At Random with Martin Laing

The sun eventually came out for Charities Day, Oban. Photograph: Alan Windram

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Vital to equip and train police officers
Terrorist atrocities have shocked the country in recent weeks and have hit home in this area with such devastating effect.
The three attacks on innocent people recently may have taken place in London and Manchester but there is no knowing when or where any further incidents may happen.
While it might be difficult to consider the likelihood of anyone bringing this kind of horror to remote Argyll, there can be no room for complacency.
We all rely absolutely on our emergency services to keep us safe – and they display great courage at times to do so.
But to protect us adequately, the police require to be properly staffed and equipped. And that means having officers available who are fully-trained in the use of firearms and tasers.
We hope, of course, that they will never be needed but it is essential that we have them to deal with such extreme situations.
We saw all too graphically in the most recent London attack the speed with which armed officers dealt with the jihadis – it took just eight minutes from the first call for all three terrorists to be shot – thereby saving an unknowable number of lives.
It is crucial that Police Scotland reassures us that even here in the Oban area, we have the resources to keep us all safe.

Heroes deserve great praise
Talking of emergency services, our local fire service responded swiftly and with great professionalism last week to a blaze above Nories chip shop in George Street.
However, the firefighters weren’t alone. In what was a serious incident, two local men, Alasdair McBurnie and Tom Mackay, ran into the smoke-filled building to wake up sleeping night shift workers and help them to safety.
Thankfully, no-one was injured but that was due in large measure to the selfless actions of Mr McBurnie and Mr Mackay, who deserve great credit, as do the firefighters who tackled the blaze and extinguished it.

Brilliant Oban is still buzzing
After the brilliant Oban Live, Oban Mòd and Rotary Am-Am weekend, you could have been forgiven for thinking everything was about to settle down.
Not a bit of it. Oban Charities Day on Saturday was followed by the Macaulay Sixes shinty tournament on Sunday at Mossfield Stadium in the town.
The weather may not have been what we would have wished, but that couldn’t be helped.
Nevertheless, events such as charities day keep Oban on the map and provide great entertainment for residents and visitors. And the shinty competition for juniors is a great way to hook children into sport, which is always to be encouraged.
As ever, these events take a good deal of planning and organising, so well done to all involved.

to MP Brendan
Whoever you voted for – and shame on you if you did not vote at all – we must congratulate Brendan O’Hara for holding the Argyll and Bute seat in the general election last week.
Mr O’Hara again has the very great privilege of representing the good people of this area in the House of Commons. In what will undoubtedly be a turbulent time given the seismic events that will unfold over the months and years ahead of us, we will watch with interest to see how he performs.
It is inevitable that Mr O’Hara will obey his party whip but he should remember that he was sent to the Palace of Westminster as an emissary of the whole electorate in Argyll and the Isles.

What do you think?
Write to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to