Sunday, May 20, 2018
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
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18