IoS letters, emails & online postings (28 April 2013)


It's not difficult to understand the people of Boston entering a state of terror when surrounded by heavily armed police dressed for war telling them to stay in their homes ("Fugitive shot dead was on FBI radar two years ago", 21 April). But the message that sends to terrorists, and potential terrorists, is that similar tactics could close down 10 or 20 major cities in the US.

Intelligence services that rely too much on modern technology leave themselves wide open. In its reaction to the Boston bombings, the US has demonstrated to the world how weak and frightened it is, rather than how strong. It has shown how quickly its security services and government are liable to panic. Little wonder people panic in their turn when they see how ineffective these agencies are against the most amateur bombers.

Europe has suffered far more terrorist attacks without locking down cities. In many countries of the Middle East, they are a daily occurrence. They don't lock down. Nor do the places Americans send drones to every day. They can't, even though they know who the people terrorising their neighbourhoods are. The US has to stop looking inwards all the time, at the same time as trying to exert so much power beyond its own shores.

Bryan Hemming

posted online

It may have been reassuring to people put into such a state of fear by the bombing that they accepted the shutting down of an entire city so that one 19-year-old could be pursued. But that lockdown actually delayed the apprehension of the suspect, discovered by a householder when the curfew was lifted.

The sight of thousands of Americans chanting "USA" on the streets of Boston after one arrest was made is one of the most bizarre images of recent years and demonstrates how fearfulness has been used so effectively that Americans are mindlessly scorning their freedoms in the vain belief that they can be protected.

Bernard Thompson

posted online

It's all very well suggesting longer jail sentences for motorists who kill or maim cyclists, but some of the responsibility rests with cyclists ("Call to curb cycle deaths", 21 April). How about making it illegal to sell a bike without lights? Then, cyclists, put the lights on. Don't sneak up between my car's nearside and the kerb. Don't veer off the footpath (where you should not be riding anyway) into the path of my car with nary a glance or a signal. And those red traffic lights apply to you, too.

Pamela Hibbert

Crowthorne, Berkshire

The energy of hate is nothing new, but it's a word so frequently used every day that for most people it's not even a strong thing to say any more (Katy Guest, 21 April). Sometimes we're indifferent or unhappy, but I doubt that there are many who truly hate. Real hatred leads to action, not antagonistic name-calling. If anything, society today is full of indecision and inaction.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Why is going to "Ryde Pier (the oldest in the world)" one of 10 "more unusual ones" which didn't make the cut of tourism chiefs' 101 things to see and do in England ("Curry, the O2 and Banksy – the very best of England", 21 April)? Piers have played an important part in our seaside resorts, and almost 200 years since the first opened in 1814, in Ryde, they are still significant tourist attractions today.

Tim Mickleburgh

Hon vice-president, National Piers Society

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Although the human race daily subjects unimaginable numbers of animals to lives of suffering and fearful deaths, The IoS seems to treat animal welfare as if it were beneath the notice of serious people. In your leading article about the political advertising ban (21 April), you sneeringly refer to animal campaigners as "cuddly". Like John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Einstein, Schweitzer, Lincoln and Gandhi?

Julie Harrison


It is not only the BBC that portrays historical inaccuracies in its costume dramas (D J Taylor, 21 April ). In Endeavour, the unhappily named Superintendent Bright is five foot nothing and bespectacled. When I was a PC in the Sixties, the minimum height was 5ft 9in and no officer was allowed to wear glasses.

Mike Baker

Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

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