Thursday’s letters: Honoring contributions of women

Published February 28 2018
Updated February 28 2018

Women’s History Month

Honoring women’s achievements

Each March, Floridians have the opportunity to intertwine women’s stories into the essential fabric of our state’s history as we celebrate Women’s History Month.

This year marks the 38th anniversary of the Women’s History Movement, and as executive director of the state agency charged with shining a light on discrimination in Florida, I find it fitting that this year’s theme — "Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women" — compels us to remember those who have endured discrimination, fought back and made a difference.

Women have been at the forefront of our growing and vibrant Sunshine State. Educators like Mary McLeod Bethune, who founded Bethune-Cookman University, and the state’s first African-American woman to serve as a legislator, Gwendolyn "Gwen" Sawyer Cherry, served as civil rights champions and role models to all Floridians and to women throughout the nation.

I am proud that the stories of women from all cultures and classes are recognized and celebrated as never before. Our shared history unites families, communities and nations. Let all Floridians come together to recognize and highlight the many ways that women’s history has become a significant part of our Florida story.

I echo the words of Amelia Earhart, who said, "Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others."

Michelle Wilson, executive director, Florida Commission on Human Relations, Tallahassee

Parkland massacre

Don’t name the shooter

Every time a mass shooting occurs, the news services report it — and they should. They have a right and an obligation to report it and the people have a right to know.

However, out there somewhere is another person observing and swelling with pride at the publicity the shooter is getting. The news services should not tell the name or show the picture of the shooter. The public doesn’t need that information, and above all that other person out there somewhere does not need to be thinking, "That’s going to be my name spread all over the country when I do my mass shooting."

Dewain Morgan, Plant City

A matter of proportion

The debate is not about the right to bear arms. It is about which arms make sense to sell to and be owned by the general public — which arms (and which members of the public) would potentially cause harm beyond my need to protect myself.

Let’s stop hiding behind the Second Amendment, which does not offer protection of any and all arms we may choose to own, and bring some common sense to the table. No more than land mines in my front yard does it make sense that ordinary citizens should be armed with semiautomatic weapons.

Jean Beshears, St. Petersburg

Cowardice in high places

People excoriating the sheriff’s deputy who didn’t enter the Parkland school should consider Florida’s legislators, who days later rejected a ban on assault weapons. Which takes more courage: to oppose their NRA contributors and vote to ban assault weapons? Or to rush alone into the face of someone armed with and firing one? The deputy may have failed us; our political leaders shame us with their cowardice.

Terry Dunham, St. Petersburg

Violent entertainment

It should come as no surprise that we have violence in our schools. Our culture provides violence in the most extreme forms as entertainment. What we feed our minds shapes our minds. Movies, TV and video games feed young minds with a daily diet of violence-filled entertainment.

Many deny the impact of global warming, as many deny the influence of pop culture on the violence in our schools. But while the media concentrates on the influence of global warming, it largely ignores the influence of pop culture on the minds and behavior of young people.

Robert L. Shaw, DeLand

A way to lower casualties

I support the Second Amendment, increased school security, and added limitations for the purchase of weapons by those with mental issues and citizens under age 21.

What I fail to understand is why a normal family person would need any type of automatic or semiautomatic weapon for protection when a single-shot pistol should suffice.

I realize that restricting the AR-15 would not cut down on the number of attacks by shooters, but it would certainly cut down on the number of people maimed or killed. I would estimate that in Las Vegas and Florida alone, if no semiautomatic weapons were used, half of the victims would still be alive. If a shooter had to take time to reload, many more people could have escaped.

Self-defense is one thing, but shooting innocent victims with a force that only militias and police should need is ridiculous.

Jack Alder, Palm Harbor

Concerns dim prospects of texting bill
Feb. 27

Death on the roads

In the last six months, I have nearly been run into, on freeways, three times. Only swift avoidance action on my part prevented a crash. In each case, the offending driver was texting, not looking where he was going. Each driver was driving without due care and consideration.

If Sen. Rob Bradley fails to introduce the bill to ban texting while driving, he will be indirectly responsible for the deaths and injuries of many people in Florida.

John Stark, South Pasadena