Monday, December 11, 2017
Opinion

Time for community to stand up for what's right

In recent weeks, there have been at least two incidents in St. Petersburg where people used their vehicles as weapons in attempted assaults on law enforcement officers.

That the incidents occurred is appalling.

The actions of a select few displayed blatant disregard for authority, coupled with the apathy for human life.

But what really gives me pause is the deafening silence from the community where these incidents occurred.

Certain community leaders and groups that tend to be very vocal when police actions have been questionable are nowhere to be found.

Had the tables been turned and an officer's car struck a juvenile, the community would be up in arms with complaints about excessive use of force or police brutality, or both.

Though such scenarios do exist, they don't appear to come into play in the instances mentioned above.

Is this the new normal?

Late last month, an officer was badly injured in a crash on 54th Avenue S on his way to assist a chase that started after a suspect intentionally swerved into oncoming traffic and rammed a cruiser searching for a stolen car.

A day later, an officer's unmarked vehicle was stolen from the officer's driveway. The vehicle was later found in Lake Maggiore. A .45-caliber Glock handgun, an AR-15 Colt rifle, ammunition and a police radio were missing, but were later retrieved.

Then just last week, police said a teenager behind the wheel of a stolen car accelerated the vehicle toward them in an attempt to avoid arrest.

Are we to remain silent, until they come after us?

I was brought up believing that we live and abide by a social contract.

Under the social contract, there's an unspoken, unwritten code of behavior that all law-abiding residents live by. When others violate the code, the community must work diligently to correct actions that could cause chaos.

I'm certain that the innocent neighbors, who had to dodge bullets from guns fired by the police, agree.

Until we as residents stand together and declare these actions are unacceptable — even if it means turning in a neighbor — then we send the message that criminal behavior is fine.

So where do we begin?

Stepping forward to lend a hand is a good start. Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County ( bbbspc.org) is seeking volunteers. Reaching our youth before they find trouble is the key.

• • •

The city is joining efforts with businesses, property owners and neighborhood leaders in hopes of creating an improvement plan for the 34th Street S corridor.

The goal is to target economic development, transportation, streetscape, land use and zoning, and marketing.

A kickoff meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center at 3200 34th St. S.

A website has been created to keep the public informed throughout the 34th Street S planning process, stpete.org/34, and a survey has been created to gain feedback about the district.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8874. Follow @StPeteSandi on Twitter.

Comments

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17