Gun lobby runs old arguments
Libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm, interviewed by Mike Seccombe (“The gun nuts in our parliament”, October 14-20) helpfully reiterates that mantra of the gun lobby: there are dangerous people, not dangerous guns. You just need to keep the guns out of the hands of people who are dangerous. Blithely stated as if we are somehow clever enough to identify those who will cause harm. Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s background gave no hint of his capacity to direct his lethal arsenal against an unwitting public. We are hopeless at predicting dangerousness, even when we know a great deal about a person. Philosophers, psychologists, neurologists and psychiatrists have long tussled with the problem of human aggression and its sometimes horrific expressions. How often is it felt to have been unforeseen? Whereas a gun’s firepower is easy to measure and access to that power can be controlled.
– Tim McDonald, Newcastle, NSW
Taking exception to Australia’s position
Your front-page article about David Leyonhjelm and gun laws repeats the mantra “Australian gun laws [were] generally considered the strongest in the world” at the time of their introduction. This contrasts with the ABC’s Saturday Extra, which held that at least one country, Japan, has had much stricter (and more effective) gun laws for a long time. Any internet search reveals a number of other countries are considered to have the “strongest gun laws”, and in many cases this is contrasted with the level of actual crime or gun violence. I wish journalists would think twice about any statement that asserts Australia is the world leader in any category, and do some research first. It is rarely the case that Australia, a country that is middle-sized, middle-power, and generally middling in most respects, is the world’s most exceptional in any category, except perhaps in our own belief in how top-ranking we are. But even then we are probably behind a few other countries in this level of belief – I would have to do further research to find out.
– Keith Duddy, West End, Qld
Entitled to a different view
Having finally found a newspaper whose content occasionally borders on professional journalism, I was disappointed to see the phrase “gun nuts” on the front page. Although I’m a supporter of gun control and would be unconcerned if all guns were outlawed, I also accept that responsible, sensible, law-abiding citizens are entitled to a different view. The likes of David Leyonhjelm are becoming increasingly popular because responsible citizens are heartily sick of being described as “nuts” simply for having an opinion with which others disagree.
– Clinton McKenzie, Lyneham, ACT
Japan sets example on guns
The excellent exposé on David Leyonhjelm’s inaccurate data on gun deaths should have revealed that Japan had six guns deaths in 2014 as opposed to 33,559 in the US. Leyonhjelm would be at odds to explain those statistics.
– Rob Park, Surrey Hills, Vic
Turn to Bible’s teaching on climate
Tony Abbott seems to be following in the footsteps of George Pell by seeing concern for the environment as a superstitious, secular and post-Christian phenomenon (Karen Middleton, “Abbott looks to Pell on energy policy”, October 14-20). Both should revisit the Old Testament Book of Job where they would find God’s relationship with the environment described in personal, intimate and parental metaphors. The parental imagery is both paternal and maternal. Pell and Abbott have lost the script.
– Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW
The goats are piling up
Let me see if I have this straight. On the one hand we have the notion of goats being sacrificed to appease volcanos and on the other we have the idea of taking sensible measures to mitigate further damage to the Earth’s systems to facilitate the wellbeing of future generations. Much the same really. Perhaps the only reason the goat thing went out of fashion is to do with the magnitude of the goats. Mr Abbott may yet find himself useful to the people of Australia.
– Neale Mulligan, Lake Innes, NSW
All renters need protection
As Martin McKenzie-Murray’s analysis incisively identifies, Australia’s housing affordability crisis has catapulted the parlous state of renters’ rights into the consciousness of voters (“Lease of life”, October 14-20). The entitlement of landlords to evict tenants without giving any reason has for decades relegated renters to second-class-citizen status, actively undermining every other right a tenant theoretically has. Decent landlords have nothing to fear from having to give just cause for the termination of a lease. Other states should follow Victoria’s example. Our communities will be better for it.
– Julia Murray, St Peters, NSW
Objectifying women in 2017 and beyond
While Blade Runner 2049 got mixed reviews, with Christos Tsiolkas finding it “absolutely beautiful and absolutely boring” (“Runner the mill”, October 7-13), nothing prepared me for this wet dream of Hugh Hefner proportions. This film’s sad glorification of unrealistically perfect, often nude, young female figures in the dystopian landscape highlights what women are still up against. And, as usual, only the main male characters are allowed to vary widely in age and appearance. With the brutality of domestic violence still subject to tokenism, there is a vicious attack by the (male) villain on a defenceless young naked woman. Harvey Weinstein might be out of a job, but his ethos is alive and well in Hollywood and beyond.
– Anne Ring, Coogee, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 21, 2017. Subscribe here.