Politicians, follow corporate lead
Maybe we are about to finally experience a soft revolution. Shooting after shooting has occurred and our politicians have done nothing toward gun control. Schools, theaters and concerts have been the scenes of mass murder. Nowhere else in the world do such mass shootings happen like they do in the United States. Yet our politicians offer thoughts and prayers, and suggest more guns are the answer as opposed to fewer. The rest of the world can only wonder what we can possibly be thinking.
Finally there seems to be some action. Several corporations are beginning to act against their own financial best interests by refusing to sell certain weapons, raising the age of those to whom they will sell guns, and disassociating with the NRA. They are doing so out of a sense of public obligation and putting public interest ahead of profits.
Yet, incredibly, our politicians are not. They continue to be beholden to the lobbyists who finance their campaigns, and despite the overwhelming public support for commonsense gun control, refuse to enact any assault weapon ban or close gun show and private sale loopholes.
When will the politicians get a conscience? If corporate America can prioritize public interest over personal profit, certainly our elected officials should be able to do so too.
Mark Brown, Brandon
Invest in teachers
We apparently have the cash to give teachers a Glock and some bullets, but we still can’t afford to have proper infrastructure for the public school system, on-site nurses, trained counselors, decent school lunches and up-to-date textbooks, as well as a myriad of other things necessary for a decent public education.
Instead of forcing teachers to be on-site security in addition to being social workers, counselors and surrogate parents for children whose parents don’t or can’t be there, we should invest in the schools so the teachers can teach, as well as getting dangerous guns off of the streets so we don’t have to waste money on arming teachers.
Evan Helenihi, Palm Harbor
Amendment is outdated
What is it going to take for the United States of America to wake up to the gun violence epidemic? Mass shootings get our attention for a few weeks, maybe longer if the dead are children. We wring our hands, express our thoughts and prayers, trot out statistics, vow it should not happen again, and then resume life as we know it until the next time.
Why should we as parents and concerned citizens have to be worried that an angry, irresponsible gun owner will slaughter anyone in any venue? The Second Amendment is a deadly obstacle that prohibits us from moving forward in creating rational laws needed for the 21st century.
The 18th Amendment banning the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages was a failure and subsequently repealed. It is time to repeal the Second Amendment, which is poorly worded, outdated and prevents us from passing meaningful, effective gun control measures.
Joan Lund, Tampa
Waiting period, annual fees
Classify all weapons into classes: breech load, bolt action, slide action, or auto-loading five-round maximum. When you get to assault weapons, call them military-grade. To purchase a military-grade weapon, you will need a letter from your doctor that states you are of sound mind, which is taken to a local authority. After a 90-day waiting period, you are given a permit to purchase a weapon.
This permit will have to be reissued every year. Insurance could be required. The permit could make a lot of money for the state, maybe $100 to $250 per gun per year.
We could do a lot of things if our representatives would think with their brain instead of with the NRA’s money.
Wallace Keith, Brooksville
Violent entertainment | March 1, letter
Look to other countries
Perhaps the letter writer could explain why countries like Britain, Australia, France, Germany and every other civilized country share with us a culture of violent movies, TV and video games yet lack our astonishing and tragic levels of gun violence. Australia did have high levels of gun violence until they regulated guns. Now they don’t.
Critical thinking, not NRA/GOP talking points, are what we need now.
William Adams, St. Petersburg
The real ‘Rocket Man’
In a bold announcement, filled with boasts and thinly veiled threats against the United States and its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin made public Russia’s updated nuclear capabilities. The centerpiece of this military modernization program is a nuclear-capable cruise missile with unlimited range that is capable of eluding air-defense systems, dubbed "invincible" by Putin.
Putin’s speech, supported by video animations ostensibly depicting an attack on America’s homeland, was met with silence by President Donald Trump. Other than a perfunctory response by the White House — "President Trump understands the threats facing America and our allies in this century and is determined to protect our homeland and preserve peace through strength" — Trump’s policy of appeasement toward Moscow remains intact.
Unlike the president’s reaction to North Korea’s provocations, typically in the form of juvenile, antagonistic tweets aimed at North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, Trump’s muted response to Russia’s latest threat to our national security is one more conspicuous geopolitical error in judgement. It is time for the president to shelve his misplaced deference for Putin and stand up to the real "Rocket Man."
Jim Paladino, Tampa