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Mass shootings: A shooting: tears, talk but nothing changes

Why does anyone need military class weapons?

How ironic that with all of Donald Trump’s scaremongering and racist ravings, the biggest threat to the Americans he vows to protect seem to be white, male, home-grown crackpots who can walk into gun shops and buy military class weapons. Has anyone in that country ever convincingly explained why guns of that class need to be in the hands of civilians? Do they shoot ducks with those things?

John Morton, Bendigo

You never know who you might ‘argue’ with

My husband I took a tour of the canyons and national parks of America in 1998. It was our first trip to the United States. We met a lovely couple, Phyllis and Jim, from Boston, who warned us: “Do not pick an argument with anyone as they are likely to shoot you.” That was our welcome to the US.

Carol Wilson, Wantirna South

How many deaths are needed to force the US to act?

How can a civilised country like the United States allow tens of thousands of citizens, including women and children, to be murdered by guns and do nothing about it? The politicians who support the National Rifle Association are a disgrace.

Peter Hogan, Fitzroy North

Howard and Ardern showed what can be done

Faced with mass shootings, prime ministers John Howard and Jacinda Ardern showed remarkable leadership by taking prompt and decisive action to restrict and manage gun ownership.

In contrast, Donald Trump’s weak response to these tragedies has been pathetic. As his recent behaviour has shown him to be hateful, racist and a champion of white supremacy with a propensity to lie, how can his new condemnation of these shootings be taken seriously? Instead of recognising guns as a serious national problem, his feeble excuses are that video games, the internet and mental illness are to blame. Trump always puts himself before the national interest, so it is likely that his inaction is because he is scared of upsetting his “base” or major donor – the National Rifle Association.

Peter Rutherford, Hamlyn Heights

It is offensive to call these killers ‘shooters’

Who decided to call deranged gunmen “shooters”? In this example of political correctness gone mad, those using the term have grouped them with those who legitimately use firearms for sport or for their work. In doing so, they have actually downgraded their horrific actions.

Alex Judd, Blackburn North

Please, spare us the details of mass shootings

The mass shootings in the US are not our problem. They are that country’s problem and its weak laws. According to CBS News, this year there has been more than one mass shooting a day. They are a regular occurrence. The Australian media know it is news fodder. The US has passed the point of no return when it comes to gun controls. Please spare us pain by not reporting these mass shootings.

Ian Baker, Castlemaine

THE FORUM

Why hitting back is wrong

Jeff McCormack says that when he was bullied, his father gave him boxing lessons and told him to “either fight properly or stay away from the crazy kids who like a fight”. He adds: “The problem was solved” (Letters, 6/8). However, the evidence is that one of the best ways to reduce bullying behaviour is to teach young people social and emotional competencies (anger management, conflict resolution, problem solving). Encouraging them to hit back increases the likelihood that they will be labelled bullies and sends a message that violence is a legitimate solution.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, psychologist, Balwyn

More than just the bikes

Cyclists are rightly wary of Sydney Road (The Age, 5/8), which has always been heavily used by tram and motor transport, but they have a valid alternative: the parallel Upfield bike path, which could be dramatically improved with a fraction of the funding required for a Sydney Road makeover.

Why did the Greens not survey residents who rely on their cars for a whole range of reasons and who would otherwise face social isolation or employment restriction? Or pedestrians such as myself, who are more likely to be threatened by cyclists than by car drivers? Or tram and bus users?

Local residents, who will have to deal with cars “rat running” through their streets should Sydney Road be severely restricted, should also be consulted. And clearly local businesses will suffer if cars can never park in this major road. The Greens need to be reminded it is not all about the bike.

Pauline Charleston Brunswick West

Be seen, be safe, cyclists

I am a northern suburbs cyclist, and I regularly also drive and take public transport into the city, but I almost never see cyclists wearing fluoro clothing, or using proper bike lights. Most riders dress in dark colours, and they are very hard to see, especially at night. Flouro yellow is not fashionable, but it is highly visible, and vastly improves safety for riders on this very busy road. It is a bit rich for cyclists to call for safer infrastructure when they cannot even dress with their safety in mind.

Anne Richardson, Hadfield

Fun of ‘frothing’ readers

One of the joys of Amanda Vanstone’s columns, apart from the (mostly) good sense she makes, is anticipating the torrent of outrage, both confected and otherwise, they generate. Her latest effort – “Wrong people running the show” (Comment, 5/8) – is sure to get Phil from Eltham and Mike from Brunswick, and just about everyone from Northcote and Castlemaine, frothing over their keyboards.

This piece was a delightful short, sharp jab to the ribs of a party desperately trying to find a way forward since losing the “unlosable” election. And, of course, if a side-effect is to cause an outbreak of spluttering indignation from its supporters, well then so much the better.

Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully

Fair’s fair, Ms Vanstone

I would love to see another article by Amanda Vanstone under the same heading but this time addressing the culture in the Liberal Party and the way it has dealt with allegations of sexual assault within its own membership.

Walter Valles, Clayton South

Many dodging dealings

If it were not so serious, I would laugh at Anthony Albanese’s creative use of language (The Age, 5/8). He says he has not seen any evidence of “direct corruption”, whatever that is. One definition of “corruption” is “perversion of integrity”. I have been observing the politics in local safe Labor seats and Labor-dominated local councils for some years. I see a complex system of patronage, with people accessing positions of power or influence because of their associations, not necessarily because they are the best qualified or most suitable candidate. Furthermore, isn’t it a bit dodgy that post-Parliament, so many pollies go on to very well paid positions working with companies, or on boards, related to their former portfolio? I despair for my nation.

Indra Liepins, Glenroy

Let’s use electric cars …

It is good to hear that the federal government is seeking to secure our fuel supplies in a deal with the US (The Age, 5/8). Only how will the fuel get here when there are no Australian-owned and crewed tankers? Why aren’t we diversifying our energy mix by promoting electric vehicles?

David Robertson, Wheatsheaf

… and try wind and solar

The government is doing deals to get oil from the enormous US fuel store as we have only petrol and crude oil to last 28 days. Australia is a solar energy paradise capable of powering transport, heating and cooling, and industry.

If harnessed wisely, wind and solar will make us an energy superpower without being dependent on the US or the Middle East or south-east Asian oil producers, and without contributing to the climate crisis. We can store this energy in batteries, pumped hydro or hydrogen. Unfortunately, complex deals may include joining the US in military action in the Straits of Hormuz.

John Merory, Ivanhoe East

Act now, Minister Wynne

Planning Minister Richard Wynne, I am disgusted that the heritage home in Elsternwick was demolished by developers (The Age, 3/8) while you sat idly by. Please do not tell Melburnians it is up to councils. Their short-term, vested interest-riddled representatives will always choose short-term dollars over integrity.

Our beautiful old homes need to be preserved. They give Melbourne its character and are a haven for trees and greenery. The continuous replacement of these gracious homes with developments bereft of vegetation is bad for the environment. What will they be replaced with? Dodgy-looking, austere townhouses clad with combustible cladding? Most new developments in the inner and older suburbs are ugly, poorly built and have bedrooms you can barely turn around in. Step in, Mr Wynne, and preserve Melbourne’s heart and soul.

Mary Howe, Bentleigh

Preserve peaceful haven

It is time the ugly, unsafe jetty in the centre of Victoria Harbour at Docklands was removed, as was agreed last year. The waterway must be opened up for the vista and for the development of a lively boating place. The silly talk of bringing more activity and glitz to Docklands is not what we want. It is a peaceful haven in the city and the very reason we love it here.

We are horrified by Richard Wynne changing the two-storey limit on buildings along Victoria Harbour by the library. These towers should never be built. Not all land has to be sold off and built on. A wise team of people should be given the power of decision-making rather than one person. The walkway along the water from Newquay Promenade to Ron Barassi Snr Park should also be opened up.

Dianne Wood, Docklands

Fairness, not greed

I own a Victorian-era home with an individual heritage overlay retrospectively placed on it 23years after it was bought. I hope that when I need to sell it, the community financially prizes it at market value. Any owner of a listed house outside heritage precinct streetscapes such as Albert Park, Carlton and so on can relate to the barriers that heritage overlays place on a fair sales outcome. This factor is huge in causing them to oppose council heritage activity. If the public want our history preserved, are they willing to contribute to a heritage levy and a formula being devised for some compensation to heritage-listed owners?

Diana Yallop, Surrey Hills

Towards low alcohol

Using other countries to compare beer taxes (The Age, 3/8) is misleading. Overseas governments have set beer taxes at a low rate because they are trying to move their population to lower-alcohol products. These governments have found the excessive consumption of hard liquor and wine is a burden on their society, with all the ramifications.

In fact, our early colonial government encouraged the change from then favourite tipple rum to beer. They saw it as a beneficial change from the problems associated with rum. Other countries now see vodka, ouzo, whiskey, Bourbon and wine as high-alcohol problem drinks. Solution: reduce tax on beer.

Alan Johnson, Surrey Hills

Firm ‘no’ to Trump’s visit

Why would we want a visit from a billionaire property developer and TV personality who just wants to come here to play golf, and who makes racist remarks about refugees, is a gun supporter and has demonstrated little respect for women, all of which are the opposite of Australia’s respected cultural values?

Why would we want to get involved in the conflict between Iran and Washington by providing scarce Australian military assets to “protect shipping”? If our government agreed to the US request, it would make the case that Australia has a direct stake in escalating tensions just as it did following our involvement in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. What is the exit strategy when things, inevitably, go pear-shaped? Why would we want a visit from a person whose administration wants to put nuclear weapons on Australian soil?

Graeme Wishart, East Geelong

Teague for Blues’ success

As a fully paid Carlton member for the past 19 years, some of the board’s decisions have almost sent me over the edge – notably the appointment of Denis Pagan, followed by the disgraceful sacking of Brett Rattan and the appointment of Mick Malthouse.

The club now has an opportunity to move forward by appointing caretaker coach David Teague. By all accounts the players love him and their performance over the last several weeks is testament to his influence and their ability to enjoy playing and experience winning.

It would be a disaster if the board again appointed a “big name” to take us to the next grand final. Please, Blues’ members and supporters, get behind Teague, turn up for the remaining games, call the club and express your opinion.

Joan Goldinger, Maidstone

AND ANOTHER THING

Politics

Trophy room of a high roller : elephant, lion and a snarling wombat.

Ralph Frank, Malvern East

Why have both sides of Parliament gone quiet on the casino?

John Patterson, Williamstown

Brexiteers’ high-handedness is almost breathtaking. It’s Britain that’s divorcing the EU, not the other way around.

Tony Adami, Caulfield South

What’s more important to our security: a few refugees arriving by boat or that we have less than a month’s supply of fuel?

Kyle Matheson, Mont Albert

It won’t take much to torpedo ScoMo’s plan to ship oil from the US. Just one torpedo, in fact.

Mark Kennedy, Sebastopol

The United States

Let me guess: the US will withhold oil supply to Australia unless we join it in another illegal invasion.

John Ashton, Healesville

Melania is “desperate” to visit Australia. What other reason do we need for a presidential visit? Oh, that’s right, golf.

Greg Bardin, Altona North

Melania should have enough in her piggy bank to pay for her own trip and security. I bet our PM falls for it and we all pay for it.

Elaine Hurst, Ocean Grove

Our greedy electorate voted for more money in their back pockets, not US missiles in Darwin or a visit from a hate monger.

Ian Millar, Mordialloc

The NRA is the devil.

Terry Kelly, Fitzroy North

Sport

Steve Smith buried Australian ghosts at the Edgbaston graveyard. Roll on Lord’s.

Jonathan Lipshut, Elwood

Once an ad has been screened 1000 times, it should be replaced. Ads shown during the cricket would be replaced every few days.

Rod Smyrk, Sunbury

Thank goodness someone found a bit of sauce for the Pies.

Beryl Helme, North Fitzroy

*Sign up to editor Alex Lavelle’s exclusive weekly newsletter at: www.theage.com.au\editornote.

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