WE all possess a deadly weapon. Our brain.
A brain does not need guns to cause mayhem if it snaps or is driven to madness.
Banning gun ownership and censorship of what we can share on social media is not the solution.
Telling us we face 14 years in jail for sharing a genuine news item is clearly out of proportion to the situations where most people might do this.
We should not be intimidated or frightened into surrendering yet more of our rights to a war on terror in which we have little say.
Critical thinking and statistics tell us we have little to fear from the direct effects of terrorism.
There is a difference between sensible precaution and fear-driven acceptance of censorship and other loss of hard-won rights.
We should all be aware that after we gave up many of our freedoms and rights after 9/11, all the problems this was supposed to solve got worse. Let's not make the same mistake here.
Perhaps we have more to fear from yet more mistakes by our politicians than we do from the appalling actions of a rare individual whose brain we don't yet understand.
Re the housing crisis this country is experiencing:
I have every sympathy with the plight of many citizens being unable to rent a home of their own (for various reasons it would seem).
However, those of us fortunate enough to buy their home also have problems; it is certainly not all "beer and skittles". The costs associated with home ownership just keep on increasing, especially as the home and the owner keep on ageing.
Power bills keep increasing (warmth being an essential to keep both the home and its owner in good condition). The rates are in the same category.
There is house insurance, contents insurance — now both suddenly an extra concern as various companies decide whether they will insure one at all, or if they do at what cost? There is the maintenance of the home and the garden. If one is no longer able to do this oneself, there is the cost of a handyperson on a regular basis to keep things up to standard.
If one is lucky enough to have saved any money, this gradually disappears over time as well.
Those living solely on government super find the cost of emergencies, eg, going to the doctor or the dentist (even worse and so important for general good health) plus of course the cost of food, etc.
All in all, life can be very difficult for many people, and no one seems to have an answer.
Abuse by clergy
Over the years, cases of priestly abuse of minors and vulnerable people have become known, along with examples of mishandling, or worse, of such cases. Catholic faithful, priests and some in the hierarchy have waited for, asked for, and even demanded, proper action to deal with the situation and the offenders, and to support the victims. Generally they have been disappointed.
So, should Catholics welcome the conviction of Cardinal George Pell in Australia? Should they join with Barry Soper in calling the Cardinal a "paedophile" and say he is responsible for "monumental damage done to the church"?
As the details of the trial become known Mr Soper's words appear less than accurate, and the faith we are supposed to be able to have in the justice of a jury trial takes another hit.
In fact the details are quite disturbing. When a single person makes an accusation of "historical abuse" without any evidence to support their accusation, and the accused denies the accusation, it becomes simply a "one said, the other said" situation which should never lead to a criminal conviction (but often does). But when there is witness after witness showing that the accusation is unlikely or simply couldn't have happened, how does a jury find the accused guilty? Clearly the appeal of this case will be interesting, and the rush to judgment that began long before the trial or the accusations were even made public is premature.
Meanwhile, Catholics and the general public are still waiting for substantive action from those in authority in the church instead of the platitudes we have all heard before.
K A BENFELL
I enjoyed reading about the success of City College Military Academy in today's [Thursday, March 21] paper.
Great to see the students undertaking activities such as self-discipline, self-respect and life skills education, which augurs well for the future development of these young people.
Unfortunately, in my view, the positive messages were tainted by reference to the programme being encouraged by "the former All Blacks enforcer", rather than by "the former All Blacks great and inspirational captain Buck Shelford". I would prefer to be guided and encouraged by the latter.