Visit city's strugglers too
I am perturbed to read in the Chronicle (August 1) that Whanganui is being visited by Dame Patsy Reddy, who is to officially invest Tariana Turia in her New Year Honour as a Dame, partly because of her work around the current status of the Whanganui River, which I personally have strong feelings about, but that is for another letter.
I note that Dame Patsy will, among other engagements, be visiting the Glass Works, as well as Pacific Helmets and the Volunteer Knitting Group at Gonville Library. It is clear to me that these are all positive aspects of what is happening here.
It's a shame that her visit, and others like her that grace our town, don't take the time to visit the local WINZ office and struggling food banks, where they will get a sense of the growing population who are struggling to make ends meet.
I doubt such visits are likely to occur anytime soon, for fear that such visiting dignitaries will choke on their $500 lunches.
Medicating the water
In reply to Elwyn Evans (Chronicle 27) - fluoride is a neurotoxin. As a drug that affects the nervous system, one cannot treat the idea of mass fluoridation in a nonchalant fashion.
All drugs we take are poisons. Some of these poisons are more potent than others, hence the need for a prescription. If we overdose on drugs we can expect some severe consequences, hence there is a recommended dose on the packet.
But with fluoride, no one cares how much you take or how it will interfere with what prescription drugs you are already taking or how it will affect you neurologically, especially in the long-term.
Today we have so many more cases of auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer's, autism etc. How does Elwyn Evans know that the "donkey's years of fluoridation" have not contributed to the uprise?
Remember, it is not only in the water one drinks, it is also in all food cooked with water or with water added to it.
For those who like to swim, fluoride and chlorine directly enter the body; for those who like to bathe or shower, the skin's pores are even more able to absorb water as the hot water opens up the pores. So there is no way of knowing how much fluoride is absorbed.
Water is essential for life and it is our human right to be able to have clean, pure water. No one should be able to dictate and force mass medication.
For those who are concerned about tooth decay and think fluoride is the easy cure all, let them medicate themselves and their families by taking freely-available fluoride tablets.
Hate speech labels
Recent correspondents, and your guest editorial writer Simon Wilson, are correct that our right to free speech is most important when we have something to say that some may deem offensive.
In order to think, to investigate truth, to take part in almost any intellectual endeavour, we need to risk being offensive.There is practically nothing of any importance that you can say that would not offend someone. The silliness of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's statement that "all views that divide rather than unite are repugnant" is that his statement itself was divisive.
Those seeking to stop anyone from expressing opinions they don't like have brought to the fore some major weapons in recent times.
The first of these is labelling, claiming the people trying to speak are something terrible as a justification for not allowing them to do so. In Simon Wilson's column he describes Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneax as "white supremacists", which gets the expected response from all who don't know that it is false.
John Archer makes the false claim that US President Donald Trump is a "fascist" to try to paint Ms Southern and Mr Molyneax with the same brush.
The second is related to the first, the use of false information and half-truths to misrepresent the person.
The third is the threat of violence against the speakers, their audience, and any property.
When the threat is not enough they tend to carry it out, blocking venues, attacking people, smashing and setting fire to buildings, vehicles and anything else they can. This is not only to stop the speaker from talking, but to add to the threat for the next occasion.
John Archer refers to this in his letter, but blames the speakers rather than those who threaten and carry out the violence.
It is very easy to label and misrepresent normal comments you don't like as "hate speech", but the hate comes from the labellers far more than from the speakers.
K A Benefell