THE massacre in New Zealand is horrifying. I suppose sociopaths with guns arise in our communities reacting to what they see and hear. For instance, what does the negative response to our refugees invoke?
It is bad enough to see material in News Ltd newspapers that is critical of Muslims, but I have got the impression that some churches promote a measure of anti-Muslim ideology and that is a very unhealthy move. Please try respect for our fellow citizens and students.
Carmel Noonan, Waratah
VIOLENCE BEGAN EARLIER
The vast majority of us are appalled at the callous Christchurch. As one commentator said, we are all brothers and sisters to those who suffered and share their grief and outrage.
Unfortunately, sympathy is selective when it comes to the media and our politicians. Where was the sympathy and outrage when US drones attacked a Muslim wedding party in Pakistan killing dozens of innocent people? Indeed, where was the sympathy and outrage when hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim men, women and children were wiped out by the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, backed by Australian military forces under direction of our politicians?
Incidentally, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq presented any threat to the USA or Australia. An individual such as the killing perpetrator in NZ is labelled a terrorist and rightly so. But if a state, such as the USA kills thousands of innocent civilians, that is not labelled a terrorist action but "collateral damage". Sympathy should not be selectively based on geography and who inflicts it.
Bevan Ramsden, Lambton
COWARDICE BEHIND HORROR
I THINK it's time to change how we describe low-lives and the despicable acts they carry out against innocent people ('Mosque massacre', Newcastle Herald 16/3). Let's call them for what they are.
They are not terrorists, they are cowards. They don't carry out "acts of terrorism" they carry out "acts of cowardice".
These degenerates get off on being called a terrorist. To them it is a badge of honour, so I call on all decent people and all branches of the media to stop giving these monsters a label they are proud of. We must start calling them what they really are: cowards.
Terry Crook, Cameron Park
WATCH FOR THE WHISTLERS
MY prediction is that Senator Fraser Anning's provocative comments on the Christchurch terrorist attacks are just the first by far-right politicians grasping for the racist vote in the lead-up to the federal election.
Abhorrent as his views are, there is a small but crucial, percentage of sympathy for his views in the Australian electorate which equates to votes to be won come May. The larger misfit parties will capitalise on the tragedy in a slightly more sophisticated manner but the dog whistle will effectively be heard by their base.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
IGNORANCE AN ADULT THEME
BRENDAN Curran (Letters 16/3) claims that politics is for the grown-ups. Over the last 25 years I have spent a lot of time at polling booths.
I have seen grown-ups arriving not knowing whether it was a federal, state or local government election. I have known grown-ups claiming they did not know there was an election on, despite the fact that several candidates had put information in their letter boxes. I have experienced grown-ups who did not know which electorate they were in or the name of a single candidate.
Can children do any worse than that?
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
THE PARK DESERVES BETTER
I AM writing regarding the Drop Festival which was held at King Edward Park on Saturday. How can the council allow such a beautiful historic park for this use?
There was little consultation with the community and I was only made aware of it by a local group I belong to despite living one block away.
Having walked past on Monday, I was disappointed to see garbage strewn all through Arcadia Park and surrounding streets. The park itself has seen once-green grassed areas become a muddy bog and has been closed all day whilst rubbish and detritus was collected, and it was closed nearly all last week for the set-up.
This beautiful park had its origins back in 1850s when Newcastle Chamber of Commerce lobbied the state government for land for a public recreation area. The city was granted, in 1856 in perpetuity, the 35 acres of land (49 acres was added in 1894) which became the first part of King Edward Park, described at the time as the most delightful and picturesque part of Newcastle.
This use is not conducive to the park's health and must be heartbreaking to the council's gardeners who work tirelessly to keep the park beautiful. Such a local treasure deserves better.
Rondahe Finn, The Hill
BIG MONTH IN THE BOOKS
MONDAY marked one month of public service for Newcastle's light rail.
Its passenger numbers are tracking well above expectations and it is a real buzz to witness the public enjoying their experience. It is wonderful to see mobility scooters seamlessly moving on and off the trams. Parents with prams are clearly finding it easier to move around the city.
As the light rail settles into normal service, it shouldn't be forgotten the breath of skill and determination of the men and women who built the 2.7 kilometres transport infrastructure. More than 3000 individuals worked on the project, most of them locals. 6000 metres of track were laid. Century old sewerage lines were replaced. 14,000 square metres of new CBD paving were laid. Six new pedestrian crossings are in place. 6000 square metres of the former corridor has been turned into community green space. Two road connections to the harbour have been added. All this was done in 12 months and on budget. Even as the scope evolved to include wire-free running for the trams, the first in Australia. When you're enjoying the ride in the months and years ahead, think of the teams from Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation, Transport for NSW, Keolis Downer and the dozens of contractors and tradies who made history.