When the second amendment to the US constitution (the one about the right to bear arms ) was ratified in 1791, it was long before revolvers and automatic weapons were even thought of. The main danger then was being run over by stampeding buffaloes.
The present situation is beyond crazy and verges on the criminally insane.
Where else can organisations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) hold a society to ransom on the pretence that it is “a God-given right to purchase and carry arms”.
David Ryan, Co Meath
Again, it happens to innocent children. A few facts Americans should accept:
Nobody, apart from the military, should have assault rifles or get access to them at 18.
Most people don’t need a gun, and one will be enough to defend your home and family.
The NRA should be ashamed if it does not condemn this and support the removal of assault rifles from normal citizens.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
I agree fully with Frank Schnittger’s letter (‘Multiple reasons why neutral Ireland should not arm up’, Irish Independent, May 24).
His view that our neutrality and relative capability to attack others makes us more acceptable as a third-party peacekeeping force and development partner who is not using aid as a cover for a neo-colonial past.
We should heed the words of Mahatma Gandhi, which were recalled in the editorial of the Irish Independent on April 12.
He said that “the dead and homeless are indifferent whether they died at the hands of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy”.
If we were to join Nato, we would be condemning our youth to be cannon fodder as happened in World War I when we were led by John Redmond MP, who believed that if we joined the British Army it would lead to Home Rule.
There is a book by Michael MacDonagh that is a call to arms, written in 1916 and with a 14-page cringe-inducing introduction by Redmond.
He quotes General James Patrick Mahon, who led the 10th Irish Division at Suvla Bay. Mahon, in one of his statements from the deck of a ship in the bay, said of his troops: “What they all desired was to get in close grips with the Turks. How they hungered for the wild exultation of the bayonet charge and the shock of man to man in the deadly encounter.”
Another cringe-maker was the latter, when he said: “The empire can do with a heap more ‘freshies’ [a name for recruits] of the Irish brand. Their landing was the greatest thing you will ever read in books.”
Redmond’s final statement reads as follows: “Those brave sons in the field need not fear for the honour they have won for their country.”
The last thing we need is a current politician coming out with a similar appeal.
Hugh Duffy, Cleggan, Co Galway
I have just read the article by Shane Phelan and Joe Barrett (‘Group hits out at judge ‘sick’ of requests for interpreters’, Irish Independent, May 24) regarding Judge Miriam Walsh’s comments during a court case for a drunk and disorderly person who was being held to account for requesting an interpreter.
The judge, in my opinion, rightly claimed the man had lived in Ireland for five years – quite some time for someone to learn English, which in most town community centres is free to learn.
The judge pointed out that the man was clearly able to buy drink and sign on for social welfare, and therefore had some inkling of English.
In my view, when anyone comes here to live or stay for a time, they should at least learn English as one needs to communicate. I think the judge has just said what a lot of others were afraid to.
Colette Collins, Friars Hill, Wicklow
I welcomed seeing your front-page headline, ‘€1,000-per-month lifeline to keep local post offices open’ (Irish Independent, May 23).
It wasn’t that long ago it seemed government/ An Post policy was to close every post office that offered a hint of commerce or public service obligation. I wonder are we now copping on to the fact local services in urban and rural villages serve the community and the planet better.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18