Saturday, February 24, 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.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18