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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida politicians mourn loss of Steven Sotloff, demand action against ISIS



Florida reaction to the news that ISIS has followed through with threat to kill journalist Steven J. Sotloff, who studied at University of Central Florida:

Sen. Bill Nelson: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Steven Sotloff. Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

Nelson also said he would file a bill that would give Obama "clear authority" to order airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. “This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson said.  “Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

Gov. Rick Scott canceled a campaign stop in Naples and asked for a moment of silence, according to the AP's Gary Fineout. The governor then released a statement:

“On behalf of Ann and myself, and on behalf of all the people of Florida, we want to convey our sorrow and our condolences to the entire Sotloff family. We cannot begin to understand their grief. The people who did this are evil. They are not merely wrong, they are not adversaries, they are evil.  And evil must be confronted and destroyed. In fact, these immoral animals reject the basic code of human morality that crosses all cultures. This is not a political or international disagreement. It is a case of barbarians choosing to set themselves apart from the rest of humanity. Here is what they need to understand – Steve Sotloff was a Floridian, but more importantly he was an American. If you attack one American, you are attacking all Americans. Last week President Obama said that his Administration does not at present have a strategy for dealing with ISIS – these immoral evil people. I think I can speak for all Floridians and all Americans when I say that the time for a strategy is now, and part of that strategy needs to include destroying them.”

Charlie Crist: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sotloff family today. This brutal murder of an innocent man who sought to document suffering in the world demonstrates the type of evil we confront in this struggle. We will defeat this evil just as we have time and time again throughout our history."

Rep. Patrick Murphy: "My thoughts and prayers are with Steven Sotloff's loved ones as well as those of James Foley during this most difficult and tragic time. Steven and James both dedicated their lives to the democratic principle of a free press and it is in their legacy that we must ensure that democracy continues to win out over terrorism. Such unconscionable acts of terrorism, the killing of innocent civilians, and attacks on democracy cannot go unanswered. The United States must act swiftly with its allies to make sure these atrocities are stopped and those carrying out such heinous crimes are brought to justice."

Sen. Marco Rubio: “Steven Sotloff was a man of enormous courage and decency. Through his journalism, he demonstrated deep personal compassion toward the Middle East and its people. He hoped to shine a light on both the good and the bad of the region – to show the world the dramatic potential of its people as well as the stark forces of evil holding them back. As Steven was a native of Florida, my office has been in contact with his family throughout their ordeal, and today my heart goes out to all who loved him as they make the painful transition from fear to grief.

“Steven’s balanced and earnest approach to journalism was met with love by many in the Middle East, but with brutal disdain by those whose tactics stood in such clear contrast to his own. Through Steven’s execution, ISIL has demonstrated yet again its limitless capacity for cruelty and its unbridled hatred of freedom-loving people everywhere. ISIL continues to establish that its violent grasp for regional control represents a threat to the American people, our allies, and the principles of freedom and human rights that we cherish.

“The horrifying clarity of ISIL’s message toward America should have been met from the beginning with an equally clear opposing message. ISIL is now the best funded terrorist group ever established and has large areas of territory under their control. There is no disease that becomes easier to treat the longer you wait, and as history has shown time and again, it is the same with malignant forces in global affairs. If we do not act now to assist our Iraqi partners and moderate Syrians who oppose ISIL, as well as utilize our own forces to directly target ISIL’s leadership, the result will be more suffering and tragedy for our people."

Rep. Alcee Hastings: “I am truly saddened and alarmed by reports of Steven Sotloff’s ruthless beheading by militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a video posted on the internet. Just two weeks following the tragic execution of fellow American journalist James Foley, it is clear that ISIS presents a direct threat to the lives of innocent Americans, as well as peace and stability in the region. As our nation’s government and intelligence community work diligently to authenticate the video, my thoughts and prayers go out to Steven’s family during this most difficult time. The United States will not tolerate these heinous acts on its citizens.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 5:18pm]


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