Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: On gun violence, Hillsborough looks to prevention

The school massacre in Connecticut was a tipping point that has moved communities across the country to explore ways big and small to reduce the threat of gun violence. In Hillsborough County, city and county leaders are looking to embark on a far-reaching public campaign to intervene earlier in the lives of at-risk children and families. This is a commendable effort that has real potential to make the county a safer and more promising place.

While Congress and the states debate whether to adopt new gun control measures in response to mass shootings across the nation, cities and counties are getting in on the act by framing gun violence as a public health issue. This is the same approach policymakers took in working to reduce smoking and used in campaigns from those promoting healthy eating and the use of seat belts to others aimed at curbing teen pregnancy and bullying.

County Commissioner Kevin Beckner launched the idea to bring a bring a sense of unity to the efforts by city, county and school officials to address gun violence on a broader scale. As the Tampa Bay Times' Richard Danielson recently reported, the county's task force of local government and school leaders, law enforcement officials and mental health experts will look at teaming with the Prevention Institute, a leading nonprofit affiliated with Harvard's School of Public Health that has worked on similar projects in more than a dozen cities. The focus will be on pairing up at-risk children with mentors and job training, and addressing a range of social problems, from school dropout rates to gang-related crime, that contribute to a rise in violence.

Supporters cite Minneapolis as an example of the good that can come from the institute's approach of addressing crime as a public health issue. By taking such a comprehensive view, and intervening earlier with at-risk families, Minneapolis was able to cut juvenile-related crime and arrests, and incidents involving youth and guns. The move also raised community awareness about the real-life impacts that gun control loopholes have on public safety.

This civic campaign is not a substitute for outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring nearly all gun sales to be subject to background checks and other reasonable reforms. But it brings those who face the reality of guns and violence on a daily basis to the table to pool their efforts in a collaborative way. And it adds to the public understanding of the complex dynamic this nation faces in balancing gun rights with public health and safety. It is a small step Hillsborough can build on and present as a model for the region.

Comments
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 FBI’s 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 it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Parkland students set example for advocacy

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.The students, all from the school’s drama department, bro...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18