SCOTT Hilliard's letter (Letters, 12/8) argues that it is the increase in the number of states allowing citizens to carry concealed guns "from 13 to over 40" that has led to a decrease in violent crime from 10 per 100,000 in the 1990s, to 4.5 per 100,000 today. Violent crime in the U.S. has been in long-term decline, with an upturn in the 1970s and 1980s followed by a reversion to the long-term trend. A small increase in the early 1990s bucked that overall trend. The decline then resumed for the rest of the 1990s and beyond. It is a logical fallacy to suggest that correlation is causation; just because two events occur simultaneously doesn't mean that there is a causal link. More states permitting the carrying of concealed guns occurring at the same time as the decrease doesn't mean that this was the cause of the reduction in violent crime.
Steven D. Levitt, a U.S. academic, has identified a number of reasons for this decline (increase in police numbers, injection of $30 billion for crime prevention by the Clinton administration in 1994, changing demographics, rising income, tougher gun control and even an increase in immigration which has served to mediate the "gun culture" so prevalent in the U.S.). Significantly, Levitt fails to identify the increased concealed carry laws as a reason.
If we were to accept Mr Hillard's assertion that concealed guns would prevent violent crime then it follows that Justine Diamond, who was killed illegally by a police officer in Minneapolis, would have survived had she had a concealed gun to protect herself. This is patently ridiculous. Relying on spurious linking of events in order to create a cause and effect argument in my opinion places one in danger of disappearing up the fundament of one's own logical pretensions.
Barney Langford, Whitebridge
BUILDING TROUBLE WITH DA
I HAVE recently been through a very frustrating and depressing experience regarding development approval for a property adjacent to mine, with the council showing complete disregard for my objections, and lack of consultation or response.
In 2017 we were notified of three-storey townhouses seeking approval to go next door. I objected to this development for multiple reasons including over-development of the block, major overshadowing, and apparent contravention of the solar access and setback requirements. The council did not acknowledge our objection and the proposal was approved by staff without any consultation. The documents relating to our objections, are all missing from the council website. In October 2018 we received a notification that the approval was being modified. This was the first time we were told the original plans had been approved. I wrote to the supervisor of the officer who approved it, and to the council's chief executive and received no response. I requested a meeting with the lord mayor and chief executive and was refused.
I eventually had a meeting with a planner in the middle of May, which did not address any of our concerns. We were told that they were sorry we were not appropriately consulted and given an apology for the bulkiness of the development, shadowing and loss of amenity.
I have written to the Office of Local Government and the Ombudsman and haven't received any helpful responses. We believe a significant injustice has occurred here and it looks like we can do nothing about it. Bring on the next elections.
Sophie Tanchev, Merewether
BE BETTER THAN DOG ACT
A RECENT visit to see our daughter and two grandchildren at Fern Bay seaside showed how totally irresponsible some dog owners are. We took the kids to a newly constructed park and barbecue area at the end of Seaside Boulevard. It is a fantastic area with a large walking path with many fitness machines to stop and work on.
In the centre is a very large grassed area for people to run, kick a ball or just play. It was not built as a dog off-leash area, yet many people use it as one.
We saw dozens of dog droppings everywhere on the grass. I'm sure these owners don't have kids who come up to them and say look at my shoes. I believe it is only a matter of time until someone is bitten. Come on, do the right thing and pick up their droppings please. Maybe some visits from the council rangers will help.
Phil Grainger, Lemon Tree Passage
IT'S BUREACRACY GONE BAD
REGULAR readers of the Herald will be aware that I have not been backward in coming forward to target the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Just in case any thought that I was being a little hard on them, stand by for the latest episode of madness.
In 1998 I was retired from the RAAF as permanently incapacitated. In 1999, as a consequence of my ill health, due to a permanent heart problem, Department of Veterans' Affairs provided me with household assistance for gardening and heavy cleaning. I have had continuous approval for household assistance for the 20 years in question. Even though I am now 73 years old and the department is well aware my illness is permanent and untreatable, each year the department insists that I obtain a doctor's note to confirm that I am still unwell. Not being satisfied with a doctor's note, they send an occupational therapist to ensure that I am not cheating the system.
The taxpayer is footing the bill for this bureaucracy gone rogue. However, I would repeat that I do not blame the foot soldiers in the department; it is their leaders who in my opinion are to blame. The proverb that rules are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools springs to mind.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
EARLY LEARNING IS KEY
A SYDNEY council has reluctantly removed a sign from a public park requesting people to show consideration for nearby residents and not make excessive noise (ABC 8/8). Who hasn't been in a restaurant, waiting room or shopping centre when an ankle-biter or two have run amok, screaming loudly and thinking it's okay because their parent or guardian jokes along?
It's also often noticed their parents and associates are also loud, especially in a restaurant after a few drinks. So who needs training, the parent or child?
Early childhood training to respect others is usually part of learning good manners, but when some parents say their child is just being normal, I believe it can often, later in life, deliver confrontations that can create a bad character. I expect a response from those who will say let children be children but the simplest early childhood lessons like respecting others, giving your bus seat to the elderly and addressing adults as Mr or Mrs will earn respect for oneself through the travels of life.