Some states in America have legalised the use of cannabis for personal use ('New Jersey votes to legalise marijuana for personal use’, 4 November). Going further, one state has legalised cocaine and other hard drugs for personal use ('Oregon votes to decriminalise heroin, cocaine, meth and other hard drugs’, 4 November).
What folly! This will only reduce the number of people in prison and those with drug-related criminal records. It will do nothing for the evil, terrible consequences of drug addiction that plagues the world.
As I understand it, it is now legal to grow, obtain and use these drugs but I am unsure if it is legal to sell them. For this to work, the state has to be responsible for the sale of drugs, thereby also being responsible for the effects of the drugs – crime and death included.
Hopefully there will be accompanying legislation that offers drug reduction education and support. Health services for users ought to be included in the legislation, as clean needles and health checks are essential to maintain the wellbeing of the user.
No matter how this decision is dressed-up, it will not alleviate the trauma that families and society endure due to drug use. This is a retrograde step in the fight against our society becoming even more reliant on stimulants and “recreational” drugs. We already have enough problems with tobacco and alcohol and now recreational drugs have been added to the mix. The police force and social workers will not thank the legislators, or those who voted to relax the laws, in the future.
I am sure there are families in those states that have relaxed the laws who are horrified at the thought of their children and loved ones legally harming themselves. With all the other problems that America has, it doesn’t need this problem as well.
Protect our bus drivers
The total number of male bus drivers killed by coronavirus is up to 30.
It does worry me that there still seems to be ignorance regarding coronavirus from passengers and management. Bus services in Sheffield should go contactless, with no cash allowed, and the gaps between the ticket machine and the plastic screen on the drivers cab should be filled in.
If you are a passenger like me just wear your mask. It's not much to ask.
N. J. P. Artridge
A pocket full of wry
In these multifacetedly difficult times, I would like to pose a question which is apolitical, non-medical and not very important.
In televised snooker, when a player misses a shot by a wide margin it is because he or she played the stroke incorrectly. If he or she only just misses it, it is because of the nap of the cloth or because the table is not quite true or the pockets are playing particularly difficultly on that day.
How can it be possible that world class players never just miss a shot through not playing it right? Why is it always the table's fault?
Perhaps a thorough investigation into this statistical anomaly might help people to momentarily forget Trump, Covid and Brexit.
I am more amazed each day at the organisational shambles of English schools in this epidemic. Bad enough the ludicrous approach to masking in Scotland, which supposes that the virus attacks only those moving between lessons or in communal areas and only the older pupils at that. Exactly when one becomes an “older pupil” isn’t explained.
Here in England, timid school leaders are apparently “desperate for clarification of rules” under the second lockdown. That transmission rates are much higher in secondary schools than in primaries seems to be the only agreed fact. But aren’t leaders meant to lead, to make decisions? What are they frightened of if they decide not to supinely “wait for guidance” but to make mask-wearing in school compulsory for all those indoors? Not just when going from room to room but also when in the classroom when teaching or being taught? Is there some arcane epidemiological law, which says that viruses never go into classrooms?
Lunchtimes would be the only exception, though transparent visors would certainly be an option. But social distancing while eating would be enforced.
Finally – I speak as a former teacher of 40 years – it’s time teachers in general bit the bullet and went back to the job. Even the unions are backtracking on much of their early hyperbolic concern that staff will be infected. Mask-wearing by all, as much distancing as is reasonably possible and regular hand-washing will hugely lessen the chances of teachers being infected.
Shame on those tens of thousands of parents who have petitioned to close schools, deliberately risking furthering the damage already done to the mental, physical and educational prospects of millions of children. And shame on the dithering ineptitude of so many English school leaders. You betray the trust of those for whose care you are responsible.
Robert Fisk gave a voice to the oppressed
News of Robert Fisk's death ('From editors to presidents, tributes to the remarkable Robert Fisk’, 3 November) unleashed within me a flow of emotions. It was like losing a part of my family, a mentor, a wise uncle who could always be counted on.
For decades in the Middle East, despite our tragedies and traumas, we lived with a small reassurance knowing that our suffering in the face of great injustices would be voiced by the always eloquent and forever passionate Robert Fisk. In his departure, we feel the void of hope he brought us.
While his legacy lives on, I wonder who will now bravely recount the stories that the politicians so desperately aim to hide? Who will give voice to the oppressed? His brilliance, empathy, humility, and above all, respect, for the dignity of this region, history and peoples will forever be cherished and greatly missed.
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