Friday, June 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Giving dignity back to families of Dozier

The state of Florida last week began repaying its debt to the boys it took away decades ago. Researchers with the University of South Florida identified the first boy — George Owen Smith — among 55 sets of human remains unearthed at the state's now-closed reform school, the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. It is too late to erase the pain from that shameful chapter. But the discovery is a reminder that the boys had names, families and lives that were cut short. Now at least their loved ones can bring them home.

Smith's remains were the first to be exhumed a year ago, after USF took the lead following a lackluster effort by the state to account for the horrors. While the state said that 31 boys were buried at the shuttered Panhandle school, the USF researchers, using ground-penetrating radar, found 55 bodies. They are continuing their search for other burial sites.

This month's announcement brought some comfort to Smith's family, who remember the 14-year-old teenager whistling Gene Autry songs near his Auburndale home. And though it doesn't answer the mystery of how Smith died in state custody 74 years ago, his discovery in an unmarked cemetery on school property at least points the finger at Dozier, which operated for 111 years before being closed in 2011.

The USF team deserves credit for handling this responsibility with dignity and determination. Hundreds of men have come forward in recent years with stories of being raped and beaten at the school; nearly 100 boys are reported to have died in custody or while trying to run away. Despite an early effort by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to block the inquiry, USF persevered. Its careful approach in documenting what happened and respectful treatment of the burial grounds has served both the cause of justice and human decency.

Attorney General Pam Bondi has also played a critical role by lending her support to USF's bid to establish a historical record at Dozier. The state should give the researchers the time they need to document all of the deaths and burials on the property. USF has done a service to these families and the public alike by stepping up and confronting a shameful legacy that some Floridians would just as soon keep secret. This was a sensitive and essential task that USF handled well. It doesn't bring the boys back or lessen the pain, but it gives these victims the dignity they deserve.

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

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Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

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Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18