Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Don’t pull the trigger on paranoia

Welcome to the Demagoguery Games.

After all it is an election year in Florida, which is sure to bring out more race-baiting, fear-mongering and conspiracy-theory hustling than the last time the king of the tinfoil hats, Alex Jones, last dined alone.

And that brings us neatly to Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-A Brigand Behind Every Shrubbery, who has made it no secret he wants to succeed Rick Scott in the Governor’s Bunker.

Some gubernatorial candidates at least engage in the hustings optics of promising more jobs, or improving schools, or lowering taxes. But not Richard the Lyin’ Hearted.

Nosiree, this chap has decided to cut right to the chase by for all practical purposes launching his campaign for the governorship by suggesting we’re all going to die at the hands of Pablo Escobar, El Chapo and, yes, even the Tijuana Brass.

Watchdog PAC, or perhaps better put, Corcoran’s "Your Papers, Please!" PAC, is spending $95,560 to air a commercial across North and Central Florida on Fox News stations (where else?) that might be best titled, "Nightmare on Corcoran Street." The fake ad depicts an attractive, young, innocent white woman casually walking in her idyllic suburban neighborhood, when suddenly she comes face-to-face with a sinister-looking dark-complected, hoodie-wearing man described as an "illegal immigrant," who shoots her to death.

The scene then cuts to Richard Corcoran, who decries "sanctuary cities," and recalls the tragic 2015 death of Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was killed by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco.

"This could have happened to any family anywhere," Corcoran darkly intones. "Incredibly, some Tallahassee politicians want to make Florida a sanctuary state."

Not so incredibly at least one Tallahassee politician wants to cravenly scare the living bejabbers out of people.

Corcoran’s not-too-thinly veiled bigoted commercial offers up some dubious suppositions on a number of levels.

For starters, there is no serious effort on the part of any "Tallahassee politicians" to make Florida a sanctuary state. And even if there was, it is rather unlikely a Republican-controlled Legislature would ever approve such a measure.

Corcoran’s propagandists also fail to mention that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who indeed was an illegal immigrant (several times over), was acquitted in Steinle’s death, after jurors concluded she was accidentally killed by a ricochet bullet fired from a weapon that the defendant had found.

At the same time, numerous studies have concluded the crime rate for immigrants is below the national average for U.S.-born citizens.

If something dreadful could happen to any family anywhere, Corcoran could have pointed to the 11 school shootings that have occurred nationwide in just the first three weeks of 2018.

Indeed, if Corcoran, who seems to be running for the governorship of Deadwood, really cared about the prospect of people being gunned down in the streets, he might ponder the conclusions of a 2016 Journal of the American Medical Association that found homicides have steadily increased in Florida since the Legislature approved the addled "stand your ground" law in 2005. But that would require some spine to stand up to the National Rifle Association.

It is ironic that the same week Corcoran debuted his homage channeling Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, a Florida House criminal justice subcommittee was considering HB 39, which could pave the way for the open carry of weapons across the state.

A group opposing the bill initially was prevented from entering the committee hearing unless they turned their T-shirts inside-out. Obviously the T-shirts contained an offensive message too horrible for the sensitivities of the Florida House to have to face.

What was on the T-shirts? "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America." Oh, the scandal of it all!

Or put another way, the Florida House is preparing to turn the state into Yahooland by allowing citizens to walk around flashing their little friends and yet these same statesmen were offended by a T-shirt? Eventually cooler heads prevailed and the group was allowed in the hearing, not that it did any good.

Gay Valimont, who is the volunteer leader for the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action, said the organization has never been prevented from entering a committee hearing because of a wardrobe issue.

" "It was demoralizing," she said. "It was an effort to put us in our place."

Demoralizing? You want demoralizing? Richard Corcoran is running for governor with plenty of money to terrify people with reckless commercials smearing the Other.

Should we be afraid? Yes, be very afraid of feckless pols bearing paranoia.

Comments
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

After an encouraging start, the breakdown in America’s reset with Cuba is a loss for both sides and for the state of democracy across the region. Havana and Washington are both to blame, but the Trump administration’s hard line with Cuba is out of sy...
Published: 09/12/18
Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

If the swift departure of CBS Chairman Les Moonves has a bright side, it’s that a major television network took accusations of sexual harassment against its chief executive seriously enough to hold him accountable and obtain his resignation even at t...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Two banks have taken the retaliatory step of closing down the campaign account of a statewide candidate because she received contributions from the medical marijuana industry. Nikki Fried, the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, has been...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Florida Supreme Court wisely kills misleading charter school amendment

Editorial: Florida Supreme Court wisely kills misleading charter school amendment

Voters should know what they’re voting on, which is why the Florida Supreme Court was entirely correct to strike the deviously worded Amendment 8 from the Nov. 6 ballot. The amendment would have significantly expanded charter schools in Florida by le...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/11/18
Editorial: Genshaft steered USF to new heights — and it should keep climbing

Editorial: Genshaft steered USF to new heights — and it should keep climbing

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, who announced Monday she will retire in July, will leave behind a remarkable legacy. The university’s longest-serving president led USF’s transformation from a commuter school to a destination univ...
Published: 09/10/18