Sticks and stones

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I am certain that the politics of Andrew HN Gray and I rarely overlap, but I will joyfully stand alongside him to support his well argued case for more restraint in zealously applying laws that 
penalise people for what they 
say, rather than for what they do (Letters, 21 August).

To allow people to invoke police action against someone whose comments have offended them is making Police Scotland and our justice minister laughing stocks.

What next? Shall I call a copper if I find a hoody’s hoody intimidating, or a hijab or cardinal’s biretta religiously offensive because I do not share the wearers’ curious beliefs?

The problem with giving a law enforcement officer a new power is that he or she will not only use it, but explore novel ways of using it never intended by the law makers: having been one myself I can confirm that as the nature of the beast.

Surely only a society of very insecure citizens arrests folk for name-calling: instead of arresting the alleged offenders it would be more effective – and cheaper – to offer the alleged victims a bit of assertiveness training. Words can only hurt you if you are soft enough to let them… as a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, that is a lesson I learned nearly 40 years ago.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh