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What will it take for the US to change its tune on sale of deadly assault rifles to teenagers?

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Crosses with the names of the shooting victims are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C Hong

Crosses with the names of the shooting victims are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C Hong

Crosses with the names of the shooting victims are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: AP Photo/Jae C Hong

Yet another heartbreaking, gun-related mass killing in the United States, yet more obfuscation by Second Amendment extremists.

Nicholas Kristof, writing in The New York Times this week, stated that more Americans have died from guns – includ- ing suicides, murders and accidents – than in all the wars in the United States’ history, going back to the American Revolution. One study found Americans age 15 to 19 are 82 times more likely to be shot dead than similarly aged teenagers in peer countries.

There are an estimated 400 million privately owned guns in the United States. The suspects in both the Texas and the Buffalo mass shootings were 18 years of age. In both New York and Texas, an 18-year-old can buy an AR-15-style rifle, but they cannot buy a beer.

Once again, I am reminded of the words of the late, great Bill Hicks: “There’s no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone, and you’d be a fool and a communist to make one.”

After a mass shooting in New Zealand in 2019, gun laws were tightened in that country within a month. What do we get in the United States? Thoughts and prayers.

There is no man as blind as he who will not see.

Rob Sadlier, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Humanitarian disaster, and the West stands by

While the world is focused on the war waged by Russia against Ukraine, Israel continues its onslaught against the Palestinian people almost unnoticed.

This month, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that approximately 1,000 people can be evicted from their homes in the West Bank so that the lands can be used by the Israeli military. Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO, described this as “the largest population transfer in the history of the occupation since the early 1970s”.

Palestinans are being thrown out of their Jerusalem homes on a daily basis and life in Gaza is horrendous due to the complete control Israel exercises over it. It is a humanitarian catastrophe, yet the West stands idly by.

It is time for the Irish Government to make a stand, to recognise the state of Palestine and put pressure on the EU to sanction Israel.

Of course, the real pressure could come from the US administration, which funds Israel militarily. The US rightly condemned the killing by Israel of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but Israel will ignore that and continue its campaign.

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If the US wanted this to stop and for Israel to cease and remove the illegal settlements (which continue unabated), it could stop funding the Israeli military.

However, the US lacks the willingness to do this. Palestinian lives just don’t matter.

Donough McGuinness, Bray, Co Wicklow

Mary is right, vilification aimed at nuns is unfair

Mary Kenny’s article (‘Have a heart, sisters – nuns are people and people are a mix of negative and positive’, Irish Independent, May 25) was very balanced regarding nuns’ connection with the National Maternity Hospital.

This was in contrast to the vilification these nuns received from various politicians and commentators during discussions of the ownership of the land in question. All nuns appeared to be painted with the same brush.

On a lighter note, the story goes that when a nun confessed to stealing (just once) a piece of black material, the priest warned her not to make a
habit of it.

Leo Gormley, Dundalk, Co Louth

How John B’s work gave me my moment to shine

Billy Keane’s brilliant piece about his father last Saturday (‘Even though Dad didn’t last the test of time, his work did’, Review, May 21) brought back memories of an exciting moment in my life after one of my amateur stage performances – many years ago I played the Hiker Lacey in John B’s The Year of the Hiker.

We travelled to Enniskillen to a drama festival. On the last night as the adjudicator read out the nominations for best actor, my heart stopped. The Hiker Lacey was among them. I didn’t win, but the nomination was enough.

A wonderful moment in my lifetime, and of course, what a wonderful character to play, beautifully written by Billy’s dad.

Brian McDevitt, Glenties, Co Donegal

There is an alternative to joining Nato alliance

Those letter-writers advocating greater Irish military expenditure and Nato membership fail to mention that the next logical step in their militaristic theses must be that Ireland should acquire and develop a nuclear arsenal.

Indeed, from their point of view, it is surprising they continue to advocate such a woeful waste of national resources by increasing our stock of conventional weapons of war – weapons that would be ineffective and a useless deterrent against attack by a nuclear-armed nation.

A cheaper option would be to not develop our own nationally controlled nuclear arsenal like the UK and France at all but to offer the US an Irish base – an option already taken up by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, where intercontinental nuclear armed missiles that are five to six times more destructive than those that annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 would be based.

The reason why Finland, Sweden and Ukraine want to join Nato is that they believe they are only safe from Russia when they are under the umbrella of a nuclear-armed Nato.

The issue of possessing our own nuclear weapons or living under their umbrella, owned and controlled by an outside country, is the elephant in the room that those advocating a more militaristic and aggressive Irish domestic and foreign policy fail to address.

Brendan Butler, Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Bank’s exit means the end of my credit card

Last Saturday’s Irish Independent contained a letter from me outlining my frustration at the four-week delay in opening a new account in Permanent TSB (‘How will banks cope with influx of new customers?’, May 21).

However, this week I received my new debit card, and a call to the bank activated my account. I spent one afternoon changing over regular transactions by contacting the relevant companies individually. I was able to do the majority of this online, except for Energia, my electricity supplier, but a quick phone call sorted this out.

Despite the delay in my account being opened I was quite happy with how smoothly things had worked out until the following day when Permanent TSB informed me they would not be issuing a credit card because I am not working at the moment. This despite the fact that I have had a credit card with Ulster Bank for over 20 years and it has always been paid off in full each month.

Sadly for me, the departure of Ulster Bank means an increase in bank charges and the loss of a credit card.

Tommy Roddy, Ballybane, Co Galway

A truly Fawlty strategy for handling crisis, Boris

“Don’t mention the war, I mentioned it a couple of times, but I think I got away with it.” It is more than four decades since those famous words were uttered by Basil Fawlty in BBC comedy Fawlty Towers.

In the aftermath of the Sue Gray report on Partygate, perhaps the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, might be tempted to do likewise in a desperate attempt to move on.

After all the Cummings and goings at No 10 in recent times, maybe he might consider following the script and hope to “get away with it”. Like Fawlty, he appears to be punch-drunk after all the hits he has taken in his efforts to put his troubles behind him.

However, there may be some Gray areas to be ironed out before he can raise a glass in victory.

The old saying in politics applies in this case: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Perhaps Boris, unlike Basil Fawlty, won’t be foolish enough to think that he has “got away with it”.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo


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