marks frustrating anniversary of his hunger strike
By David Shipley
Tim Smith continues to fight his electric demons.
The 42-year-old video lottery terminal addict still battles the temptation to play the machines, even as he continues his crusade to help fellow addicts.
On Wednesday he'll return to the legislature to mark the anniversary of his first hunger strike and will continue to press for increased regulation of VLTs and aid for hardcore addicts.
He's convinced that if he can explain to ordinary middle-class people in the province how gambling addiction affects them, he'll get the support he needs to see changes in how the government manages video lottery terminals.
"As [addicts] become totally broke... they're a burden on society, they're a burden on the municipality, they are burden to themselves and everybody else around them," he said.
He used himself as an example.
"I was a very productive member of society. I had a car, so an insurance company was making money. I worked, so I was paying my taxes. I lived in an apartment, so obviously the owner was getting his money. We had to eat, so we were buying groceries. We had credit at five or six major stores," he said.
"Society was definitely benefiting from my $40,000 a year."
Mr. Smith has made it his mission to convince the provincial government to kick its own addiction.
Mr. Smith argues that the government has become so hooked on the revenues from VLTs that it has failed to see the damage they are doing to the community.
"They're addicted as the people themselves," he said, adding that the government exists to serve the people, not exploit them.
He speaks with passion and his fingers forcefully tap against the kitchen table in his tidy South End apartment as he talks about how his decade-long addiction ruined his life.
His addiction has cost him more than $100,000, but he still slips and has used the machines four times in the past year.
It's not the money that draws him in, he said, but rather an addiction to the game itself.
He turned 42 today, a birthday he didn't think he'd live to see. Thoughts of suicide once plagued him.
"I had contemplated just getting out of it so bad... why doesn't the public understand?" he asked.
It's his nine-year-old daughter who helps keep him going, said Mr. Smith.
"If it wasn't for her... she was basically my saviour," he said.
Last fall, after nine years of gambling, he saw a CBC special on video lottery terminals. It featured the suicides of several gambling addicts and seeing the show finally pushed him into action.
"I thought 'No way man... I'm not dying an unknown statistic," he said.
On Jan. 11, 2005, he took his fight to the public in a week-long hunger strike that ended with a meeting with four provincial cabinet ministers and a sign of hope for himself and for other addicts.
But a year later neither of two proposals he made has been adopted, he said.
"My perception was that they were going to take the proposals that we had discussed in that meeting and they were going to take two of them that everybody in all three parties agreed were very reasonable," said Mr. Smith.
The two proposals were limiting the hours the machines were turned on to between 4 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. and shutting them off on Sunday.
"If you shut them off for part of the day and you combine that with counselling, then you stand a little bit better chance to succeed," he said.
Neither of the proposals was implemented but he remains hopeful that will change.
"What I'd like to see in a year from now with the province of New Brunswick and video lottery machines is to have them cut back the time to give the people, the hardcore addicts, some space," he said, adding he also wants to see more counselling services available.
"I would like to see [the machines] shut off on Sunday out of respect for the many, many people who have lost their lives and have no name."
AND WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR
THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, WHO ARE
CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.
( ROMANS 8:28 *NIV )
We are all called to do something in this life sooner or
later! Perhaps your calling is that of a Doctor, Lawyer, or
Mother and Housekeeper. Whatever your calling may
be, if you truly love doing what you are doing, then you are
probably doing God's Will for your life right now. If not then
God probably hasn't called you yet.
Now it is important to remember that God works in all
things, not just in isolated incidents! However that does
not mean that all that happens to us is good, for evil is
prevalent in this World of ours today. This is because;
YOUR ENEMY THE DEVIL PROWLS AROUND LIKE A
ROARING LION LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR.
( 1 PETER 5:8 )
So; WHAT, THEN, SHALL WE SAY IN RESPONSE
TO THIS? IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST
US? (ROMANS 8:31) For it is written; RESIST THE
DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU! ( JAMES 4:7 )
So Charles, the next time the Devil, that old serpent,
tries to bother you tell him to take a hike! After all you are
a Child of God, and God has given satan this warning;
***DO NOT TOUCH MY ANOINTED ONES!***
( 1 CHRONICLES 16:22 ) So again I say; RESIST THE
DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU! Amen.
With My Love & Prayers,
your servant Allen
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